He comes with a pile of sticks.
But once Antonio Flores sets up a table and tools, a crowd appears.
People of all ages transform the sticks into handmade flutes, each with its own melodic voice.
By popular request, flute-maker Antonio Flores will return to Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, at the corner of Hays Street and San Gorgonio Avenue, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, to teach people how to make and play their own Native American wooden flutes.
Flores, a volunteer, drives from his Oakland home to the nonprofit Center in downtown Banning.
Making and sharing the small, wooden Pomo-style flutes is his joy.
During his most recent visit at the downtown Phineas Festival in November, nearly 100 sticks of elder wood became flutes, custom made to fit each player’s hand.
Flores also teaches the flute-makers how to play their flutes, often adding stories or a little music from local Native American cultures.
His free flute-making session is part of “Fun With Flutes,” this month’s theme for a new family event called Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling. Every second Saturday, the nonprofit Learning Center plans to host hands-on activities, storytelling and traditional singing that help save and share Southern California’s American Indian cultures, languages, history, and music and other traditional arts.
Along with free flute-making, “Fun With Flutes” will feature stories and songs from Learning Center leader Ernest Siva, a Cahuilla-Serrano culture bearer, and others.
Future Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling events at the Learning Center include:
• Serrano Toys and Tools, Feb. 12, from 1-4 p.m. Families can learn about Serrano toys and tools and make some of their own to take home. Co-hosted by the San Bernardino County Museum. FREE.
* True Cowboy and Indian Tales, March 12, from 1-4 p.m. People will learn real stories from the Pass and can try their hands at some traditional cowboy and Indian skills. FREE.
What would you like to see at a second Saturday? Let us know.
Come join the fun. Share the stories. Sing the songs.