Whew! Does it ever feel good to be home afer two and a half weeks of travelling. I had a great time through and through but I'm glad to be back. I auditioned for three schools in three distinct parts of the country:
University of Northern Colorado- Greeley, CO
New England Conservatory- Boston, MA
University of North Texas- Denton, TX
I learned so much in my travels. Sure, I learned a lot about different parts of the world, about different schools, about traveling in general, but more importantly, I learned so much about God and Jesus Christ and who they are and how they have been so crucial to my life. I will briefly sum up my experiences:
Flew into Denver and got picked up by the excellent Karl Markgraf, a great friend of mine who goes to UNC. In Greeley, I checked out two saxophone recitals, both excellent, a jazz ensemble rehearsal, and a promotional gala featuring many of UNC's finest musicians. I really liked the school and the players there were excellent. I did some playing myself while I was there. Luckily enough, Brian Handeland and Brian Claxton (two buddies of mine from Eau Claire) were in town that same week doing auditions too, so we all had a great time!
After my UNC audition, I booked it to Denver and caught a flight to Boston, where I did my NEC audition the next day. I was staying with Randy Pingrey (http://randypingrey.com/) for a couple nights in his place in Cambridge, where he and his wonderful girlfriend Kathy Olson helped me get acclimated to the Boston experience. After my NEC audition, the rest of the week was mine to do anything, so I spent a lot of it at NEC getting the vibe, doing some playing, and watching rehearsals and Jason Moran masterclasses. I stayed two nights with my friend Pat Kuehn in the NEC dorms and then with my good high school friend Will Merkl (a fantastic alto saxophonist) and his girlfriend Caroline in Quincy, MA. Then I flew home, not realizing that I left my phone at Will's place until I got to the airport. Oops.
Fast forward a few days, and I'm off to Dallas, where Adam Koble (wonderful tubist, cyclist, and dude) picked me up and brought me to Denton. Stayed with him for a couple days while I got the Texas experience (yee-haw!). We went to a place called Rooster's where we split a "Big A** Grilled Cheese Double Burger" which is essentially a double cheeseburger, except the buns are replaced by two grilled cheese sandwiches. It was so delicious, I almost had a heart attack (ba-dum-ching)! On Friday, I spent the evening with some of my fiancee Alyssa's relatives, an awesome family with two really cool boys that I love spending time with. During the weekend, fellow Eau Claire grad Kieth Karns and I stayed with my good friend Preston Haining, a great trumpet player at UNT, and we both did our auditions on Saturday and left for home the following day. UNT was a big school, but a really friendly and healthy environment to be in.
While I was away, I learned how to better rely on God as my source of all life. I was challenged by the fact that I was taken away from my regular routine and constantly moving around and living out of a suitcase for so long. I really made it a goal to be steadfast in reading the Word while I was away, and though I sometimes failed, I got better as I went. I just realized how much I need God as I make tough life choices about where I want to end up, and what direction God is calling me to as far as the future is concerned. I'll be getting married to the woman of my dreams this summer, and making sure she has an environment that she can be in and thrive is really important, too. I'll post my decision when I cross that bridge.
Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far. I'd love to hear people's thoughts and hear how everyone's doing. Peace and love,
is a saxophonist/composer residing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.