Austin Phillips ’14, Apple Valley, Minn., knows the full meaning of commitment. Now he and other members of The Concordia Band are preparing to go on tour.
The trombone player routinely practices at least three hours a day in preparation for rehearsals with the Concordia band, orchestra and brass quintet. He’s been this way since the fourth grade when he first took up the trombone.
“I just think this time commitment is necessary for me to maintain the level I want to be at,” he says. “I’ll get frustrated if I don’t practice enough because I think something might slip away.”
Phillips is one of the students who will be touring with The Concordia Band through Minnesota and Wisconsin Feb. 2-9. Included in the band’s performances will be the world premiere of “Elegy for a Joyful Heart,” composed by Paul Cravens ’13 and commissioned by Bruce Vieweg, associate vice president and chief information officer, in memory of Dr. Pamela Jolicoeur, Concordia’s 10th president.
While commitment to music excellence is no stranger to members of the band, Phillips’ effort is somewhat unique because his academic focus is on business management, with a secondary major in music. He’s already been accepted into the leader development program with U.S. Bank, and he’s currently doing a business management internship with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera Co.
“I like the internship because it merges my two fields of interest, but I’m planning on a career in business,” says Phillips. “I came to Concordia because I wanted to play music at a high level while also pursuing academics at a similarly high level. Concordia makes it clear that you don’t need to be a music major to play in the top ensembles.”
To further his commitment to high-level music making, Phillips put himself through a rigorous and humbling audition process to qualify for one of the nation’s top collegiate summer music camps in Aspen, Colo., as a sophomore. There, he studied with leading conductors and played with the best musicians in college today.
“Opportunities like Aspen, and things like Minnesota all-state honor band, opened my eyes to other students who enjoy wanting to make good music as much as I do,” says Phillips. “I learned that to be the best, you have to put in the time. It’s all about making the commitment.”