Hunter Huff Towle '17 was named concertmaster of The Concordia Orchestra his freshman year. Not even a broken string on his violin has kept him from his leadership responsibilities.
Hunter Huff Towle ’17, Bismarck, N.D., expects his first Concordia Christmas Concert to be full of “spine-tingling moments.”
“I’ve never seen one, but everyone says it’s a joyous, festive concert,” says Huff Towle. “I know it’s a special event for students and a huge tradition for the college.”
Huff Towle has already experienced other surprises in his first year at Concordia. He was picked as concertmaster after fall auditions – a rarity for a freshman – and during the Homecoming Concert before a packed house, the A string on his violin broke.
Both times, he was stunned and surprised. “I’ve never had either one happen to me before,” he says.
Concordia Orchestra conductor Foster Beyers says he saw and heard all the qualities he wanted in a concertmaster during Huff Towle’s audition.
“On one level, the concertmaster is like a second conductor,” says Beyers. “It’s a leadership position, and the person must play very well and set an example for the rest of the orchestra. He sits in front so the others can see him as he translates my verbal cues and gestures into technical strategies to bring the music to life.”
Because of their close working relationship, Beyers knows Huff Towle can handle adversity.
“He’s unflappable. Breaking a string didn’t faze him; he still executed his duties for the remainder of the concert,” says Beyers. “He played when he could, and he continued giving cues to the violin section. It’s a really crucial skill to have in a concertmaster.”
Huff Towle began playing the violin at age 5 when his mother took him to Suzuki classes. By middle school, he had become serious about the violin and was playing in the Bismarck Youth Symphony and occasionally with the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony.
Huff Towle chose Concordia to major in chemistry and prepare for a medical career while also playing in the orchestra, which the music department allows non-music majors to do.
“I wanted to keep enjoying music without devoting my life to it,” he says.
As a freshman, Huff Towle says he immediately felt welcomed by everyone in the orchestra.
“We have a good bond,” he says. “We’re all working hard to make good music together and we’re embracing the opportunities we have here. We’re a good team.”