Great State: A Musical Split or Bond?

ADA, OKLAHOMA — Jack works from his back porch. Wendell works out of a spare bedroom. Jack uses ash wood. Wendell prefers cedar. Jack uses a hand planer. Wendell likes his power drill.

They both make flutes. Jack and Wendell Pettigrew grew up together and they did everything together too. Jack pokes Wendell and playfully asks, “You’re two years younger right?” “Yeah,” chuckles Wendell.

Wendell and the Dreamers was a rock and roll band they both played in. They share the same Chickasaw heritage. They even live on the same street in Ada. “I was always getting in trouble,” giggles Wendell. “I was supposed to keep him out of trouble,” says Jack, “and I didn’t do very well.”

So when they decided to start making flutes a few years ago you would have thought they’d make them the same, but you’d be wrong. “That gives you a choice that way,” says Wendell.

Wendell prefers the one piece method, drilling a hold in a single stick of cedar, then carving a figure in it. Jack went the two piece way, gluing top and bottom together. Wendell says of Jack, “He likes a lot of inlay. I like pictures of people and animals. I do more drawings.”

Two types of flutes, one success story. Brothers Jack and Wendell make their flutes under a single umbrella. JW Custom Flutes sell at pow wows and at their website, JWcustomflutes.com.

Wendell and Jack’s work complement each other. They use different methods but they still manage to do the same thing. The brothers laugh. “They used to call us ‘the gold dust twins’, Hekyll and Jekyll. You never see one without the other.”


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