by ALEXANDRA RETTER
Gabe Welch started piano lessons in third grade. Now, as a senior at Cotter Schools, he plays the tuba, among other instruments, and will soon make a professional recording.
Welch will make the recording as part of his selection for the 2020 Minnesota Varsity Featured Artists and Composers round. The round is part of Minnesota Varsity, an annual showcase of artists in high school by Classical MPR. The showcase is celebrating its 10th season this year.
To audition for the artists round, students submitted an audio recording of themselves performing a piece of music.
Now, selected students will go to Saint Paul and, in MPR’s Maud Moon Weyerhauser Studio, professionally record a piece. Welch will complete his recording in February. The recordings will then be made available online, and parts will be played on Classical MPR.
Selected students will then perform in a concert at the University of Minnesota in late May.
Welch submitted “Tuba Concerto, I. Allegro deciso” by Edward Gregson as his audition for the round. “I did it last year for our solo-ensemble competition, and I just really fell in love with it because it allowed a player to express so many emotions,” Welch said.
Welch had discovered his passion for music long before the solo-ensemble competition. He was regularly exposed to music as he grew up. “My parents love to play it around the house,” Welch shared. “It always seemed to be a lot of different genres, like jazz or classical or marching band music.”
When he was in third grade, he began taking piano lessons with his aunt at St. Stanislaus Elementary School. He has continued those lessons to this day. When he reached fifth grade, he started playing the tuba.
Today, he plays the piano, tuba, bass trombone, euphonium and “a little bit of trumpet.” Welch participates in concert band, jazz band, marching band and the music listening team at Cotter.
“I tend to be more soft spoken. I don’t tend to be as loud as much,” Welch stated. “And I think that music is a really good way to express the different emotions that I’m feeling that I’m not necessarily able to convey very well with words.”
He said marching band provides opportunities to make connections with other people. He added that he appreciates how marching band members support one another.
He said taking part in these music-related groups assists him with honing his time-management skills as he works to balance practicing, completing homework and helping his family members. He explained that participating in these groups also assists him with gaining a sense of responsibility from learning his part in pieces to support his fellow band members.
One piece that he said he particularly enjoyed playing is “El Arca de Noe,” a musical composition about Noah and the flood. The piece was played during his freshman year.
Welch has applied to various colleges and has been accepted at the University of Minnesota to date. He plans to study music education and performance.
“Ideally, I’d like to get a job as an orchestral tubist someday,” Welch noted.
He added that he is especially interested in being a music educator at the collegiate level.
He said he is grateful for everyone who has influenced him musically and helped him reach his goals.