About Elite and Jamie Espen
My journey to the flute-tech world was a long and winding one with some great experiences along the way. I was born a tinkerer, which may have been frustrating for my parents as most of my toys spent their lives in as many pieces as I could break them down into. I studied with Helen Blackburn at Stephen F. Austin University graduating with a Music Education degree in 1994. That summer I was able to attend my first training class in Vermont with flutemaker Jon Landell. Getting my hands dirty to produce a flute that played better than new was thrilling and I loved the "shop environment". I also felt a tremendous pull to perform and had formed a duo with a classical guitarist in the last couple of years of college. For 5+ years, we were TCA touring artists and played all around Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico. I was also able to hold the principle chair in the Marshall, TX and Shreveport Summer Festival Symphony Orchestras and spent several seasons with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Northwest Louisiana. I maintained a teaching studio of around 35 students for many years. (I still play occasionally around Waco.) Being a free-lance performing musician was amazing and exhausting! I took a job teaching K-5 music in public schools for a while - stability and insurance became important as I got older. But - I missed the flute terribly. In 2001 I applied for a job in the finishing department at Powell Flutes in Boston. I finished custom hand made flutes in Boston for 7 years. In 2008 I moved back to Texas and continue to finish for Powell remotely on a part-time basis. The brand new flutes are truly exquisite and satisfying to work on. Since beginning to take on outside repair work, I have learned how much joy comes from restoring already loved flutes to their full potential (or better!).
I would love to make you fall in love with your flute again!