Welcome back to the Fort Collins Wind Symphony Blog, Musician of the Month!
We are excited to continue our celebration of classical music and the FCWS with an interview with one of our fine musicians, Mr. Scott Schlup! Mr. Schlup has, amazingly, provided 27 years of service and performance with the FCWS, dating back to the inception of the FCWS in 1991.
Mr. Schlup is an incredible educator for the Northern Colorado region, and in addition to his time with the FCWS he teaches at Rocky Mountain High School and is the musical director of the Loveland Concert Band. His biography can be found at https://rmh.psdschools.org/users/sschlup.
To celebrate his contribution to the organization, we interviewed Mr. Scott Schlup to find out more about him and the history of the FCWS.
FCWS: In your words, please tell us who you are and the role you play in the Fort Collins Wind Symphony.
Schlup: My name is Scott Schlup, and I’m one of the trumpet players, one of the founding members, and was president for quite a few years.
FCWS: Yes, that’s right! And for the audience who didn’t know that you were a founding member - you *are* one of the founding members! And that was back in 1991, I believe. That was in the inaugural year. What led you to create this ensemble? Why make the Fort Collins Wind Symphony?
Schlup: I was approached by Cindy Harraway and Jana Thomas about forming a group that really would honor the wind band literature. A lot of the community bands can’t approach some of the harder literature, and so from a performer stand point, at that point in my time, I thought it was intriguing and really wanted to continue my playing. And so that’s where it started for me.
FCWS: And you’ve been with it the entire time, right? There hasn’t been a time where you left a little bit?
Schlup: I missed one concert in my career.
FCWS: Wow! That is actually quite impressive, since 1991. So over those 27 years, how has the Fort Collins Wind Symphony impacted the Northern Colorado community?
Schlup: So I think the impact on it has been mostly in the education field. As a teacher it’s one of the goals that I brought to the Board, was getting students to be involved. And so when the organization started we were charging for tickets and some kids couldn’t get to concerts so we eliminated charging for tickets and wanted it to be a place where kids could come and find a hero in their musical world. We invite students to come to rehearsals and sit by players to find out what it’s like to be a professional musician, and so that’s really the impact that I’ve seen. But we’ve also played at a national concert band festival so we’ve brought some notoriety to Fort Collins and the quality that we’re able to do here as well.
FCWS: Are a lot of your students – do they come to the concerts?
Schlup: Yeah, I have a lot of my students from Rocky who come and this year we’re going to have a lot more coming into rehearsals.
FCWS: Yeah, I remember when I was with Mark Bretting at Blevins, and I came to a couple of those rehearsals and those were really cool to see. Now we’re going to step away for a tiny bit, because you don’t only participate in the Fort Collins Wind Symphony, but you also have a lot of other musical gigs, some of them being in Loveland! So why don’t I ask you about the Loveland Concert Band and your role in that organization, and how participation in the Fort Collins Wind Symphony and the Loveland Concert Band complement each other.
Schlup: Before I got to Loveland, I was in the Northern Colorado Concert Band and I was a musical director there, and what’s interesting about all the community bands is they all have a different take on what it is, and a different clientele that come. And so the Loveland Concert Band for me is just a fun outlet for adults to come and play. They want to continue the fun that they had in an ensemble and so as the musical director there I just get to conduct a lot of fun musicians doing a lot of fun music. That’s a little different in terms of what we do with the Wind Symphony which is a little more focused in terms of trying to get to the highest level that we can, and bring the highest level of music that we can. I think they complement each other a lot, I think they both have a great place in our community, and for me as an educator, I want our students to know that when they leave high school if they choose not to go into music, there is still a place for them to play. They just have to find the right group.
FCWS: That’s right, finding the right group – that’s important! Especially for students who may not choose a professional route with music. As a music educator, your influence is significant both with the Wind Symphony and the Loveland Concert Band, as well as what you do at Rocky Mountain High School. You’ve been there how many years?
Schlup: I think 12 or 13. I don’t know, they just fly by!
FCWS: And you were at Lesher beforehand?
Schlup: That’s right.
FCWS: So you’ve quite an influence over Fort Collins/Northern Colorado music education. What’s the importance of music education in student’s lives?
Schlup: So, for me, the music classes work on both sides of the brain. It forces students to perform real time problem solving and self-analysis, while also requiring the brain to be creative and interpret the creative input from their peers and their directors. I think it teaches teamwork, dedication, self-improvement, and perseverance, and all of those are the skills that every college and employer is looking for.
FCWS: So I assume you’d say that the arts still have a very vital place in all education?
Schlup: I believe that whole heartedly.
FCWS: Do you have any advice for any young musicians in the audience?
Schlup: Boy, just keep listening! That’s where you really learn it. If you think about how we learned how to speak, it was by imitating sounds that our parents made. And so, you know, to become a great trumpet player you just have to find a great trumpet sound and emulate that. It’s just all listening.
FCWS: So this next one is a bit of an abstract question, moving away from all this fun stuff. What is the value of classical music in our society? Is it still relevant?
Schlup: I believe classical music is alive and well. What has changed it there are a lot more avenues to get the classical music. The National Endowment for the Arts did a survey back in 1982 and repeated it 30 years later and they found that the number of adults going to concerts – classical concerts – only dropped 2.8%, which [after] 30 years and the whole gloom and doom of “no more audiences for classical music” doesn’t really work. You look at it and you say “Well, we dropped 2.8%” but the now the Metropolitan Opera is showing full HD productions in movie theaters around the nation. So those people are going to a performance, it’s just not the live version of the performance. Or, you know, I watch the Berlin Phil – I can watch their entire season – at home on my TV. I think classical music is alive and well, [and] I think it continues to show the history we have lived and the importance of our culture.
FCWS: Okay, last question, and back to the Fort Collins Wind Symphony and classical music in Northern Colorado. What does the future hold for classical music and the FCWS in this region?
Schlup: I can’t imagine a time when we’re not going to exist. It’s so fun to see that our audience is standing room only at our concerts, so the idea of classical music is alive and well in Fort Collins. I think we’re a big part of that, and I think that the education end that we’re currently pursuing is great and that whole direction of the board is just a wonderful representation of what we’re going to see in the future.