The Magic Flute


A pawnshop flute. That’s how Marvin Sanders makes art out of uncertainty. From living on the streets to graduating college with a degree in music, Sanders recalls his incredible journey. And how it all started at a gas station: “I was in Denver, Colorado working at a gas station. Those were the days people would pull up and someone would walk out and pump your gas and wipe the windshield. I was working there in 1971-71 and, strangely, my mother–I was talking with her over the phone–she asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” [laughs]I mean, I’m twenty years old! I said, off the top of my head, “How about a flute?” She bought me a pawnshop flute. I visited her for Christmas and she gave it to me. Half the keys didn’t even work, but I didn’t know the difference. I took it back to Denver with me. I was working ten hours a day, six days a week then. But you know, at nineteen, twenty years old, you have all kinds of energy. I had a natural aptitude for it. I enjoyed playing it. That’s how I started.”

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