Washburn's 48 members of the orchestra welcome their new director. Professor Silas Huff now teaches at Washburn University. Born in San Antonio, Texas, this is Huff's first time in Kansas. His father was in the Air Force, which gave him the opportunity to travel all over the country. During his 18 years of teaching, he taught middle school and high school for nine years, taught private lessons for five and is now on his fourth year as a college professor. Huff started playing classical guitar at 12, as well as many other versions of the guitar. He also plays the violin and the cello.
Huff expressed that the act of playing an instrument can be a performance for other people, or a reflective and meditative exercise for oneself.
“The best thing about playing an instrument is that it's something that you get to do all by yourself. And you get to spend as much time with the instrument as you want, and you get to express yourself that way. And then you get to share that with other people. But you don't have to share with other people. You can either be really personal and it can be for you. Or, if you care to, you can go out and play on the street, or you can play on a stage, or you can play for large audiences or small audiences, and you can play for your family. But I like music because music is really personal to each person,” said Huff.
It takes endurance and dedication to become proficient on any instrument, within a group setting or as a soloist. Passion for a particular instrument will cause you to always go to it, spend time with it and love it.
“In any field, including music, you have to have a drive and a passion for what you do. And then you have to have discipline and hard work," said Huff.
Emily Winterberg, senior viola player in the orchestra, has had Huff as an instructor and thinks highly of his teaching.
“He definitely brings a lot to the table in the sense that what he is giving us extremely challenging, which is amazing for orchestra, but it's stuff that he knows we can handle. He is very into the musical aspects and technical aspects,” said Winterberg.
The students are excited about their new leader and the plans he has made for the future. The orchestra will be performing a symphony on Nov. 2 at White Concert Hall.
Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Jessica Galvin, Jackson Woods