We all have those moments when something strikes and affects us in a manner we cannot explain. It varies for all of us. For some, it’s a relationship, career, or creative genre. For Maria Flurry, it was attending an event in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University (NAU) where she first experienced — and felt a connection with — the marimba.

Already a dedicated musician through piano and clarinet, it was the marimba the struck a chord with Maria, then 13 years old.

“The marimba is the lower, mellow wooden sister to the xylophone, that when played, your tummy just gets warm,” Maria explains. “In a matter of a week, my mother had found a used marimba, and I’ve been playing ever since.

“Playing, teaching and performing I might add. I’m always interested in how musicians are drawn to the instrument they paired with.

“I was talking with my dad once about the various personalities that are tied to their instrument. Oboists tend to be super meticulous, there are gear head drummers, and there are percussionists who just love the sounds, and so on,” she added.

Her father, who was a general practitioner, explained musician personalities in medical terms … “Oboists are the surgeons, trombone players are the oncologists, maybe pediatricians, and percussionists, are the general practitioners.”

Maria later attended Peabody in Baltimore, followed by the University of Michigan. With a degree in Performance and Music Education, what followed was a full career that included performing with a variety of established symphonies.

another organization as the couple pursued creating Arizona Philharmonic in 2016.

Arizona Philharmonic’s goal is to offer paid opportunities for musicians, while encouraging attendance through reasonable ticket pricing, and educational experiences to school-age students, as well as support the myriad nonprofits throughout the community.

This coming Sunday, Feb. 5, Maria will join three other percussionists for Mano Percussion — AZ Phil’s principal percussionist, Eddie Solomon; Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Homero Ceron; and Fred Morgan. Maria explains it as: “An immersion experience that includes marimba, vibraphone, and a variety of creative and unexpected additions including water.

“Adding to the immersive experience will be the creation of a new work of art by Carlos Duran during the performance.

“Percussion is any instrument that you can tap, shake, scrape, apply friction to, or any other instrument that is not being played,” Maria said.

The afternoon will also be an opportunity to hear a piece that Maria had commissioned years ago by Andrew Thomas, which will be accompanied by the reading of the poem, “Chimes,” by Alice Meynell, which inspired the piece. Vocalist Emily Spencer rounds out the afternoon program.

Maria’s enthusiasm and passion for music and sharing her love for it, is obvious. So it only makes sense that she and Henry have the desire to make it accessible to as many people as possible through performances in most any venue.

“Whether it’s a small church in Southern Arizona, a preschool, or a concert hall, we just want folks to come, give themselves to us for two hours, and experience being transported through music,” Maria said.

Along with everything else on her plate, Maria’s long-term goal is to continue to make orchestral music accessible to everyone while creating opportunities for professional musicians to perform as a career, rather than just a hobby. That alludes to the creation of a concert hall in the area that can house such an organization, but also create educational opportunities.

“Percussion was outside the concert hall for most of orchestral music until the 1850s. Then, in the 1900s percussion comes roaring in, and went through a variety of phases. When I entered college in the ’80s, there were not enough chamber pieces or solo pieces for percussion,” Maria explains.

With a passionate commitment to performance, education and collaboration, look for Maria to continue bringing percussion to appreciative audiences.

Manos Percussion begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Visit Azphil.org and ycpac.com for more information.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. He also has a radio show, the Prescott Palette, on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email: Prespalette@gmail.com.

As with most successful musicians, it has been Maria’s collaborative endeavors and desire to educate, and share her love of music, that have allowed her to enjoy a lifelong career.

Upon arriving in Prescott in 2002, Maria, and her husband, Henry, continued collaborating and creating educational and networking experiences for orchestral musicians starting with the Chaparral Music Festival, which has since been passed on to

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