Lexie Kruse, a senior music major at Bemidji State University, will try out for the prestigious U.S. Army Field Band next month at Ft. Meade, Md.
Kruse’s tryout came through a two-decade relationship between Dr. Del Lyren, professor of music at Bemidji State, and Ginger Turner, former principal trumpet in the Army Field Band who now has an administrative role with the group. Turner held a clinic for BSU music students during the band’s stop in Bemidji for a concert in October of 2012, and Kruse had an opportunity to play for Turner.
“Ginger talked about what it is like to have a career in one of the top military bands, and what it’s like to audition,” Lyren said. “You have to give a perfect, spotless audition if you want to have any chance of being selected.”
During the clinic, Kruse learned that the band had an opening for a trumpet player, and Turner encouraged her to pursue it.
“I’m a senior this year, and next year I had been looking to get into the military bands,” Kruse said. “I just said to myself, there is an opening, I guess I’ll give it a shot. It is one of the best bands in the country.”
Kruse put together a rehearsal CD and sent it in to the band in early December.
“You get as close to playing the perfect piece as you possibly can, and you submit it,” she said. “I put a lot of work into the CD.”
Just three weeks later she learned she had been chosen for the live audition in February.
“Lexie is obviously a really fantastic player,” Lyren said. “But, realistically, I know how difficult these auditions are. It’s difficult for master’s and doctoral students to compete for these spots. Realistically, I didn’t think she’d get asked for a live audition; I will never underestimate her again.”
Kruse will spend three days at a live audition at Ft. Meade beginning Feb. 12. She will go through a two-round interview process; the first round includes a solo performance of a piece Kruse selects, followed by excerpts from pieces provided by the band and sight-reading exercises. The second round includes an interview, a repeat of her solo and more excerpts from provided music.
If Kruse wins the job, she will be offered the position before she leaves Washington, D.C. She would then graduate from BSU on schedule in May and begin serving with the band after completing Basic Training this summer.
“This is huge. I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Kruse said. “I need to do a lot of practicing and a lot of bouncing ideas off of Del. I will just go out there and give it my best shot and see what happens.”
Kruse also has been selected as a semifinalist for the National Trumpet Competition, March 14-17, on the campus of George Mason University in Arlington, Va. She will be one of 41 competitors in the contest’s Undergraduate division. It is the second time Kruse has reached the competition’s semifinal round.
“Going last year I learned a lot about what to expect from the judges and what they are looking for,” Kruse said. “I don’t think I’ll be as nervous this year, because I know the process and know how it works. I’ll be able to prepare more for the competition this year.”
For more information contact Dr. Del Lyren, professor of music at Bemidji State University, (218) 755-3931.