Mizzou Graduate Clarinetist Selected for US Marine Fleet Band

Austin Wright picture
Susan Worstell

Following a highly competitive audition, School of Music Graduate Student, Austin Wright, was selected to serve in a United States Marine Fleet Band.  Started during World War II, the Marine Fleet Bands consist of 10 renowned ensembles who perform all over the world.  Within each band, members have the opportunity to not only perform but also to serve in a diverse selection of leadership roles.

Currently in his second year as a Master of Music student in Clarinet Performance, Austin will begin his new position upon completion of his degree this Spring. He will have a limited choice as to where he will be performing with options including Hawaii, California, North Carolina, Virginia, Japan, and Germany.

Austin started playing clarinet in the fifth grade when one of his closest friends also picked the instrument and soon was inspired and motivated to be the best in his class.  After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in Spring 2017, Austin chose to pursue his degree at MU where he has studied under clarinet professor Dr. Wesley Warnhoff.  “My decision to come to MU was an easy one! I loved working with Dr. Warnhoff in a lesson setting when I came to visit, and I knew he was the right teacher for me to continue my studies.” He had auditioned for military bands previously and after talking to other military clarinet players, knew early that this was a career he would enjoy and excel at. When asked what his duties will include, Austin answered, “the job entails being part of a wind ensemble on base and being active in various chamber groups. I will also be assigned a role in helping promote and manage the band, as each ensemble in the military is self-sufficient with day-to-day operations, as well as any outside tours and performances. For my base assignment, I will be able to choose between four locations determined by the Marines.”

Clarinet professor Dr. Wesley Warnhoff encouraged and helped Austin prepare for the audition and is delighted their hard work was rewarded.  “Preparing for this audition with Austin was actually a lot of fun, as well as a large undertaking.  We began working on these excerpts a couple of months ago, and have really worked to hone them over the course of the process through listening, lots of slow practice, and recording.  We worked on performing under pressure, in different venues, and under different conditions so that he would be as prepared as he possibly could be.  We had one final mock audition the day before Austin left for New Mexico in which he had a fantastic run of the excerpts.  I told him before he left that there were no guarantees with auditions obviously, but he had done everything necessary to win this job.  Austin was constantly motivated, enthusiastic, and hard-working as this is his dream career. When I heard the news it was one of the most fantastic moments of my professional career!  It is incredibly validating for Austin, and it will be fun to see how he progresses in this new job!”

This is an exciting time for Austin, the clarinet studio, the School of Music, and the University of Missouri. Congratulations Austin!