Flutist Renee Veenstra has been affiliated with wcfsymphony for over two decades. She first performed with wcfsymphony while attending the University of Northern Iowa as an undergraduate. Renee has served as a member of the Player’s Committee, and in July she began her first year as a member of the Board representing the Player’s Committee. As a musician and as a board member, Renee enjoys collaborating with people who have varied talents and perspectives. As a musician, Renee enjoys coming together with people to create art and experience the power of music. The aspect that everyone is coming together to create art and the power that music makes you feel.
From a young age Renee desired to play flute. In first grade she started taking lessons on recorder and switched to flute the next academic year. While studying to be a veterinarian at Dordt College she realized her true passion was to become a professional musician. After transferring to the University of Northern Iowa to study flute performance, Renee auditioned for the symphony her senior year. Renee earned her undergraduate and master’s degree in flute performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
Currently, in addition to performing with wcfsymphony, Renee teaches a small private studio and home-schools her son. Though her schedule varies from week to week, Renee is able to successfully balance teaching while preparing for concerts. According to Renee, preparation for rehearsals and concerts includes staying in shape through playing etudes and technique studies. Renee also plays previous music for the sake of enjoying the music. Renee started teaching private lessons in high school and began building a studio in college. After teaching Suzuki flute in Iowa City, Renee helped to start Suzuki flute at UNI.
Reflecting on the challenges professional musicians encounter today, Renee sees a competition for leisure time. “Technology brings everything into the home.” This presents the struggle to not take work home, and it also presents the opportunity for convenient electronic and online access to music. Renee also recognizes the value of live music: “The experience belongs to all of us, and [the struggle lies in] convincing the audience to be a part of it with us.” Renee also points out that one of the most enjoyable aspects of performing is the opportunity to share music. “Music is a unique part of the human experience.” Renee enjoys performing as a medium to bring music to people. Renee encourages partaking in musical experiences in order to enhance quality of life.
When asked about a memorable moment in performing, Renee described how she overcame one of her biggest fears when performing. As a contact lens wearer, she was worried about her vision being effected during a performance, and that fear was realized when she was playing a concerto. Luckily, she had the concerto memorized, and she was able to blink to clear her vision.
Renee reflected that every wcfsymphony performance leaves her with immense respect for her colleagues in their support for each other in the collective music-making experience.
Outside of work, Renee enjoys spending time with her children Daniel, Ian, Jenna, and Ashton and her husband Jim. Her passions lie in sharing music with kids and pursuing life-long learning. In her free time, Renee can be found with a book in her hand.