"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

Grandmother Flute Player

Grandmother Flute Player
Elizabeth Nichols

Elizabeth Nichols, who graduated from PSU in 1943 with a degree in modern languages and literatures, grew up in Fort Scott.  While attending PSU, she would return to Fort Scott on the weekends to give music lessons in order to have money to continue her education the following week.

She always was interested in music.

Then, almost 50 years after she graduated from PSU, a chance meeting with a woman who had a Native American flute changed her life.  She’d had a long-term interest in the music of Carl Orff and was able to transfer his concepts to Indian flutes, which she began to collect in various sizes.

“My life has consisted of a series of synchronistic events,” says Nichols, who has held major academic appointments in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa.

After a long career in the academy, Nichols performed for 20 years as “Grandmother Flute Player.”  She now writes prose and poetry.  In addition, she has established a music scholarship at PSU in the name of her brother F.B. McGuire, who would’ve liked to have pursued a music career but was not able to because of financial considerations.  She has also donated a variety of Native American artwork, artifacts, and one of her flutes to PSU’s Special Collections.

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