School of Music alum, student couple selected to military band together

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Elizabeth and Bradley Robinson

College couples become married couples all the time, but how often do those couples work in the same field? How about in the same place?

Bradley and Elizabeth (Liz) Robinson, from the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music, did just that when they both auditioned—and were subsequently selected—for the US Air Force Band of the West.

“It was a dream of ours to both find jobs in the same area, to say nothing of playing for the same band,” said Bradley.

Bradley, a doctoral percussion student, and Elizabeth, a 2015 Master of Music–Performance in flute graduate, share even more than UGA. Both are from Cincinnati and both attended Ohio University, where they met.

“I was a master's student while she was getting her undergraduate degree,” said Bradley. “We met in a History of Band Literature class, actually.”

2013 was an important year for the couple: they graduated from Ohio University, decided to go to UGA (for his doctorate and her master’s) and became engaged.

Once they arrived in Athens, they took no time in making an impression at the School of Music.

“Bradley Robinson is one of the most gifted percussionists we have had in the percussion area in six years,” said Timothy K. Adams Jr., chair of the percussion area.

“Liz Robinson has an unfathomable work ethic, is a beautiful musician and a brilliant flutist,” said Angela Jones-Reus, professor of flute.

Over the next two years, they became fixtures of their respective areas, performing with numerous ensembles and excelling in the classroom and on stage. And in the middle of it all, they found time to plan and orchestrate their wedding, which was held in 2014.

Elizabeth graduated in 2015 and chose to pursue her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. With Bradley still working on his doctorate at UGA, they had to make the hard call and, just one year after their wedding, put 500 miles between them for, potentially, a year or more.

Opportunity called this spring, however, when the Band of the West held auditions at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The Band of the West, one of the US’s premier military bands, travels over 125,000 miles a year to play across the country for audiences ranging from civic organizations to sitting dignitaries.

Both Robinsons had submitted recordings of themselves to make it through the “screening” round of the auditions, and they were invited to the live auditions: Elizabeth on April 12, Bradley on May 4.

“We both played standard orchestral and band excerpts as well as performed with a live ensemble,” said Bradley. “Liz's ensemble was the Spectrum Wind Quintet, while I played with the Dimensions in Blue Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo.  Additionally, we sight-read alone and with the ensembles.”

Once the final rounds of auditions were done and selections were made, the Robinsons discovered that their talent had brought them together once again.

“I am so thankful that we have both won these jobs,” said Elizabeth. “It has always been our dream to get jobs in the same area so that we could maintain our personal lives throughout our careers."

"We are incredibly fortunate to have both won jobs, let alone in the same city, and even in the same band,” said Bradley. “Opportunities like this are few and far between, but I am thankful that our hard work and dedication paid off. After living the last year apart to attend our separate universities, now we can finally start our lives together."