Military Corner: An Interview with Ann Hinote
Steven Maxwell, Associate Editor
Chief Master Sergeant Ann Hinote is principal euphoniumist for the United States Air Force Concert Band, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D. C. She also serves as the manager of The USAF Band’s Technical Support and Music Production sections. Originally from Canton, Ohio, her career in the Air Force began in 1988.
A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Akron, Chief Hinote earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1987. She received a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where she earned the prestigious Earle V. Moore Award. Chief Hinote was awarded third prize at the International Brass Congress Solo Euphonium Competition and was the winner of the International Solo Euphonium Competition at the University of Texas at Austin. Her former teachers include Tucker Jolly, Brian Bowman, Abe Torchinsky, H. Dennis Smith , James Desano, and Edward Zadrozny.
She has been a featured soloist and clinician at the University of Wisconsin Indianhead Arts Center Summer Concert Band Clinic in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. Additionally, she has performed as a featured soloist at the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Chief Hinote was also a featured soloist with the United States Army Orchestra at their 13th annual tuba-euphonium conference and also at the first International Women’s Brass Conference held at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Previous positions she has held with the unit include superintendent and NCOIC, USAF Bands State Funeral Plan Support. As NCOIC, USAF Bands State Funeral Plan Support, she was responsible for the coordination and mission readiness of Air Force Bands tasked to support former President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral. Chief Hinote was the 2005 recipient of the U.S. Armed Forces Spirit of Hope Award for the Air Force. This award is presented annually to an outstanding and distinguished person or organization whose service to troops reflects the dedication and commitment of the late Bob Hope. Chief Hinote was also awarded the AFDW Lance P. Sijian Award. She is an active volunteer at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Chief Hinote’s military awards and decorations include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Recognition Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon.
Chief Hinote is married to Chief Master Sergeant Dudley Hinote. They reside in Springfield, Virginia.
SM: How did you begin your musical training? Did you have a musical family? What age did you begin playing euphonium?
AH: My parents strongly felt that you should learn piano before another instrument so I started on piano in third grade. My dad played trumpet in an army field band stationed in Germany. He had a Bachelors degree in music education. My mother played violin through high school and my grandmother helped to start the Canton Symphony. She played violin and organ. I remember hearing her play piano and organ. I started on trumpet in fifth grade. I started out strong but the practicing fell off in junior high school. When I was going into high school they asked if I would switch to euphonium. I had no intention of going into music (they said this wasn’t an instrument to take up if I had that aspiration) so I switched.
Steven Maxwell: Did you hear much live music at a young age?
Ann Hinote: Not a lot of live music. My brother played a lot of piano and took jazz piano lessons so he was always practicing.
SM: What were some of your most inspirational teachers throughout your studies? What specifically did you learn from these teachers that helped you in the military bands?
AH: I received my Bachelors degree from The University of Akron and my Masters degree from The University of Michigan. The person I studied the longest with was Tucker Jolly at the University of Akron. I studied 3 years in high school and stayed at Akron because of him.
Abe Torchinsky at the University of Michigan was a huge influence on my career and the reason I got a fellowship at the school. He was really concerned about how all his students would make a living. He really cared and would do anything for you. It was neat to hear the stories about Toscanini and the Philly orchestra in the old days. Once I got the Air Force band job he personally went around to the music school deans and pushed so I could complete my masters degree in a year. I am so grateful I had the honor of knowing him and being around such an incredible person.
The single most influential teacher on my professional career was H. Robert Reynolds. When I came to Michigan I was a strong soloist/recitalist but my ensemble skills were lacking. Robert Reynolds taught me how to play in an ensemble and how to really listen. It was not so much what he said as much as how he showed you what he wanted by his conducting. When I won my current position there were a lot of fine players and as we all know auditions are lottery tickets. I think in the final round what won the job for me was my ability to match Brian Bowman. I have been complemented a lot on my ability to blend with who I am playing with and that is all due to H. Robert Reynolds. He is the reason I won the gig.
SM: What drew you to the military?
AH: Once I showed promise on the euphonium and started to get serious about practicing, my parents and teachers made me realize early on that if I wanted to play euphonium professionally that I would need to win a position in a military band and the D. C. bands were the best.
SM: When did you begin to take auditions?
AH: I took a Coast Guard band audition my sophomore year in college. I didn’t think I had a chance and only brought one set of clothes thinking I would be home the next day. By the time it was all over I placed second to Danny Vinson. I also auditioned for the AF Band but I was really young and my sight-reading was weak.
SM: What has changed over the years while you have been a part of the military bands?
AH: I think each band is different. The longer you stay in, the more your perspective changes and in a lot of ways you grow up. I have sat in on auditions for a variety of instruments and sometimes it seems like people have not really prepared well. Sometimes it sounds as though they played through the required music just a few times and that was it.
SM: What advice do you have for students interested in auditioning for a military band?
AH: Remember this is not college anymore, it’s a professional job and you aren’t owed anything. Talk to folks in the bands and really understand what is expected. Just like any professional performing ensemble, you will play concerts that are not musically fulfilling but still serve a purpose and provide a memorable experience for an audience. You can make a career in a military band a great experience or a bad one and in almost all cases it’s your decision.
As far as the actual audition, practice the excerpts so they are flawless—technically and musically. Practice your sight-reading, try to get your hands on every piece of band music you can. Also, take your time in the audition. You most likely spent money to get to the audition so those 5 or 10 minutes are yours, and don’t let a committee rush you.
SM: What is the most rewarding part of performing with the United States Air Force Band? As well, what is least rewarding (or most difficult)?
AH: The most rewarding part for me really is the end of concerts when we ask the veterans to stand up, and you watch as these older gentlemen stand up and salute, and you can see the pride they have for their service. It’s heartbreaking to see some of them struggle to stand, but they are determined. I only get to play in the band because of their service.
SM: What is you typical touring schedule like from year to year?
AH: We have two major tours a year lasting about three weeks each. We perform at music conventions throughout the year also.
SM: What kinds of things have you found yourself doing differently, stylistically, playing with the ensemble?
AH: I am very conscious about pacing myself depending on what the repertoire is and how much solo work I have to do because concerts can be over two hours. It’s very easy to get caught up in playing really loud.
SM: What has been your most enjoyable piece of music to play with the group?
AH: Original composition by our arranging staff: SMSgt Bob Thurston, MSgts John Bliss and Alan Baylock, and TSgt Tadd Russo.
SM: What has been the least enjoyable piece of music you have played with the ensemble?
AH: I don’t really have a least enjoyable.
SM: What other type of playing do you enjoy outside of the military bands?
AH: Our schedule is pretty busy so I don’t play a lot outside of the band. I performed at the 2010 ITEC. I premiered a piece in 2007 at the Army Band conference that Neal Corwell wrote.
SM: What instrument do you use to perform?
SM: Do you have any “most memorable moments” while you have been with the United States Air Force Band? This could be anything from great performances (or places performed) to social interaction, etc.
AH: I performed at the arrival ceremony for the return of the remains of members of the U. S. military and U. S. civilians who had been killed in the attack on the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. To hear all the names of the people that died and know that they were far away from their families and home was extraordinarily moving, especially when they read the names of the enlisted people that were serving.