Alumna Carol Joe (flute) wins position with U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own"

UCSB Department of Music alumna, Carol Joe, recently won a position with the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." Ms. Joe, who completed her bachelor of music degree in 2012 while studying with Professor Jill Felber, took the time to answer a few questions about her new job, and share some of her favorite memories from her time at UCSB.

UCSB Department of Music Alumni Q&A: Carol Joe, flute

University of California, Santa Barbara, Bachelor of Music (2008-2012)
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Master of Music (2012-2014)
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Artist Diploma (2014-2016)

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Q: Congratulations on your recent audition win with Pershing’s Own! What position will you be taking on?

A: I will be a flutist in the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert Band.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Pershing’s Own band, maybe a little of the history behind the band?

A: The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” has been the premier musical organization of the U.S. Army since 1922. “Pershing’s Own” provides musical support for the leadership of the United States, including all branches of government, and to a wide array of national and international events in support of soldiers and their families, public diplomacy, community and international relations, recruiting initiatives, and music education programs. (Learn more about the U.S. Army “Pershing’s Own” Concert Band here.)

Q: How did you hear about this job opening?

A: I first heard a rumor that there would be an audition through social media (i.e. Facebook’s “Flute Jobs” page), but I soon saw a listing in the American Federation of Musicians’ union magazine.

Q: How did you prepare for the audition?

A: There was an initial prescreening round (they asked for both flute and piccolo recordings, resume, and headshot), and after hearing that I had been invited to the live audition in Washington, D.C., I had about two months to prepare a list of about 20 flute and piccolo excerpts. I made myself a timeline so I would have something new to focus on every week. About three weeks before the audition, I started holding mock auditions, where I’d mimic the audition process and have my friends come and act as a panel. There was not a day during the entire two months where I took a day off from practicing these excerpts. Despite having to prepare for a recital, maintain my freelance and teaching schedule, and keep up with my school obligations (performing in several ensembles and managing my Graduate Assistant work), I managed to find 2-4 hours a day to work on my excerpts. By the time the audition came around, I did not feel nervous at all.

Q: What was the audition process like? How many rounds were there and when did you get the call that you had won?

A: This was an interesting audition in that there were two flute/piccolo positions open, as opposed to a specific flute or piccolo job. Both piccolo players in the Ceremonial and Concert Bands are retiring, and flute players who are already members of the two “Pershing’s Own” bands were interested in making the switch from flute to piccolo, so if one of them happened to win the piccolo position, his or her flute position would be immediately filled the same day by one of the auditioning flutists.

The audition consisted of three blind rounds, and twelve people took the audition (about 60 people had submitted CDs). The eight of us who are not members of “Pershing’s Own” auditioned in the first round, and three of us were advanced to the second round. In the second round, the two members of the Ceremonial Band who were interested in auditioning for the piccolo position joined us, making it a total of 5 flutists in the second round. The panel advanced four of the five of us, and in the final round, the two flutists in the Concert Band joined us. The six of us auditioned in the final round, and after about an hour of deliberation, we were called in one by one in random order to the Colonel’s office to find out whether we would be offered a position in the band. I was the last person to be called into the office, and when I was offered a job as a flutist in the Concert Band, I couldn’t contain my emotions and I started crying immediately. The audition resulted in a Concert Band flutist filling the open Concert Band piccolo position, me filling the now open flute position in the Concert Band, and a fellow civilian filling the open Ceremonial Band piccolo position. The whole audition process was incredibly taxing (the audition started at 9 a.m., and ended around 7:30 p.m.), but everything ran smoothly. It also helped that everyone who was at the audition was incredibly kind and supportive throughout the day. There was not an ounce of bad energy in Fort Myer’s Brucker Hall.

Q: What are you most excited about as you look forward to this new chapter in your life?

A: I’m excited to be a musician representing our country! As a member of The U.S. Army Band, it will be my job to perform in front of our president, dignitaries, and diplomats who visit Washington, D.C. and the White House. I’m also really excited about being part of an ensemble that provides free concerts for the public. I’ve seen The U.S. Army Band perform on the lawn of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and it was incredibly inspiring to see how full the audience was! It’s a shame that live music is not always accessible to everyone, so I’m really happy that concerts I perform in will be available to anyone who is interested in listening to us!

Q: What was it like studying in the UCSB Music Department with Professor Jill Felber?

A: Professor Felber is a mentor like none other. The time, effort, and genuine concern she has for each and every student is something that is so rare in academia. I can’t imagine what my musical career would have been like without her guidance, and I’m eternally grateful for all the work she put into me to shape me up to be the musician that I am today. Anytime anything great happens in my life, I always make sure to let Professor Felber know first.

Q: What skills did you develop at UCSB that continue to help you in your musical career?

A: UCSB is an incredibly academic institution, and I’ll always be grateful for how much the professors demanded from the students. I really appreciated how every professor I’ve had at UCSB, whether it was in a general education class or a in core class, expected a certain level of excellence from every student. I really feel like my time at UCSB helped me set my academic standards extremely high, which made things incredibly easy when I began my graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Q: What is the most important piece of advice you would give music majors at UCSB?

A: Practice intelligently, and practice a lot. The music world is becoming increasingly saturated with incredible musicians, and the only way to make it in this business is to just keep practicing. There will be a shocking amount of rejection, but once you achieve what you want, the rejections from the past will not matter.

Q: Favorite UCSB memory (doesn’t have to be music related)?

A: Californians, don’t ever take your Mexican food for granted! I will always remember going to Super Cucas after a late night practice session, or stopping by La Super-Rica, or Lilly’s on my way home from school.

More About Carol Joe

Los Angeles native Carol Joe is a nationally recognized flutist, chamber musician and educator. Carol has received prizes from competitions such as the Chicago Flute Club’s Young Artist Competition, the Long Beach Mozart Festival Competition, the Leni Fe Bland Music Award Scholarship Competition, the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation Competition, the Music Teachers National Association Competitions, and has been featured as a concerto soloist with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Philharmonia. In addition to winning at the state and division levels of several MTNA competition categories, Carol was also a national finalist for both the MTNA Young Artists Competition and the Young Artist Chamber Music Competition. Carol was selected to compete in the 2016 National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition in San Diego, California, so she will spend the upcoming months preparing for the competition. Carol has spent her summers at the Brevard Music Festival, where she was a finalist in the Concerto Competition, the Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, where she had the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra during their summer season. This summer, Carol is excited to be a member of the National Repertory Orchestra’s 2016 season!

Carol Joe has accepted a position as a flutist in The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D.C., and will begin in the fall of 2016. Carol completed her Artist Diploma in Flute Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in the spring of 2016, where she also received her Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Dr. Bradley Garner. Prior to attending CCM, Carol received her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied with Jill Felber and graduated with distinction in the major. Carol maintains an active private flute studio, and in addition to being a flutist, is also an avid yogi, a hiker, and an excellent cook.