Michelle Carlisle

MICHELLE CARLISLE is an accomplished performer, teacher, accompanist, session/studio musician, songwriter, composer and arranger. She performs and records as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with her flute, piccolo, alto and bass flutes, pennywhistles, fifes and piano. Her beautiful voice and vivacious flute playing have delighted audiences all around Canada. Michelle is also a teacher, offering instruction in flute, whistle, piano and music theory in North Delta, BC.  For the last two decades, she has been a member of the Celtic group, Blackthorn, who has recorded four albums that feature a number of her own compositions. Michelle also freelances with a number of music groups around town including Caviar and Lace, Halifax Wharf Rats, The Flanagans, Fluterrific, Triskellion and Caelestra.

The beginning

Something Michelle can definitely say about music, is that she has been involved since a very young age indeed!  Her family has a huge love of music in its many different styles and genres - exposing her to virtually every style there is.. from opera, bluegrass and old time country, to classical, funk, latin, fado, celtic and everything in between.  This has influenced Michelle considerably to encourage her students to be very well-rounded.  Michelle began playing piano at the age of 5, and started the flute at 8. When Michelle was 7 years old, she competed in her first music competition in Kipling, Saskatchewan.


Michelle teaches a number of students in flute, whistle, piano and theory. As well Michelle has taught masterclasses and group classes, sometimes called "clinics" or "sectionals", at various schools and other venues. Lessons are fun for both teacher and student. Michelle's students are of all ages. When Michelle's son was in Beavers (Scouts), she was a leader known as "Songbird" and brought the group fun and silly songs that were requested again and again.  See "Lessons" for more information.

Some years ago Michelle created a flute ensemble called Fluterrific, which enables flute players to get together to rehearse and perform a variety of fun musical genres. Playing largely classical and baroque, Fluterrific also performs a large number of her arrangements of popular, Broadway and Christmas songs amongst others. Currently there are two formations of Fluterrific, an intermediate group and a senior/performing group.


Besides competing, Michelle has performed with many different groups with a wide variety of genres including classical, baroque, latin, jazz, classic rock and celtic, to name a few.

Michelle has been a member of the Celtic group, Blackthorn, for more than 20 years. In that time, she has recorded four albums with them which include a number of her own compositions, and feature her playing her many different instruments as well as providing lead and background vocals.  Blackthorn has been performing and touring in venues all around BC as well as Alberta, Washington, Saskatchewan and other parts of the U.S. since 1989.

For the past fifteen years, Michelle has also been a member of the local East-Coast/Classic Rock group The Halifax Wharf Rats, performing at numerous venues from pubs to parties to weddings.  In this band, Michelle also plays the piano/keyboards.

In addition, Michelle performs with the Flanagans, Triskellion, Caviar & Lace, Fluterrific and Caelestra.  See "Performance" for information on each group.  Michelle also freelances and performs with other groups and artists around town.

Writing music

Composing, songwriting and arranging is another category of Michelle's musical endeavours and passions. Often she creates pieces just for her students, specifically for their personal development. Michelle's recent composition "Cycle Behind the Net" was performed by a live jazz ensemble in Vancouver in a world premiere in 2011. Other of her pieces have been recorded and performed live, especially those she wrote for Blackthorn - her recording, performing, and touring band.  (See "Blackthorn" for more information).  Currently Michelle's song"Open Skies" is available as a single from iTunes as well as the Blackthorn website ( and is featured on the newest CD release for Blackthorn of the same name, as well as another Michelle Carlisle original - "Song for Dianne" - an instrumental featuring her flute in a duet with the violin.

Musical history..

Michelle performed as a soloist with the Okanagan Symphonia at age 14

For several productions in high school, playing piano and flute for the musicals. Notably, with Bill Clarke on synthesizer.

Michelle was a part of both the Okanagan Symphony as well as the Auckland Youth Orchestra in New Zealand

Michelle was featured in concert with Kelowna Celtic band Mullingar and Valdy

Together with jazz and flamenco guitarist Dan Obradovic, and hand percussionist Trevor Salloum, Michelle played jazz and latin music on the flute, as a trio in Kelowna venues

Michelle accompanied Kelowna choir Allegro Singers in concert

Michelle on flute, Rachel Kwon on piano and Colin de Bourcier on vocals, performed at concerts in Kelowna under the name Summer Solstice

Michelle performed with each of these last three groups at Expo ’86 in Vancouver several times during the “Okanagan/Similkameen Week”

Along with harpsichordist, cellist, and recorder player, Michelle was a part of a Kelowna baroque group called The Baroque Ensemble, performing in churches and halls

Michelle was a member of the pit orchestra for “Pirates of Penzance” in Kelowna and on tour in Kamloops, also “Trial by Jury” in Kitchener, Ontario

Ole!  Michelle performed with Tucan which featured renowed Guatemalan composer and performer Luis Galich, at local restaurants and venues.  Michelle played the flute, tenor sax, and percussion and sang in Spanish

With keyboards, flute and vocals, Michelle was part of Vancouver-based classic rock/cover band This End Up, who performed at local clubs and restaurants

As a duo with Joe Cruz on semi-acoustic guitar, Michelle and Joe performed various events, sometimes sporting specially designed Victorian costumes and played at Dickenzian Christmas concerts

On keyboards, Michelle has performed arrangements with multiple highland bagpipe groups, including the RCMP E-Division Highland Bagpipe band

Michelle accompanied the West Coast Fiddleheads in a number of performances in Vancouver

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Michelle Carlisle