As CAFE Flutes joyfully anticipates its remarkable 10-year anniversary in 2024, we embark on a reflective journey, tracing the ensemble’s evolution from its revival in spring 2014 to the present. This blog post delves into the historical tapestry of CAFE Flutes, celebrating the visionaries, milestones, and unsung heroes who have contributed to its enduring success.

The Visionaries Behind the Harmony:

In the spring of 2014, Manager Leslie Etzel spearheaded the revitalization of CAFE Flutes. Recognizing a need for a 7-person ensemble to showcase the finest blend of flute choir music in the metro Phoenix community, Leslie’s vision breathed new life into the CAFE name. While an earlier ensemble bore the same name until 2011 with a different focus, Leslie’s discernment led to the birth of the regenerated CAFE.  She brought together seven superb flutists who blended together both musically and personally around the new vision for the ensemble.

CAFE in 2016

A Harmonious Revival:

The earliest concerts for senior communities set the stage for CAFE Flutes’ journey. As word spread about the unique musical experience the ensemble offered, performance requests poured in from libraries, churches, concert halls, and theaters.  Audiences were enthralled by the rare 10-foot long contrabass flute, and often lingered afterwards to take selfies with the unique instrument.

The ensemble’s repertoire, featuring a wide variety of genres and engaging programs, captivated audiences and established CAFE Flutes as a prominent musical presence in central Arizona.

Diverse Musical Experiences:

One of the secrets to CAFE Flutes’ success is their ability to tailor their programs to suit their audiences. Whether they’re performing for seniors in a community setting, patrons in a library, or music enthusiasts at a special event, CAFE Flutes can customize their concert to fit the occasion.  Themed programs include a selection of Patriotic, St. Patrick’s Day, Summer, Show Tunes, Singalong, and Holiday melodies.

In 2018, CAFE Flutes introduced the “Fascinating Flutes” demonstration, a 2-person showcase offering a global perspective of the instrument. Through sound clips, videos, and live performances, audiences were treated to an interactive exploration of flute culture. This addition not only expanded the ensemble’s offerings but also enriched the musical tapestry of its performances.

A Landmark Transition:

The year 2021 marked a significant milestone for CAFE Flutes. Following the challenges posed by the pandemic, the ensemble transitioned into a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization. This pivotal step opened doors to grant funding from various sources, including the cities of Tempe, Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, and Glendale; the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Neely Foundation, and Arizona Humanities.  These grants allowed CAFE to perform 28 concerts, bringing their music to audiences that do not have access to traditional music venues. This commitment to community outreach is continuing into 2024.

Unsung Heroes and Musical Excellence:

As we celebrate the approaching 10-year anniversary, the continuity of four original members—Leslie Etzel, Sue Norton-Scott, Nora Welsh, and Susan Borgers—alongside Tim Solarz, speaks volumes about their enduring commitment and passion. Yet, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge the unsung heroes, the substitutes, who seamlessly integrate into the ensemble, ensuring that the music remains of the highest caliber even in the absence of regular members.

A Grateful Overture:

As CAFE Flutes looks back on this incredible journey, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been part of this musical adventure. The support from our audience, the dedication of our members, the vision of our leaders, and the flexibility of our substitutes have collectively woven the harmonious fabric that defines CAFE Flutes.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the future chapters of our musical journey. Join us in celebrating a decade of harmonies, camaraderie, and the unsung heroes who continue to make each CAFE Flutes performance a musical journey like no other. If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive the monthly newsletters that include photos, behind-the-scenes stories, and information about upcoming public concerts.  Here’s to a decade of milestones and many more years of enchanting harmonies!

CAFE in 2023

If you’re an event organizer looking to add a unique and enchanting element to your lineup, consider booking CAFE Flutes. Their professionalism and dedication to spreading the joy of music make them a standout choice for creating memorable musical experiences. With their unique blend of musical styles, engaging performances, and commitment to community enrichment, they are poised to make a harmonious mark in any venue. To learn more about booking CAFE, contact Manager Leslie Etzel at 480-242-2124 or