Diverse talents and interests make Antonio Herbert stand out as an excellent musician with mastery in flute, piano, guitar and saxophone, yet surprisingly he is not a music major.
His music is important to him because it enriches his life and the lives of those in his community, and this is why he continues to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician despite the obstacles in the industry.
“The music business is pretty rocky, so you have to plan ahead and make back-up plans,” Antonio said. “My dream, however, would be to play flute as a professional orchestral musician. The process is very intensive, and there are many rounds of elimination.”
Besides a professional career as a musician, Antonio can also see a future as a flute instructor and participant in church music performances.
In fact, this past summer, in fact, he got a start in this competitive field working for the German flute company, Bernhard Hammig Flutes, with the North America branch.
This opportunity came when he received a scholarship to participate in a master’s class at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. While he was there, he made a connection with the company and has since been offered to pursue a career with the company after graduation.
Director of Fine Arts Programs Al Behrends has had Antonio as a student employee for the last four years, and he has been thrilled with his
success as well as his opportunities last summer.
“Opportunities like that don’t happen unless he had the abilities and talents to make it work,” Behrends said.
Within the department, Antonio began as an usher his first year and since then has become a manager, which means he is in charge of running fine arts events. As a manager he is responsible for every aspect of making arrangements in theatre, dance and music for faculty, student and guest performers.
Behrends has been impressed by Antonio’s hard work in the department and talent for music.
“It’s difficult to sum that up in just a few words. To say he is talented is understating. He has so many talents and interests in so many areas,” Behrends said.
In developing these managerial skills, Antonio has also taken on the developing role of Agent Chair for the Musical B.A.R. where he is a resource to other musicians who are looking to get gigs for their bands. His friend, Sophomore Cameron Jarvis, is also a member of the B.A.R., and he feels he has grown musically through his interaction with Antonio.
“I see his success, and it inspires me to work hard. He is involved in all sorts of musical groups on campus and is sort of the public face of music at Gustavus,” Jarvis said.
Not only has Antonio made an impression at Gustavus, but even in South Africa last January with the Symphony Orchestra, Jarvis recalls the passion for music he brought to a local Capetown bar.
“Antonio brought along his flute. He felt perfectly comfortable pulling it out and serenading the whole bar with jazz flute. I enjoyed the fact that he had the courage to connect with a group of complete strangers through music, the universal language. It is that kind of confidence that I strive for,” Jarvis said.
Playing music has made Antonio more mindful of community and the importance of creating connections.
“I like to see how it brings people in the community together around me. It makes people happy,” Antonio said.
His philosophy major has played an important role in forming his thoughts around community as well as the social aspect of networking, both essential relationship-building tools that are the keys to success as a musician.
“Philosophy is about asking questions about how we think and how we interact as a community,” he said. “Pragmatic philosophy not only asks practical questions, but figures out how they apply to our lives.”
With Antonio’s many diverse interests that have involved him in the Gustavus community—from playing flute at the President’s Ball to serving as Co-president of the Gustavus Philosopher’s Guild—he has worked to share his talents and passions with the campus and has thrived in the vibrant and supportive community he has helped to create.