Whenever the APU Ensemble takes the stage, Assistant Professor of Music Eric Redding says he’s reminded again why teaching at Alaska Pacific University is where he wants to be.
“To watch this group of amateur and beginning musicians grow together, form a real band and put on a concert or two really makes me realize that what I do here is perfect for me.”
A musician who performs regularly at Anchorage venues, Redding directs the Ensemble, a student group that typically attracts new members from year to year. For Redding, the challenge is to convert a love of music into an ability to make music that audiences enjoy hearing.
And enjoy they do.
An Ensemble performance in spring 2012 featured APU students who a few months earlier had joined Redding and other APU faculty on a travel course to Cuba. Inspired by Cuban street musicians and their study of the country’s music and culture, Ensemble students delivered a night of music with a Latin theme.
Audience members in the Earl R. Brown Auditorium in Grant Hall were up on their feet, dancing to the music and clapping along.
“My hope for my students is that they have music in their lives in one way or another,” Redding said. “Turning students on to the joys of music continues to reaffirm my decision to be a music teacher.”
After his mother started him on piano lessons in second grade, Redding went on to play and study music ever since, challenging himself to learn new instruments just as his Ensemble students do.
Redding joined the APU faculty in 1997. He says he remains passionate about helping students learn about various music careers beyond teaching and performing.
“Essentially, I was taught that there were only a few options,” he recalls.
“I’m helping students succeed by giving them the tools they need to function in a world of music, as well as showing them the different opportunities that are possible.”
• M.M. Central Washington University
• B.S. Music Education, University of Mary