Hayden Fihn: Trumpet Master

May 26, 2016

The hallway before the doors of St. Cecilia Theater is home to plaques with the names of students who have demonstrated skill and dedication to music and the arts. Many of these students have gone on to find new worlds and careers in music.

20160516_104042 (1)Now, one of these students has made his return to Winona, with a shiny new trumpet and new title: Hayden Fihn, Master of Trumpet Performance.

Fihn, Cotter class of 2010, was a student of retired band director Mr. Dave Gudmastad and WSU jazz trumpeter Dick Hammergren. Both helped grow and develop his love of music into a passion for performance.

Fihn played in the concert, symphonic, jazz, combo, marching, and field show bands during high school on top of his private lesson work.

“I had a lot of good experiences [at Cotter] before I even started music in college. Now, the competition outside of school is huge, getting gigs and playing jazz in the area,” says Fihn.

Fihn had to chose between music performance or production once he enrolled at McNally Smith. But to him, the choice was easy, “I just wanted to play”.

And Fihn has certainly been busy with his trumpet.

Besides playing gigs “four or five nights a week at times”, he has also just released a live studio album featuring covers and his own compositions.

Even though Fihn has graduated from McNally Smith and is ready to enter the real world of music performance, his ties to the school remain strong.

I like to play high and loud… I like to play lead on big band stuff”

— Hayden Fihn

“I’m still playing with the McNasty Brass Band; we are recording a new album this month” says Fihn.

The McNasty Brass Band is made up of students, professors, and friends of McNally Smith, and performed at Cotter four years ago as a part of the Spring Jazz Fest.

“I like to play high and loud… I like to play lead on big band stuff,” Fihn adds.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs with [music education], its especially weird going to school for it, you really compete against yourself to get better and put yourself out there.”

Now, Hayden Fihn has returned to Winona to start a new career as a performer and instructor. He plans to offer lessons to any interested brass instrument players, and to continue playing gigs.

Hayden Fihn graduated from Cotter High School six years ago with a trumpet and a dream. Now, he has returned with experience, dedication, and a new degree, Masters of Trumpet Performance.

Fihn hopes his story will inspire the next wave of  Cotter musicians.



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