George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Mason Music Students Selected to Perform with U.S. Air Force Band

February 6, 2015

By Jamie Rogers

Brianna Schoen (left), Meghan Brooks and Nick Kraemer were selected to attend The United States Air Force Band Collegiate Symposium. Photo by Craig Bisacre.

George Mason University music students will perform with the military’s most elite musicians during a unique event in Maryland this weekend.

The U.S. Air Force Band Collegiate Symposium is a weekend full of clinics and practices for college students.

It begins Saturday morning and culminates in a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bowie Performing Arts Center.

Twenty-four college students were selected for the symposium; seven of those, including one alternate, are from George Mason’s School of Music. That’s the most of any college represented at the event, says John Kilkenny, director of percussion studies at Mason.

One of Kilkenny’s percussion students, senior music education major Nick Kraemer, is one of those selected to perform in the symposium.

“He’s definitely in the category of multitalented,” Kilkenny says of Kraemer. “He’s an all-around player.”

Kraemar and Meghan Brooks, a Mason music performance major and flutist, both say they heard about the symposium when a member of the U.S. Air Force Band visited a rehearsal of the Mason Wind Symphony.

“He used to go to Mason. It was really cool to see someone who had made it that far. He told us all to try out and that it was going to be a really great weekend,” Brooks says.

Kraemar says he follows all the military bands on Facebook for news and updates. Mason’s location in Fairfax allows him to attend the free concerts the bands perform in the area, he noted.

“I’m very much into any band, but especially being in this area, there is a large concentration of the top military bands,” Kraemar says.

Many of his Mason teachers play in these elite military bands, he adds.

Percussion instructors like Kilkenny and John Spirtas were very supportive when he expressed a desire to applying for the symposium, Kraemar says.

Kraemar sent both professors recordings of his audition pieces and the three worked together to perfect his submission.

The news they’d been accepted came on Christmas Eve for both Brooks and Kraemar.

Brooks says she has her Mason music instructors to thank for helping her play at this level.

“I think my flute teacher [Julianna Nickel] has really done a lot with me. She has a been a huge influence and she never lets me give up; she’s really caring and supportive,” Brooks says.

The remaining Mason students selected for the symposium are:

  • Andrew (Drew) Comparin, bass trombone
  • Caleb Cook, clarinet
  • Brianna Schoen, trumpet
  • Francesca Savoia, harp
  • Nick Thompson, clarinet
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