My favorite place on campus is Lane Stadium on game day. Specifically when the Marching Virginians march into the stadium before the game starts. There is a huge feeling of excitement and energy and it embodies what I love most about Virginia Tech--the great sense of community between students, faculty, alumni, and the community, and the opportunity I have to work with talented students and faculty.
There are two moments that I remember vividly. The first was my first day playing with my high school marching band as a new transfer student. It was so much bigger and better than what I had experienced up until that point I couldn't play--I just sat there and smiled and thought about how lucky I was to be a part of that ensemble!
The second event was playing a concert cycle with the Illinois Wind Symphony as a doctoral student. The guest conductor was James F. Keene, one of my mentors. Working with him in that capacity was incredibly special. He is a demanding conductor and expects the best from his band. Working for someone who is so musically demanding is incredibly rewarding. The final product was a musical performance that I still love to listen to and remember how it felt to be part of that experience.
The dress rehearsal before the concert was actually more musical and exciting for me than the rehearsal. Every rehearsal and opportunity to play has the potential to be musical, exciting and a fantastic performance and should be treated that way. Waiting for the performance and expecting magic will be a disappointment if you don't work towards it during every rehearsal and practice session.
I have loved music since elementary school. I started playing the piano in kindergarten and the horn in fifth grade. I was the only person in seventh grade whose favorite song was classical music and not popular music (I mean...is there really any contest between Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and Bryan Adams? I don't think so...). I loved playing the piano, and I really loved being part of ensemble. When I was in seventh grade I decided I wanted to be a band director and that never changed.