Meet Ali, a professional flutist, cat lover, world traveler, and expert latke maker! Read below to learn more about what makes Ali our mensch of the week!
Alyssa : Tell me about where you are from and how you ended up in Houston!
Ali: I am from San Diego, I did my undergrad in Orange County, and came out to Houston to go to grad school at UH to study flute. I am studying with the principal of the Houston Symphony, and after auditioning for her, received a scholarship go to school here!
Alyssa : That’s amazing, so how did you decide that the flute was your musical calling? Did you try any other instruments?
Ali: They say that there are two types of people when they choose an instrument; the type that loves the sound and feels a connection right away, and me...I liked flute because I was ten because it was shiny and had a lot of buttons, and I was ok at it!
Alyssa: Do you eventually want to be in a symphony or do you want to teach?
Ali: I would love to have a symphony job, but coming to Houston showed me a totally different side to music. In California there isn’t such a huge emphasis on music in schools, but here, everyone plays an instrument. I have done a lot more teaching here and have discovered that I really like it, so I’m looking to apply to teach music international. Possibly Korea, China, or Singapore. I love to travel, so it would be the best of both worlds.
Alyssa: Have you traveled to recently?
Ali: I have done some international traveling for flute. I was in Europe taking master classes and studying with teachers for a month. I had auditions in London as well which was really fun. While I was in Europe I was able to do some personal travel to Scotland, Ireland, and France as well. I love Scotland, and in Scotland I participated in a 10 day international flute summer school where they put us up in a castle called St. Andrews, which is also where Golf was created! They brought in a flutist from the BBC orchestra and a famous composer who I got to play for! I went to Paris at the end of the trip for another international school experience where we played in the French Alps! There was a day that I was visiting the French Alps, and I took a ski lift to the very top with my flute and practiced for hours. It was just me, my flute and the French Alps, it was amazing!
Alyssa: I heard that you have an adorable rescue cat. How did you adopt her?
Ali: Yes, I adopted my cat Sophie because my friends cat was pregnant, and she didn’t know what to do with her since she had to go home for winter break. So she called our flute teacher and asked if her cat could give birth in her home. Our teacher was like, "ya sure"! So during Winter break there were all these kittens, and when I went to see them Sophie took a liking to me, so I took her home! We just celebrated her first birthday. She is cute and she knows it!
Alyssa: Was the Latke making event that you hosted with Jewston a family tradition growing up?
Ali: My mom showed me how to do it, probably because she didn’t want to do it by herself, it’s a lot of work. Every year we would throw a Hanukkah thing and I would set up in the garage with a 20 pound bag of potatoes and go to town! As I got older, I got wiser, and no longer wanted to peel all those potatoes on my own, so I would invite my friends over to help me, and then we would eat them! Most of my friends weren’t Jewish, so my parties were always with non Jewish friends. People would ask every year when we were having the latke making party, so it became a tradition.
Alyssa: Which is worse, LA traffic or Houston traffic?
Ali: Houston traffic is not worse than LA traffic, drivers in Houston are worse than LA drivers. The first couple months driving here I felt like I was in Grand Theft Auto. In LA, sure you are crawling, but at least no one is flying through your window!
Alyssa: When Jewston comes together we…
Email Alyssa (firstname.lastname@example.org) to nominate your friend to be our next Jewston Mensch of the week!