by Cori Hilsgen
Caitlin Skahen is proudly practicing her trumpet-playing skills. She was recently selected to join the Minnesota Band Directors Association sixth-eighth grade honor band for the 2014-15 school year.
Skahen is the daughter of Sean and Jennifer Skahen of St. Joseph and is in the eighth grade at St. John’s Prep school. She has four siblings. Tom is a senior and Brenna is a sophomore at SJP; Jack is in sixth grade and Brady is in first grade at All Saints Academy in St. Joseph. Caitlin Skahen also attended ASA.
SJP Band and Orchestra Director Jeff Engholm said in a press release that Skahen is one of 78 students selected for a position in this group.
“Mr. Engholm is a really good teacher and he’s the one who got me to audition,” Skahen said. “Without his support, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through. He really helped me with some of the hard pieces. In class he knows he has to get things done, but he also makes it really fun. He chooses fun pieces for both orchestra and band.”
Skahen will play trumpet for the band. She will work with many talented music educators and will rehearse with others chosen for the honor band. They will perform at a 2 p.m. concert Sunday, April 26 in the Alexandria Area High School auditorium.
“Being one of the 78 chosen for the honor band is special,” Skahen said. “It will be a big learning experience for me. I think it will make me a better trumpet player and a better all-around musician. It will be fun to meet kids who take music as seriously as I do. I’m also looking forward to being able to work with the conductors and teachers from all over Minnesota.”
Skahen also plays several other instruments, including the cello, guitar and ukulele. She began taking guitar lessons in second grade, trumpet lessons in fifth grade and is now in the SJP orchestra and middle school band.
“In my family, no one else plays the trumpet, but everyone plays some sort of instrument, except Brady, but he’s already experimenting with some of our instruments,” Skahen said. “My older siblings have influenced me. They are definitely a big reason why I started to play instruments. It’s great to be able to play in the Prep jazz band with my oldest brother.”
SJP Director of Communications and Events Jill Pauly said Skahen comes from a talented family.
“It’s great to see her make her own way,” Pauly said.
Skahen also enjoys playing soccer and performing music with friends, often singing when she plays the guitar. One of her favorite classes at SJP is German.
She is also participating in the musical, Oliver. She will play the role of Charlotte. The musical will be performed Friday-Sunday, March 20-22 at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud.
The MBDA is a professional organization of band directors who represent band programs for all grade levels throughout the state. Its mission is to assist in development of band directors and band programs in schools, colleges and areas in the state.
The organization works toward advancement of band standards by providing forums for exchanging ideas and methods. Members strive to encourage friendliness, cooperation and communication between band directors in the state’s elementary, secondary, college, university and community bands.