by Steve Peterson
The Augustana College Band, led by Conductor Dr. Paul Schilf, performed for West Sioux Middle School Jan. 31.
Music filled the gym on the below-zero day outside as the band made a stop on its nine-school swing through Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota on the “Interim Tour” in between semesters. Rock Valley was also a stop this day and South Dakota towns Freeman, Brandon, Hot Springs, Rapid City, Hill City and Kadoka were on the schedule as well as Pipestone, Minn.
About 60 students at the Sioux Falls, S.D. college are in the band, part of the Augustana College Department of Performing and Visual Arts.
West Sioux Director of Bands Gillian Heirigs arranged the stop.
One highlight of the West Sioux stop was when Falcons’ middle and high school band members were invited to stand and watch college students play.
“I also conduct a band at Augustana where members’ average age is 72 and you have to be at least 50 years old. Music is something you can do the rest of your life. It creates emotion and gets your heart going,” said Conductor Dr. Schilf.
He pointed out many students in the band are not music majors.
“The purpose is to bring music to the small towns,” said Schilf.
Dr. Schlif’s background
Dr. Schilf is in his 12th year at Augustana College. During this academic year (through the sabbatical leave of Dr. Bruce Amman). Dr. Schilf is conducting the Augustana band. During prior years, he has conducted the College & Community Concert Band; the Northlander’s Jazz Ensemble; the Jazz Lab Band; and the Augustana Brass Choir.
He teaches classes in brass pedagogy, music education and supervises the instrumental student teachers.
Prior to his appointment at Augustana College, Schilf was on the faculty at Concordia University of St. Paul, Minn. He holds the Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Concordia University, Chicago, Ill.; a Master of Arts Degree, with an emphasis on conducting; the Doctorate of Philosophy Degree in Music Education from the University of Iowa. He has taught all levels of instrumental music.
Schilf’s research interests lie in intergenerational instrumental music education and in the supervision of instrumental music student teachers.
He has presented clinics and presentations across the United States on these topics including the prestigious International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Schilf has led six international tours with intergenerational ensembles across Europe and Asia, including the British Isles last year. His intergenerational research, student teaching supervision information, and music education articles have appeared in many national magazines and journals.
In 1992 Schilf was recognized as an Outstanding Nationally Certified teacher of music by the Music Educator’s National Conference, an honor he maintains yet today. He is currently executive director of the South Dakota Music Educators Association and serves as one of only four All-State Band adjudicators in South Dakota. His professional memberships include National Association of Music Education and the Wisconsin School Music Association.
The Augustana College Band tours have included Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minn.; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.; internationally to South Korea and to China in 2003 and 2007 with a third trip to China set for 2015. The band sponsors one of the most prestigious Concert Band festivals in the area for more than 350 students, representing about 100 schools.
In addition to Augustana Band, there are many wind and percussion performance opportunities for students at the Sioux Falls school.