Ready for the Spotlight

School of Music Students Perform with Air Force Band in Orchestra Hall
University Wind Ensemble performing with Air Force Band in Orchestra Hall

Musicians pursuing an education at the University of Minnesota School of Music often have several opportunities throughout the year to experience a glimpse into what life as a professional musician might look like. Often, these opportunities exist as side-by-side rehearsals and masterclasses with professional musicians like British organist Anna Lapwood and New York Philharmonic clarinetist Anthony McGill, or receiving an opportunity to perform with a touring group or special event. 

Horn players perform with Air Force Band members.

The Air Force Band is composed of some of the finest professional musicians from around the United States. Members are required to pass a rigorous audition process. In addition to national tours and educational outreach sessions, they have multiple opportunities to perform at high-level government events for the President, Vice-President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force and national outreach events. Through television screens and radio, they perform for millions of more people around the world. The band has 52 professional musicians, many of which also perform in small chamber ensembles. 

Recently, University Wind Ensemble welcomed the Air Force Band while the group was preparing for the Minneapolis stop of their tour through North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Col. Don Schofield and several Air Force musicians participated in a special side-by-side rehearsal with UWE students. Later that week, select UWE students performed a piece side-by-side with the Air Force Band at their Orchestra Hall performance, and Director Emily Threinen was invited to conduct a march on stage. The ensemble was the only collegiate ensemble to be invited for such an opportunity on their Midwest tour. 

Jack Wagner, trumpet, is a UWE member currently studying the Computer Science major with an Applied Emphasis in Music. He spoke highly of the collaboration, reviewing that it was a “monumental inspiration, learning process, and awesome experience.” On the opportunity to perform in Orchestra Hall, Wagner reflected, “The sound in the orchestra hall, mixed with the professional musicianship of the band, made my trumpet playing sound way more awesome than it usually sounds in the practice room, I felt like a professional trumpeter.” 

Clarinetist Noah Rutman, a music minor member of the UWE, thought the performance was a “really cool experience” and that it was “quite an honor to play with some of the best players in the whole country.” The most impressive aspect to Rutman was the overall articulation and musicianship of the ensemble members, and the large crowd the group drew to Orchestra Hall. Rutman was particularly moved by the band’s performance of God Bless America

UWE members stand up after a performance with the Air Force Band

Unique collaborations where students are immersed in the professional field of music provide an incredible enhancement to their education, as this career path is one of many that open when a student pursues music in higher education. The University of Minnesota School of Music is proud to offer career-building opportunities like this and many more while a student studies music in college. 

 To learn more about the Air Force Band, visit their website

Share on: