Art focus: Brainerd High School Band.
Adviser nomination: “Erin is a wonderful musician and leader in Wind Symphony. She is the principal flute and piccolo player as well as a band officer. Her thoughtful and positive energy is contagious in our ensemble.”
Memorable fine arts achievement: Performing a virtual, livestreamed concert due to COVID-19 this past fall as a flutist in the Central Lakes Wind Symphony.
Artist most admired: Jasmine Choi.
Other fine arts activities: Central Lakes Wind Symphony, CLC Woodwind Ensemble.
Why did you choose the flute? “I chose to play the flute the summer before sixth grade. Funny enough, that was the only instrument I could actually play, so I didn’t have too much of a choice. I really did love the flute. When I started, I was not a good flutist, but thanks to lessons with Mrs. Moats, one of the Forestview Middle School band directors, and after a lot of painful practice I really developed my skills. And now I’m the principal flutist in Wind Symphony, the top band at the high school.”
What did you struggle with in the beginning? “The flute is pretty difficult in the amount of air that it takes, even though it is such a small instrument. And then having a specific embouchure to produce a beautiful song. I did a lot of exercises out of books and scale work. ... It wasn’t a lot of fancy exercises, it was all pretty basic, but just doing those repeatedly, and at a high quality helped me improve my sound and play.”
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You play the piccolo as well? “I also play the piccolo, which you would think is an easy transition from the flute to the piccolo, but it is not. The piccolo is higher pitched, it’s a smaller instrument, it’s a lot harder to tune and to keep it in tune. So it is definitely a big challenge for me this year to advance my playing as a piccolo player.
“I was first introduced to it in ninth grade, but after joining Wind Symphony in 10th grade, I stopped playing the piccolo for about two years and I started up again around March.
When I first started playing the piccolo in ninth grade it was because there was an eight measure solo and the teacher asked me if I would be willing to pick it up and learn it. It wasn’t too difficult.”
What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your instruments? “I would say my greatest challenge over the past year has been ... preparing myself for playing at a college level band. The way I’ve been working towards that is trying to set a more consistent practice routine despite a busy schedule. I also joined the Central Lakes Wind Symphony and Woodwind Ensemble this past fall, which helps give me another look into an upper level band outside of Wind Symphony at the high school.”
Where do you plan to go to college? “Either Gustavus Adolphus College or Concordia College, Moorhead. I want to be a CPA (certified public accountant).”
You’re not majoring in music? “Music is not my major but it is something I have a really great passion for. It is a great stress reliever. For many people, sports, listening to music or reading are good ways to relieve stress and for me it’s playing my flute. I love spending my time playing it on my own and with an ensemble. I know next year college classes will be stressful and I’ll have a busy schedule, so I want to continue to play.”
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You also are a band officer? “I have two leadership positions within the band. I am the flute section leader, which is a little bit different with distance learning. I generally lead sectionals, help with individual practice and being the go-to person if they have any questions. In addition to that, I was recently elected as the Wind Symphony vice president. We have weekly board meetings with Mr. Fogderud, the band director. There are five officers and we discuss ways in which we can improve virtual meetings during distance learning. We also plan social get-togethers virtually to help promote a community feel in the band and to help introduce the underclassmen to the upperclassmen.
How do you stay motivated with distance learning? “Even for me — someone who’s very dedicated towards music who has a clear future outline that incorporates music — it is hard to find motivation to practice when we’re not regularly meeting in person for rehearsals, and we don’t really have set concert dates. So because of this, it’s harder to find motivation and that drive to practice consistently. Recently, since we started the new year I have some new projects I’m working on and that has really helped me. “What I am doing is there is this really famous flute solo book with music by French composers ... and every month in 2021 I am attacking a different solo in this book. These are no easy solos, they’re pretty challenging. They have different keys, accidentals and styles that I am not used to. Doing a different solo every month is a strong motivator for me.”
Favorite movie: “Hidden Figures.”
Favorite TV show: “New Girl.”
Favorite book: “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.
Most treasured possession: My first flute that I got in sixth grade.
Worst music: Rap.
Favorite song: “Got It In You” by BANNERS.
Favorite restaurant: On the Rocks at Grand View Lodge.
Favorite subjects: Band and math.
Perfect meal: Grilled chicken sandwich and side salad.
Biggest pet peeve: Slow walkers.
Clubs: Member and treasurer of Key Club.
Hobbies: Music, Spanish, baking and traveling.
Parents: Julie Host and Doug Host, Brainerd.