Seventeen-year-old Andrew Rink has always practiced hard since he first picked up the tuba in sixth grade.
After years of perfecting his craft, the Emerald Ridge High School senior’s hard work has paid off. Rink was recently awarded the 2015 Lovezzola Music Award and will perform the Gregson Tuba Concerto with the Puyallup Valley Community Band on Friday (May 15).
Rink’s private teacher, Jason Gilliam, says his student is a very talented musician who happens to play the tuba.
“He’s an artist, but the tuba is his medium,” Gilliam said.
Once Rink heard that he was awarded this year’s Lovezzola Award, he took time to reflect on the achievement.
“It’s nice to know all of my effort paid off,” Rink said. “It was really exciting to know that I had another chance to be able to share my music with everybody else.”
Last year, Rink auditioned for the award for the first time, but unfortunately, he wasn’t selected.
“I knew everybody who was auditioning, and the person that won was very, very good,” he said. “She played alto-saxophone; she was a great player so she deserved to win.”
This year, however, Rink picked his solo out in December, so he had two months to practice on the Gregson Tuba Concerto. By the time the February audition came around, he had the solo nearly perfect.
“I had a few good months of practice on the piece,” Rink said. “I auditioned for several other competitions as well... so I had already done auditions on that same piece, so just having previous playing experience helped me get over my nerves and be able to focus more on expressing the music.”
On a normal school week, Rink says that he usually arrives to school at least an hour early every day to get his practice in for the day. On the weekends, Rink continues that same pattern, and practices for an hour every day.
For most musicians like Rink, practice makes perfect, but he also encourages other musicians who are in the beginning stages to not give up.
“The first year or two is always the hardest,” he said. “It takes a while for you to get used to playing it. What a lot of kids experience in that first year is the frustration that it is really hard and they’re not making a whole lot of progress. If you push past that first year, it gets a lot more fun.”
Rink plans on studying computer science and music at Washington State University in the fall.
“He just has that talent that you do not run into often,” Gilliam said.
Catch Rink in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at First Christian Church of Puyallup, 623 9th Avenue S.E.
Admission is free.