Vision Maker Media
Flute School
Donate Now

We are proud to be able to offer our guests free concerts with a program of world-class performers who will entertain from mid-morning until into the night. Check our schedule page for the days and times of each performance.

Index of 2016 Native Rhythms Performers

Headline Performers (listed alphabetically)

Scott August

Arvel Bird

Randy Granger  (also Master of Ceremonies)

Jonny Lipford

Painted Raven

Steven Rushingwind & Nelson Rios

Dock Green Silverhawk

Ed WindDancer

Featured Performers (listed alphabetically)

Johnny Kee and Ken Holt

Kimberly Kridler  (2015 Players' Competition Winner)

Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps

George Tortorelli

Billy Whitefox


2016 Native Rhythms Headline Performers

Arvel Bird

"Braveheart Meets Last of the Mohicans . . . at Woodstock" is a colorful description of this award-winning Celtic Indian Arvel Bird’s live performances. 

With his violin, fiddle, Native flutes and Irish whistles, Bird weaves a powerful tapestry of music and stories.  He performs nearly 160 shows a year at a variety of venues from music festivals to concert halls where the audience gets a glimpse into his Native American heart and Scottish soul.

Classically trained as a violinist, Arvel Bird's compositions and performances encompass an extraordinary love of diversity—from traditional Celtic tunes and bluegrass standards to his original Native American and Celtic rock orchestrations.

In his youth, Bird’s first private violin teacher in Salt Lake City, UT encouraged him to play from his soul. Prophetically, she said, “Arvel, no one will remember if you’re the best or the fastest, but they will remember your passion.”   

Bird attended Arizona State University on music scholarship later transferring to Champagne/ Urbana, IL where he studied classical violin with renowned Hungarian violinist and teacher, Paul Rolland at the University of Illinois.  Bird credits Mr. Rolland with perfecting his performance technique.  

As a young adult, when Bird struggled with feelings of uncertainty as a violinist, he recalled the most important lessons he learned from these two brilliant educators.  And now during his performances, you will be able to feel that energy as he is transported to the place where he’s no longer playing the violin, the violin is playing him.  

As he worked to develop his own music style and a large and loyal following, Bird went wherever the music called him, which led him away from classical and towards Bluegrass, Appalachian, Folk and Celtic. During his years in the Midwest, Bird won the Indiana State Fiddle Contest four times while still perfecting a variety of musical styles. Bird returned to Arizona in 1986 and hired by Glen Campbell to tour worldwide for the next six years.  

In 1991, he continued to tour with Campbell and moved to Nashville, TN, later adding tours with Loretta Lynn, Tom T. Hall, Ray Price, Louise Mandrell, Clay Walker, and others.  

Once he began composing and recording his own music, the result was a fusion of both his Scottish (Clan Kennedy) and Native American (Southern Paiute) roots that are uniquely his own and intricately woven throughout his songs.

One of Bird's favorite aspects of touring is that it has taken him to Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and in prestigious locations including the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Royal Albert Hall in London, England, Smithsonian Museums in DC and NY, Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester, NY and the Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa, FL just to name a few -- with symphonies, chamber orchestras, large festivals and more, logging over 500,000 road miles. As he winds up his 11th year of full-time touring, Bird gives no indication he’s ready to slow down any time soon.  

As he prepares for his 2015 tour, Bird is looking forward to working with local Fisher Houses which is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  A new facility is being built in Arizona, where Bird is planning a new concert to benefit the Fisher House in honor of his brother-in-law, Mike Dyer, a Viet Nam veteran, Purple Heart recipient and local Chaplain of the Purple Heart Society; and his own wife, Kimberly Kelley-Bird, a Viet Nam era veteran.  

Bird has released 23 CDs, two EPs and two DVDs, earning him numerous music awards. One of his most cherished is for his classical recording, Tribal Music Suite: Journey of a Paiute, a Celtic and Native American concerto, that earned him Best Instrumental Album and Best Producer/Engineer (with Grammy-winning producer Tom Wasinger and Nashville engineer Chas Williams) at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Other awards include Artist of the Year as voted by peers and fans as well as numerous Best Instrumentals.    

His continuously evolving music is delighting audiences worldwide. One of his recent albums of note is Titanic Centennial: Commemorative Special Edition, is an orchestral Celtic tribute to the passengers, crew and musicians aboard the Titanic, released in 2012 and distributed in several countries including Ireland, Australia, Canada and the United States.  

During his 13 years in Nashville, Bird built a master recording studio, to help him launch his own independent record label, Singing Wolf Records, to support most of his future recordings. Initially this gave him his own haven to write and record his own music and later to record hundreds of songs and album projects for songwriters and independent artists all over the world.  

While enjoying the life of concerts and festivals, Bird is also active in community outreach projects for local school assemblies, community centers, and social clubs where he facilitates a variety of music and spiritual workshops and performances at retirement centers, nursing homes and more.  

Although based in Nashville, TN, Bird is permanently on the road, connecting with audiences the old-fashioned way. . . live. This is where Arvel’s emotionally driven performances thrive, igniting concert venues, symphony halls, festivals and more, leaving his audiences inspired, transfixed and transformed.  

Contact:  Kimberly Kelley (615) 406-3689 or 

Scott August

Native American Music Award winner, and three time nominee, Scott August is a nationally acclaimed composer, producer, keyboardist and Native American flute player known for his forays into World Music. His music has been featured on the nationally syndicated radio shows “Hearts of Space” and “Echoes” as well as receiving airplay on the the digital networks XM, Sirius and DirecTV.

One of the nation’s most influential Native American flute players, August was a headline performer at the 2006, 2007, and 2011 Zion Canyon Flute Festival as well as the 2008 and 2009 Yosemite Flute Festival, 2011 Musical Echoes and 2012 and 2013 Native Rhythms Festival. He is known for both his award winning music and knowledge of the Native American flute. In July 2005 he opened for Dr. Wayne Dyer at the International New Age Trade Show and he was a musical guest at the 2005 TED conference.

Echoes radio says "August has always been a cut or two above most native flute players... He layers guitars, keyboards and all kinds of percussion into his compositions, moving from world fusion to airy ambiences."

August has also composed music and sound design for hundreds of films, commercials and video projects, for clients such as NASA, The Discovery Channel, Lexus, Chevrolet, HBO, Nabisco, and Minolta. The Los Angeles Times has called his music "shimmering and luminous."

August began his musical training on cello and piano, and became interested in world music when he was given as African kalimba at age 10. He discovered Native American flutes in 1996 during a trip to the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Its haunting sound captivated him, and he soon began adding native flutes to his recordings. He founded Cedar Mesa Music in 2001.

Scott's latest release, Hidden Journey, received the award for Best Native American Album at the 10th Annual Zone Music Reporter (ZMR) Music Awards ceremony on May 17th, 2014. The ZMR awards are voted on by panel of international Broadcasters (Show Hosts) who have reported their Top 20 Playlists to ZMR between December 2012 and November 2013. Scott's Lost Canyons also won a ZMR Award for Best Native American Album in 2009.


Steven Rushingwind & Nelson Rios


Steven Rushingwind

International Two Time Native American Music Award (NAMMY) winner, Four Time Indian Summer Music Award winner (ISMA), and Three Time Time New Mexico Music Awards (NMMA) Winning Artist, Steven Rushingwind is of Cahuilla/Opata decent. This California based musician has been playing Native Flute for over 12 years. His music is defined as Native American, World Beat and New Age Fusion. Steven and Michael Mucklow of Tijeras, New Mexico, formed the duo, Rushingwind and Mucklow. The duo have won and have been nominated for numerous awards internationally. Recently Steven was nominated for Best Indigenous Entertainer of the Year at the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards.

Steven has won Best New Age Recording for Rushingwind & Mucklow’s album, “Among the Ancients” (NAMMY 2013) and “Bridge” at the 15th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMMY 2014) held at the Seneca Casino in Allegany, New York. The Rushingiwnd and Mucklow album, “Stronghorse”, made it into the first round of the Grammy considerations for 2015. Steven has released his third solo album, “Red Beaten Path” November, 2014, through Hen House Studios in Santa Monica, CA. This album has been currently been nominated for Best Flute CD for the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg Canada, and also received 4 nominations for the 2015 Indian Summer Music Awards (ISMA) to be held September 12, 2015.

Steven tours with his group Rushingwind & The Native Groove, featuring Nelson Rios. The Native Groove had the honor of performing for the Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba in September of 2014, RNAFF, 2014 and 2015. Steven’s music can also be heard as the theme song on the PBS show “Southwest Stories with Steve Brown” and the short film “O! Track” along with the documentary “Horses and Renegades”. Rushingwind & The Native Groove will be touring throughout the USA in 2015 & 2016 so stay tuned.

Discography: Solo Albums

Cloud Runner (2009)
Sacred Grounds (2011)
Southland (2012)
Red Beaten Path (2014)

Rushingwind & Mucklow

Ancient Elements (2010) (1 NAMMY NOMINATION,1 New Mexico Music Award)
Among the Ancients (2011) (1 NAMMY, 2012, 2 ISMAS, 1 New Mexico Music Award) 
Bridge (2012) (NAMMY 2014, 2 ISMA , 1 New Mexico Music Award)
Strong Horse (2013) (1 NAMMY nomination, 1 NMWA nom, 4 ISMA nom)


Nelson Rios

Nelson Rios creates the tonal rhythm that sets a band on fire! His Latin and Afro-Cuban grooves are currently the pulse of Gloria Estefan, and have been heard with Carlos Santana, and with Temple of Funk (Funk/Jazz/Latin). He has performed and recorded at the 2006 and 2007 Winter NAMM Shows in Anaheim, CA with Karl Perazzo (percussionist, Carlos Santana Band). 

Using his music to help bring harmony and balance to the global community, Rios opened for Chubby Checker at the September 11th - 911 Benefit Concert at the Philadelphia Armory. He lit up the stage at the 2001- 2007 Ford - Mercury-Lincoln Outdoor Shows. Rios joined Levito (out of NYC) as main act at Disney World’s Epcott Center, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom from 2002 - 2006. 

Rios has recorded with luminaries David Mora (owner, Harbor Records, La) and Horacio El Negro (drummer, Carlos Santana Band). Previously endorsed by Latin Percussion, Nelson has given drum clinics at Guitar Center teaching Afro-Cuban rhythms with Professor Dwight Baldwin, and with Richie Gajate Garcia. 

He is currently sponsored by Tycoon Percussion, and has taught clinics at Native Rhythms Festival (Melbourne, FL) and at Potomac Native American Flute Festival (Arlington, VA).

Rios’ melodic rhythms inspire passion for life, drawing audiences into the full potential of the moment.

Jonny Lipford

What does it mean to think "flute outside the box?" Jonny Lipford takes an age old instrument and uses it to create not only the traditional sounds, but also sounds that are new and not commonly linked to the Native American style flute - a voice all his own.  In every song you hear, you'll experience the unbridled passion of an individual who has experienced far more than many people his age.  Jonny's innate sense of composition and mature understanding of melody touches the soul. Jonny's hands play out melodies that are uniquely pure, invoking a variety of emotions that will warm your heart and leave you astonished at his musical technique. Whether it be a jazzy beat, spirited tune or a heartfelt ballad that you desire, you will surely be satisfied. 

Today Jonny Lipford, who started his musical journey at the young age of 13, continues to shares his music with audiences across the United States and broadcasts world wide.  Lipford has been featured on, the worlds largest collection of broadcasted Native music, as Spotlight Artist with the debut of his first release. As a composer of his own original music, Jonny has been recognized as a two time NAMA Nominee, ISMA and JPF Nominee and NEMA Winner. Along his journey, he has shared the stage with many notable musicians including Mary Youngblood, Mark Holland, Jeff Ball, Arvel Bird and Michael DeMaria.  Most will find it hard to believe that one so young could have mastered the flute so perfectly. With a love and respect for all types of music, Jonny awakens these genres, making him a true virtuoso in this industry.

Jonny honored us in 2009 by selecting the Native Rhythms Festival to launch his third and then latest CD, Turn the Page. Now, Jonny’s 7th CD release, Rhythm of the Rain Horse, encompasses a new environment – something new, yet reminiscent. 15 new songs that take on a more “world music” feel. For the first time, Lipford breaks out his bamboo transverse flutes, creating one of the album’s most memorable songs, Moon Dust.

First available in February, 2012, Jonny has released an instructional DVD, Discovering Your Native American Flute, to share his knowledge and techniques on the Native American Flute in a one-on-one easy to follow DVD that will bring your flute playing to the next level.

Randy Granger 
(Electronic Press Release)




"Granger is a gifted multi-instrumentalist who 'feels' the music with a sincerity and honesty which can't be faked. Randy Granger's name deserves to be listed with other renowned Native American flute players, both Native and Anglo, because he obviously has both the chops and the artistry to warrant it." 
                                                -- Bill Binkleman long-time New Age music critic

Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Randy Granger blends elements of southwest music like Native American flutes with world percussion, distinctive vocals and other worldly Pan instruments like the Halo, the Hang and Moyo. NPR’s All Things Considered profiled Granger and the Hang in 2007 in a feature called “Like Water Over Bells.”

The unique sound and energy of Granger’s live performances has earned him headline status at many Native American, World and less conventional festivals around the U.S. His YouTube channel has 1.3 million views. He’s been nominated for and won many awards including the Indian Summer Music Awards, Native American Music Awards (NAMMY’S), New Mexico Music Industry Awards, US Songwriting Competition and many others. A composer and recording artist, his music is used by professional Dance companies, websites, commercials, film and documentaries. Granger’s music is heard on the Hearts of Space, SiriusMystic Soundscapes”, Pandora Radio,, Audiosyncrasy, World and Native American radio programs worldwide, podcasts and programs around the World. The 2008 release “A Place Called Peace” reached #12 on the New Age charts and won him a finalist nomination for the “Lifestyle Award” recognition award from New Age radio programmers and music directors. New Mexico Magazine wrote; “Richly layered with the sounds of a variety of flutes and percussion instruments, “A Place Called Peace” offers more depth than some flute solo recordings you might find.” A recent concert at White Sands National Monument in September 2012 attracted an audience of over 2,000, the largest in their Full-Moon concert series.

The New Mexico Music Commission produced a short film about Granger and his music that aired on KOAT-TV in Albuquerque and on all of the states PBS stations and continues to show regularly around the area. Their program, “Southwest Sounds” is uploaded to the music commission YouTube page. In 2012 PBS Station KRWG-TV chose him as their first subject to launch a new program called “Music Spotlight” featuring half-hour programs of selected area musicians and bands.

Granger’s 2010 release Pura Vida This is Pure Life fused his musical background as a percussionist, singer and guitarist with his more recent instrumentation offering a more fleshed-out sound and expanding his audience. His cover version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” blends Native American flute, the Halo, guitar and harmonized vocals is a top requested song on many Native American radio programs. Granger is a noted dynamic, engaging and energetic performer. As one Facebook fan noted after a performance at the Yosemite Music and Art Festival in 2011; “The energy coming off the stage….it was amazing. Like the walls were going to explode from it.”

Granger has performed at several National Monuments, such as White Sands National Monument, Casa Grande Ruins, and Zion Canyon and for the Centennial celebration at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico. Other festivals he’s performed for include the Sundance Film Festival, International Native American and World Flute Festival, the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market, The Gathering of Nations, Yosemite World Music Event, New Mexico State Fair, World of Faeries Festival (Chicago), Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, Casa Grande American Indian Music Festival, Native Rhythms, Zion Canyon Native Flute Festival and hundreds of community concerts, Renaissance Faires, house concerts, small theaters and venues including the prestigious Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas.

What Granger has going for him as a live musician and performer is a sound so unique no solo act performing live shares currently. Granger’s music has been referred to as Southwest Contemporary and Southwest World which weaves Native flutes, percussion, storytelling, vocals in an engaging set paced for energy, meditative pieces with showcase numbers on the Double-Barrel flute, a wicked Hang/Halo solo. One Jazz ensemble director referred to Granger as the “Human Vocal Chord” for his versatility and accuracy.

Though Granger tours as a solo artist he layers and loops sounds akin to Emogen Heap but with a mystical southwest vibe. He often performs with other musicians on tour, which have included R. Carlos Nakai, Coyote Oldman, Skip Healy, Peter Phippen and many others in impromptu or rehearsed sessions. Granger’s ease with all styles or music and back ground make him a popular “sit in” guest on stages.

Granger is a Native of New Mexico whose researched DNA ancestry includes Mayan (Choltan) and Apache among other tribes. A life-long musician he’s toured as a solo artist but also with Jazz and Rock groups as a percussionist. He’s professionally performed lead in several operas and musicals, been a hired choral member, taught drums and guitar for 15 plus years, mastered Mariachi music, Cowboy music and worked as a Jazz solo artist for parties and receptions. He’s worked as a session musician, composer, arranger, songwriter and pick-up musician. A true journeyman.

In addition Granger has presented and facilitated workshops on the Pan instruments, playing music in Hospice and playing the Native American Flute at many festivals, including the International Native American and World Flute Association conferences.

In 2010-2011 Granger was forced to stop touring and promoting to care for his partner diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The caregiving experience, helping someone pass on, hospice, grieving, settling an estate all have found their way into Granger’s newest project, Strong Medicine was released in the spring 2012. He has volunteered his flute music in Hospice for many years and donates his time and talent to many fundraisers for charities, so this is a natural extension. In concert he tells the story of caregiving and helping a loved one die before he performs “Hallelujah” always an emotional highlight of his concerts. He is becoming an advocate for caregivers as well as pancreatic cancer awareness.

Dock Green Silverhawk

Dock Green Silverhawk's life with the flute began many years ago as he was being transported to life saving open-heart surgery and went into cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac death. While in this state he went into the "white light", and had a near-death experience and vision. His life was forever changed.

Dock is of Creek and Cherokee blood and three months after leaving the hospital his wife Cindy took him to his first Indian powwow to learn more about his heritage. There the Lord led him to the Native American flute. A year later he began using the flute in the same hospital as a chaplain and uses the medicine of the flute and power of prayer in the Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Critical Care Unit at Tampa General Hospital. Today Silverhawk is considered a pioneer of using the flute in this manner and is requested at other hospitals as well as TGH.

His ministry has been featured on local Tampa Bay television NBC, CBS, FoxTV, PBS and national NBC NEWS. He has also been featured in the Tampa Tribune, St Pete Times, and local radio stations.

Silverhawk is the founder and spiritual leader of the American Indian Christian Circle of Thonotosassa, Fl., one of the first churches of it's kind in the country. He is a co-founder and Chairman of CONAM (Committee On Native American Ministries) of The United Methodist Conference of Florida. He is a co-founder of the annual CONAM Spiritual Gathering in Leesburg, Fl. Dock is also the founder, with Mike Knight's help, of Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering, an annual event.

Dock has the distinction of being the first place winner of the flute playing competition of the first Musical Echoes. The second year he was asked to be the chaplain and a judge at these competitions and still serves in this capacity now. He recently had the extreme honor of being asked to represent the American Indian people of the Tampa Bay area and lead off the grand opening ceremonies with prayer and flute songs for the Tampa Bay History Center.

More recently, Dock was voted "Artist of the Year" for 2009 by the Greater Brandon Arts Council, the first Native American and the first non-visual artist to win this award.

Silverhawk also plays and speaks at numerous events and churches as well as hospitals and federal prisons.

Dock's life wish is to continue to be used by Creator and His Son to bring peace, comfort, and healing to those in great need through the power of prayer and medicine of the flute. "I pray He continues opening doors for me to serve Him, and uses me until He calls me home".


Ed WindDancer

Ed WindDancer, dancer, flutist and educator, is a Nanticoke Indian who was born and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland in a family and culture that has a very close and unique relationship with the land. "We hunted, fished, and grew crops for our well being and, in growing up this way, learned how to live with our animal brothers and sisters and all the wonderful creatures belonging to our Mother Earth and Father Sky. Nanticoke Elders are beautiful people who taught me the precious things of our native culture."

While a member of the U.S. Military, Ed was president of an American Indian dance group that toured the Hawaiian Islands. He has successfully performed before audiences in Europe and across the United States where his gifts as a flutist, dancer, and educator continue to keep him in demand as a presenter at schools and at cultural and civic events. "I use my gifts from Creator to educate people and have dedicated my life to this path."

A highly regarded musician and head dancer at many Pow Wows, Ed has the honor of being adopted into a Lakota family, the Medicines of Wakpala, South Dakota.

Painted Raven

Drawing inspiration from Mother Earth, Native culture, nature and wildlife, and combining the ancient Native American flute with today's modern instruments and musical styles, is what creates the signature sound of Painted Raven, the Native American flute and World Music project of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annette Abbondanza, joined by flutist and percussionist, Holly Harris.

Annette Abbondanza, being self-taught on guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, Native American flute, and several other instruments, has performed at many festivals, concerts and benefits across the country, while devoting most of her musical career to furthering the efforts of various charitable organizations, including Native American, social, environmental, and wildlife causes.  Annette draws her songwriting inspiration from her love and respect for the earth and all living creatures.  She has written, recorded, and produced two of her own CDs, as well as seven CDs released by Painted Raven, and many other releases by regional artists and youth.  She has shared the stage with many folk music legends, including Tom Paxton for the live broadcast of the public radio production “The Chords are Stacked” at the historic Hershey Theatre.  Annette’s music has received awards and multiple nominations, including Meet The Composer Award, ISMA- Indian Summer Music Awards, and Nammy- Native American Music Awards, as well as being aired on many local, national, and international radio and web broadcasts including NPR's “Echoes” with John DiLiberto.

Holly Harris is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in the Native American flute, and is also very gifted on drums, percussion and other instruments.  She has performed at various Flute festivals, including Green Frog Moon Festival, Musical Echoes,  SunWatch Flute Festival, RNAFF,  and Native Rhythms Festival.  Often accompanying other musicians, her individual talent for playing the Native American flute gained attention after  being awarded 1st place in the 2013 Native Rhythms Festival Flute Players Competition.  This accomplishment opened more doors for her musically, including becoming a featured performer at the 2014 Native Rhythms Festival, as well as being invited to join Painted Raven.

Together as the next phase of the continually evolving musical soundscape known as Painted Raven, Annette and Holly grace the stage as one of the Native American Flute world’s very few female ensembles and bring with it a unique warmth, combined with an energy and diversity that showcases the amazing musical versatility of the Native American Flute.

Painted Raven is anticipating the release of their eighth CD this November at the Native Rhythms Festival. Their brand new CD titled Crossroads, features Native American flute music with a wee bit  of Celtic influence.  Crossroads and other Painted Raven’s CDs will be available for sale and autograph at the event.

Additional information about Painted Raven is available online at:

Painted Raven also appears on: 


FaceBook ( )

Twitter ( )

YouTube ( )


2016 Native Rhythms Featured Performers

Billy Whitefox

Billy Whitefox Stall is a Native American of the Southeastern Muskogee Creeks. As a tribal dancer in men's traditional dance Billy won many awards. He then began teaching tribal dance to youth and in 1985, was gifted his first flute by a student's father. It was a cedar flute given to him by Quana Parker, Jr., and of course this changed his life. With his interest now focused on tribal flute music, he sought knowledge from his Uncle Clyde concerning rivercane flutes.

He played his Native American Flute Music and made his Old-Style Rivercane Flutes for the next few years, until in 1998 he released his first professional CD, "Sacred Journey".

Billy was made Vice-Chief of the Red Heart Clan of Alabama in 2003, a significant event and great honor in his life. In 2009, Billy was asked to join the Southeastern Elders Council and was re-appointed by Governor Crist to his 3rd consecutive term as a Florida State Commissioner on Human Relations.

In 2005 Billy was awarded Flutist of the Year, winning that year's Native American Music Award or NAMA with the release of his second disk, entitled "When the Wind Sings".

Billy shares his Creek ancestry through international recordings of Native American flute music and storytelling. He enjoys touring the country sharing his music and stories of his heritage. Billy Whitefox is also a national champion Flute Maker, well known for his old-style techniques in making rivercane flutes.


George Tortorelli  

George Tortorelli is a master bamboo flute designer and player. Being raised in a musical family, he had access to many instruments, and went on to perform in rock bands throughout south Florida. Eventually he longed for simpler pastures, and retreated to the forests of north Florida. With a collection of rare and exotic instruments, he was inspired by the beauty of the nature and harmony there. He discovered and nurtured an abundance of bamboo on his land, and commenced expanding his growing flute collection with flutes of his own design. His music and concerts were so loved by surrounding communities that he became known as "Medicine Wind" for the healing quality of his peaceful gatherings. He started his own company and commenced a successful recording career, as well as doing custom flute designs for fine arts festivals.

Johnny Kee and Ken Holt


Johnny Kee started playing on a borrowed friend's guitar while in junior high school. The next Christmas he got his first guitar as a present from his parents, and played it in folk groups throughout high school and college, during the so-called "folk revival" of the early 60s, meanwhile adding the banjo and autoharp to his instrumental offerings. Johnny became interested in the Native American Flute when his wife returned from a visit with her sister in Ashville in '06 with a flute music CD. On a return trip later that fall, he bought his first flute, and has been making and playing them ever since.

Johnny has been playing and singing in the church praise band along side talented friend Ken Holt for maybe 10 years (neither can remember when they started together, but it was a long time ago!). Ken brought his rock and contemporary Christian music background to lead the band, but blended it with Johnny's folk/gospel/spiritual music experience to create an exciting eclectic sound.

From a long history of group performances, Johnny is striking out in a more solo lead direction, and is thrilled to have the guitar artistry of Ken Holt on stage with him for Native Rhythms again this year.

Ken Holt has been writing songs and performing since the late 60’s. With rock ‘n roll bands, church praise bands, solo, and every other configuration, Ken has nurtured his love for music. The kinship with other players on stage and the connection with the audience, continues to draw him to new musical projects, all the while stretching and growing his guitar playing. Ken has attended the Native Rhythms Festival in past years and agaim looks forward to performing with his longtime friend, Johnny Kee.  

Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps

Born in Alabama, Sydney has extensively traveled the country experiencing the wonderful diversity of its people and cultures along the way. She has played and performed standard Native American flute from a very young age, and her unique playing style has developed a maturity beyond her years.

As one of the up-and-coming flute players gracing the Native Rhythms stage this year, Sydney truly enjoys live performing. She has earned many accolades including 1st place at Native Rhythms in 2009, and most recently, placing 2nd of 97 entrants at Musical Echoes 2011. She has performed at numerous Native American festivals and cultural events across the country including Middle Tennessee State University, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Moundville Archaeological Park, Chasco Fiesta Native Venue, The Parks at Chehaw, and Janney Museum.

Sydney currently demonstrates a flute education program for the University of Alabama called Fluting Through the Ages at Jones Archeological Museum and has shared the stage with talented performers such as Jan Seiden, Billy Whitefox, Dave McCullen and many others.

This young lady, known to her friends, students and fans of all ages as “Kokopelli Girl”, has a unique playing style and an innovative approach to ancient rim-blown flutes like the Anasazi, Hopi, and Mojave. It is often said that she “flutes like a girl” with a lingering warmth and tenderness uncommonly seen in the modern flute world. At age 18, she is currently in-studio recording music for one of many highly anticipated albums, the first of which will be released in 2012 in time for this year's Native Rhythms Festival.

Come and experience the music of Kokopelli Girl, Sydney Mitchell.

Find her on YouTube at:  

and keep an eye out on Facebook for the ever elusive Kokopelli Girl. You never know where she’ll turn up next!

For more information and possible event bookings contact her at:

Facebook: Sydney Lee Richmond Phipps


Kimberly Kridler

Kimberly earned a place on the 2016 program by virtue of winning the 2015 Native Rhythms Festival Flute Players' Competition. Congratulations, Kim!

A long-time fan of the Native American flute, Kimberly began learning to play in earnest May of 2012. Her joy composing and playing for and with others has been nurtured by friends and mentors in the Riverwind, Southwind, and Central Florida Flute Circles, and at the Native Rhythms Festival. She feels equal enthusiasm sharing her simple, heartfelt compositions with small audiences at nursing homes, community centers, and cafes, and with larger audiences at events like the Leesburg Art Festival, Scrub Jay Festival, and Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering.

Kimberly is honored to have placed in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Native Rhythms Festival Flute Players’ Competitions and to appear as a guest musician on Painted Raven’s Kindred Spirits CD. She credits Annette Abbondanza and Holly Harris of Painted Raven with prompting her to record, and friends Wes and Pam Dickey with recording her first demo CD in their living room! Kimberly hopes to release her first professionally mastered CD, titled One Breath, in time for the 2016 Native Rhythms Festival, and to release two more CD projects soon after.

Please send questions or comments regarding this website to