Make music and friends in the CSU Concert Band: A letter from Alyson Lhungay

CSU Student Alyson Lhungay holding a flute

Alyson Lhungay, CSU junior Zoology major

CSU’s non-auditioned ensembles continue to grow, providing a place for students to play their instruments, or sing, while in college. Students in these ensembles come from biological sciences, business, engineering, computer sciences, English, political science, zoology, music, and more.

Alyson Lhungay is a junior zoology major in the College of Natural Sciences and plays flute in the CSU Marching Band and the Concert Band. Alyson is also a member of The Dream Team, the new Concert Band student advisory group whose purpose is to help support new band members and increase awareness about the band across campus, enhancing the overall positive experience of being in the band. We reached out to Alyson and asked her to share about her experience in the Concert Band, a non-auditioned band with more than 120 members. Enjoy this letter she wrote to all incoming students, encouraging them to continue participating in music at CSU.

Dear incoming student,

First of all, let me begin by welcoming you to Colorado State University, and to the greatest years of your life! Here in Fort Collins, you will find a wholesome and considerate community that challenges you to achieve your maximum potential while simultaneously remaining sensitive of your personal objectives. Believe me when I say I am truly excited for your future experiences and memories you will create while being a CSU Ram. 

My name is Alyson, and I am currently a Zoology major with a minor in Biomedical Science. I march flute in the CSU Marching Band, and it was through friends there that I heard about the concert band. While marching band is fantastic, I remember explicitly missing music beyond pep tunes. It was my wish to continue playing my instrument through the spring semester while also getting the chance to perform truly breathtaking pieces. Ever since I graduated from high school, I have been determined to continue in music. Together, CSU Marching Band and Concert Band have helped me remain true to my goal.

Going in to my first rehearsal, I was not quite sure what to expect. I was hesitant to anticipate the same experience I had in high school, but I also did not want to go in with a bad attitude. Primarily, I lacked confidence and was more than content to sit near the back. Upon arriving, I was greeted with the warmest, ebullient, and responsive professor I have ever met. Let me just say, there is a reason Dr. Johnson is rated one of the best music professors in the University. If you are looking for an educator who will fully support you and work with your expectations, please look no further. 

While I was in Concert Band, I got the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and be placed center stage. As mentioned previously, I was uneasy about being recognized or noticed. Throughout my entire life I have tried to blend and remain incognito. I would eagerly pass up solos and delight in the fact that I was second or third chair. Working with Dr. Johnson and the Concert Band has increased my confidence exponentially, and I got the chance to take pleasure from performing for others.

Above all else, I have always felt that music has had a therapeutic effect. It can allow for an escape from reality, evoke a full range of emotions, and has the potential to heal. Not only is it enjoyable, but it teaches the lesson of patience, commitment, pride, and discipline. What’s not to love?

Again, warmest welcome to Colorado State University

Sincerely, Alyson Lhungay