Trombone Super Bowl – Waukee Grad Shines on International Stage

Alex Ertl wasn’t always going to be a trombone player.

“Originally I was going to pick alto sax, because that’s what my mom played,” said Ertl.

But the 2018 Waukee High School grad changed his mind, thanks to an experience in elementary school.

“When I was first given the opportunity to choose, I was watching my former band teacher Ms. Meyer at Eason Elementary and I was watching her play all of these instruments, the moment she pulled out the trombone I was hooked,” says Ertl.

Alex isn’t your ordinary trombone player. The four-time all-stater has continued to improve. Most recently entering the International Trombone Association’s  Robert Marsteller Tenor Trombone Competition. Also known as the best of the best.

“I was checking my phone all day. I was refreshing. I saw that my competition had been posted, so I scrolled down little by little, my name popped up and I was like, oh my goodness,” says Ertl.

Alex’s name was paired with two other finalists in the 22 and under division. One from South Korea and one from Norway.

“It’s kind of surreal to think I placed top three amongst how many applicants. It’s mind blowing to see that I get such a national level of recognition.”

Coming up this summer Alex will be performing at the International Trombone Festival against the other two finalists, another incredible opportunity to showcase his skills.  But remember, just a couple of years ago, Alex was performing in front of friends and family at Eason Elementary.

“I worked really hard at Eason, just playing 10 minutes every day and I got some really good feedback and encouragement from my teachers.”

Same thing a few years later at Waukee High School, giving Alex experiences that stick with him today.

“Placing first in the Iowa Jazz Championships with Waukee Jazz was probably a highlight of my entire life so far. Mr. Strohmaier had such a big impact on me,” says Ertl. “Waukee Band has shaped me into who I am, both as a person and as a musician.”

For more on the International Trombone Festival, click here.

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