Adam Hilkert '08, a Tiger Pep Band Director Emeritus, has been selected to become one of just 22 conductors of the U.S. Army Bands after highly competitive national auditions.
"This is a great honor and privilege for which I am very grateful to have earned the opportunity," says Hilkert on Facebook today.
The U.S. Army Bands invited Hilkert to participate in the grueling two-day audition process. Candidates perform with their primary instrument two works in contrasting styles, followed by music theory examinations. Then they conduct nine works for concert band and the Soldier's Chorus. Finally, they are interviewed by a panel of senior officers and noncommissioned officers.
Hilkert's credentials are extensive. He is a doctoral conducting associate studying with Anthony Maiello and Mark Camphouse at George Mason University. He is the Mason Symphonic Band's associate conductor and works with several other campus ensembles. He is director of the Vienna Community Band in Virginia.
"This is a bittersweet moment, as I must also leave my position as Director of Bands at Annandale High School," says Hilkert. "I am so fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience there; and though there were many tears today from the students, I am very grateful toward them, their families, and my colleagues who are supporting me and my decision. I love them very much, and I know they will continue to thrive."
Students and parents who have enjoyed Hilkert's fun-yet-demanding approach to music education were profusely supportive of him.
"It's been an honor and my pleasure to work with you for the past two years," Bill Hassinger, assistant director of bands at Annandale, wrote on Facebook. "You've lead the Atoms to heights never seen in their history. Be proud of your accomplishments, as I am more proud of you than you know. Strive to make your next endeavor even better, and with more success than you've had thus far!"
Hilkert first developed his skills as a music educator while studying at DePauw University, where he played clarinet and double bass in the DePauw University Band and directed the Tiger Pep Band.
There, he led the Tiger Pep Band as the official band of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament. The logistical challenge of performing at 14 basketball games in three days will surely support his administrative duties in the U.S. Army.
After earning his Bachelor of Musical Arts at DePauw, Hilkert completed a Master of Arts in Wind Conducting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He continues to serve DePauw students as adviser for musical leadership for the Tiger Bands.
Hilkert's performances are heard on over 15 albums on leading labels, including Klavier, GIA, Mark Masters, and Mark Custom. His musical flexibility is showcased as he performs in classical, jazz, and rock styles.
Fans wanting to hear one more performance led by Hilkert have one more opportunity before he begins his Army service. He will conduct the VIenna Community Band on Independence Day, July 4, at 11 a.m. The concert will be at the Vienna Community Center.
On Oct. 31, Hilkert will be sworn in as a U.S. Army Commissioned Officer Candiate. He will then report to Fort Benning in Georgia for several weeks basic training on November 11.
"I am very excited to dedicate my career to such a fantastic organization and to serve my country as an Army Band officer," Hilkert says.