Article by Vince LaBarbera
Kelly Hornbarger is from Carlton, MI but has been living in Fort Wayne and playing with the Community Band as its principal flutist for 10 years. She attended East Tennessee State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in music performance, and she earned a Master of Music Theory degree from Michigan State University. She began playing flute in fifth-grade band. She also plays piano, guitar, bass, and ukulele, as well as folk instruments such as the pennywhistle and ocarina. Kelly teaches flute at Manchester University. She also has her own home business performing online as an independent musician, under the username "The Nerdy Flutist." Kelly and her husband, Josh, are the parents of a five-year-old daughter, Amelia.
“I have been performing online as ‘The Nerdy Flutist’ on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and other social media,” said Hornbarger. “Early on, I caught the attention of the Star Trek fan community -- of which I am a passionate member myself -- by performing Captain Picard's flute solo from Star Trek: The Inner Light by Jay Chattaway on social media.” She also arranged and performed that solo at a recent Community Band concert. Since then, she has made a group of friends and fans who share her love of Star Trek and other nerdy things, she added. Every week on Thursday night, she performs a show on Twitch called "A Little Nerdy Nightmusic," which features arrangements from Star Trek, Star Wars, Zelda, Final Fantasy and other sci-fi and fantasy covers.
In August 2021, she made a video performing the Star Trek: Voyager theme in front of the new statue commemorating Captain Janeway in Bloomington, Indiana. This video caught the attention of the organization that built the statue, and they invited her to play for the event where Kate Mulgrew, the actress who played Captain Janeway, came to see the statue for the first time. In October 2022, Kelly opened for Kate's public appearance at the statue, playing for her favorite group of people: fellow Star Trek fans. “Not only that,” she added, “I got to meet Kate Mulgrew, play music for her, and then go out to dinner with her afterward. It was an absolute dream come true!”
Kelly is currently working on her first full-length album, which was recently fully funded on Kickstarter. “It will be an album of all Star Trek flute arrangements,” said Kelly, “ranging from flute quartet to flute solos with piano, and even a couple featuring the ‘Ressikan Flute’ from Star Trek: The Next Generation." In addition, she said, “I am currently in the process of recording the album, titled The Inner Light: Flute Music from the Final Frontier, which should be out sometime this summer.”