PUBLISHED: 4:16 PM on Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tlingit flute player impacts youth
Morgan Fawcett, a 15-year old Tlingit flute player, recently impressed the community as he came home to Juneau to share an important messages to youth. He has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and wanted to share the importance of confronting and preventing the disorder, during the FASD Awareness week, Sept. 9-15. He came with a team, consisting of supportive grandparents, Sue and Roy Redmon Hempel, a nationally known American Indian flute maker, Dennis Hatch, and award winning American Indian fiddle player, Arvel Bird. Morgan had hopes and dreams about coming home for a visit, sharing his story and encouraging our youth to have positive outlooks and outlets, such as flute playing.

A team of sponsors from CCTHITA, SEAHRC, KTOO, Juneau School District-Transitions-a USDOE Alaska Native Education Program Grant, and Juneau FASD Diagnostic Clinic kicked off the week with the SEARHC Health and Wellness Walk.

Photo by Alberta Jones
  From left: Tlingit 15-year-old flute player Morgan Fawcett and National Native American Music Award winner, Arvel Bird performed at the JDHS auditorium during FASD Awareness week, Sept 9-15 . Other activities included a SEARHC Wellness walk, potluck, dancing, workshops and more.
An 'Honoring the Elders' event followed, with flutes gifted to students from Morgan and his grandparents. They were gifted with 40 handmade Native American flutes from the nations' best flute makers around the country. Makers heard Morgan's mission and generously donated them. Students who received the flutes were proud and attended three evenings of flute-playing lessons. Parents commented on how proud students were of their flutes. Ten high school students spent fifteen weekend hours making Cedar flutes with Dennis Hatch. Morgan and the teams' message was a pure success.

The week ended with a marvelous, well-attended performance by Morgan and Arvel Bird. Students in the high school flute making class and the flute playing class gave Morgan a standing ovation when he came out on stage. Students can look forward to playing in a flute circle, led by local musician, Mark Whitman.

Like Pueblos legendary flute player, Kokopelli, Morgan represents beautiful music, with his passionate songs he has written and played. Morgan shared his music and message of "Don't drink at all and don't drink while you are pregnant" to the entire Yaakoosgé Daakahidi Alternative High School student body and other audiences. "Morgan has quite a few things that could drag him down from his past, but instead he chooses to help others with the same problems that he has. He has a positive outlook," said student flute player, Rainy Hudson.