UGA Doctoral Student Wins National Audition with the Premiere U.S. Navy Band, Washington D.C.

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is proud to share that second-year DMA student and graduate saxophone teaching assistant Harrison Clarke has recently won a position with the U.S. Navy Band, Washington, D.C., after competing against over 70 saxophonists from across the country. Positions in premiere military bands open up only when a current member of the band retires or leaves the band, which is what makes them so competitive. The nearly 12-hour audition process included three rounds and an interview before a winner was determined. 


Harrison admits that the audition was rigorous, but that he felt prepared thanks to his teacher, Associate Professor of Saxophone Connie Frigo. “She was very thorough with the excerpts, the difference in style between something like a Percy Grainger excerpt versus a Henry Fillmore march, and with sight-reading preparation,” he says. Harrison remarks that being announced as the winner of the Navy Band job is a dream come true. “[Dr. Frigo] has been so wonderful to work with and has helped me to learn to love the process of discovering artistry in the practice room through thoughtful and engaging practice techniques,” Harrison says. “I don't think winning this job would have been possible without her guidance and support.”


Dr. Frigo says how special it is for Harrison to earn this position because she was a member of the U.S. Navy Band for six years at the beginning of her career."So much of my musical foundation, professional expectations, and lifelong friendships were built from my experience in the Navy Band. I couldn't be prouder of him for earning this position and I cannot wait to see him perform with the band. Harrison has been a dream student to work with and to have as a teaching assistant,” she says. In more coments about Harrison, Frigo remarks that he is forever curious, loves the instrument, and is intrinsically motivated to learn and grow under any circumstances.  “He is enthusiastically disciplined and tenacious,” she says. 


Harrison says that the University of Georgia has meant everything to him in his growth as a musician, scholar, and human. “The faculty here are of the highest caliber, and I love being in an environment where so many talented musicians are willing and wanting to collaborate!” he says. “We will miss his brilliant playing, steadfast leadership and joyful attitude, but we're beaming with excitement for him as he starts his professional career. Our deepest congratulations, Harrison!” Frigo says.Harrison will report to Navy basic training in the coming months and join the band in the fall and the Hodgson School wishes him all the best.