WMU News

WMU junior headed to Finland for trombone competition

June 16, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Chris Vanhof, a Western Michigan University trombone performance major, has been selected as one of two finalists worldwide for the Larry Wiehe Trombone Solo Competition for students ages 18 to 22, sponsored by the International Trombone Association.

The WMU junior from Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., will compete against the other finalist, from Greece, at the annual International Trombone Festival in Helsinki, Finland, in August. The winner will receive a cash prize and will be invited to perform in a festival concert featuring the winners from the other four student categories.

"This is a real honor for Chris," says Dr. Steve Wolfinbarger, professor of trombone in the WMU School of Music. "The competitions sponsored by the International Trombone Association are the most important and prestigious for student-trombonists."

This is the second consecutive year that a WMU student has been selected as a finalist in the ITA-sponsored competitions. In 2002, Tim Davis, then a senior from Battle Creek, Mich., was picked as a finalist in the 22 to 25 age group.

According to Wolfinbarger, the back-to-back selection of WMU students places the School of Music in very exclusive company. "Only the Juilliard School, University of North Texas and Liszt Academy in Hungary were so fortunate as we to have finalists selected each of the past two years," he says.

The son of Bill and Criss De Vries of Grosse Pointe Park, Vanhof is a 2001 graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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