March 07, 2018

Eastern Michigan University student wins national music competition

National audition leads to Kayla Cieslak being chosen to participate in the United States Air Force National Collegiate Symposium
EMU freshman Kayla Cieslak was selected through national audition to participate in the U.S. Air Force Concert Band's Collegiate Symposium, held Feb. 1-3, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

YPSILANTI - An Eastern Michigan University student was one of 20 musicians selected to take part in the United States Air Force National Collegiate Symposium.

Under the direction of Julie Stone, a professor of flute in the School of Music and Dance, Kayla Cieslak, a freshman majoring in music performance, participated in the symposium following national auditions that led to her being one of two flutists chosen.

The fourth annual USAF National Collegiate Symposium is hosted by the United States Air Force Band for collegiate musicians who work with wind, percussion, double bass and harp instruments.

“To enter the competition, you needed to submit audio recordings of required excerpts from the USAF Band and submit a resume that included information such as performance experience, honors and awards you have received, Cieslak said. “The competition is nationwide and anyone can apply, from freshman undergraduate students to senior master students.”

The event took place in Washington D.C. Feb. 1-3 at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in the USAF band’s historic Hangar Two.

During the three-day symposium, students participated in workshops focused on furthering their musical educations and careers. They also were able to get advice from members of the USAF band and information on pursuing careers in the music field.

“There was a Q&A session, where members of the Air Force Band answered our questions about what it is like being in a military band and how the audition process works,” Cieslak said. “It was such an amazing experience to get feedback from the members of the Air Force Band.”

On the third day of the symposium, students and the Air Force Band held a concert showcasing the pieces they’d learned and rehearsed in master classes.

“We had a full concert of energetic pieces such as ‘Molly on the Shore’ and ‘Armenian Dances,” Cieslak said.  “I took away a feeling of reassurance that I picked the right career. The feeling of being on a stage, with many other dedicated musicians, was so inspiring. It truly reminded me why I am going into music performance, which is to share my passion of music with others and make my audiences happy by listening to the music I play.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

Contact Geoff Larcom,, 734.487.4401

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