By Sue Moore
Vicksburg High School graduate Nathaniel Chiu is a finalist in the International Trombone Association Festival to be held in Osaka, Japan, July 2-5. With 30 trombone students competing to be selected as one of three finalists, Chiu outpaced them all, said his Western Michigan University trombone teacher, Steve Wolfinbarger.
The other two finalists are majoring in music at the Curtis Institute of Music and Hochschule fur Musik in Hanover, Germany. The judges were from Louisiana State University, the US Marine Band and the US Army Field Band.
Chiu plays tenor trombone and is a senior at WMU. “He worked all fall semester on his video that was submitted to the judges who do not know any of the names of the contestants,” Wolfinbarger said. “Now he will travel to Japan in July to appear in person in front of three renowned international judges in the finals. I encourage my students every year to enter this contest for college-age students who come from all over the world.”
Ben Rosier, Chiu’s high school band director, was enthusiastic about his student. “While studying privately, Nathaniel was also a part of every ensemble here at VHS including all the concert ensembles, jazz bands, pep band, and marching band. He thrived in the concert setting but also improved his theory through the learning of jazz and its unique musical concepts. He had a lead role in the spring musicals as part of the theater department. Mr. Chiu was diligent in his preparation for solo and ensemble festivals, receiving exemplary ratings at all the festivals he attended. Nathaniel many times was the humble, confident, and quiet leader who knew the moments to be outspoken and always got work done.”
The International Trombone Association sponsors the contest in the name of Larry Wiche, a famous soloist with a military band. “I expect that Chiu will go on to work on his master’s degree in music after graduation this spring. He is an exceptional trombonist and has a great future either with an orchestra or as a university teacher,” Wolfinbarger said.