Dream a Little Dream

Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

by Jared Fritz-McCarty (MM Vocal Performance, ’11)

Earlier this fall, Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06) released his newest album, Dream a Little Dream, at the historic Birdland Theatre in New York City. The Chicago College of Performing Arts alum is no stranger to New York’s performance scene, but his passion for trumpet, jazz and composition trace back to America’s heartland — his hometown, Milwaukee, and Chicago.

As an ambitious 10-year-old, Haas brought his trumpet home from school for the first time, convinced he knew how to play the Pink Panther theme — his parents kindly listened and applauded him for his valiant effort. Fast-forward to his freshman year of high school, when Haas saw Maynard Ferguson perform live, a memory he describes as “the moment I fell in love with trumpet and jazz.” That experience motivated Haas to become a professional musician.

Haas’s high school band instructor, Jim Van Deusen, encouraged him to audition for and attend the Chicago College of Performing Arts, as Van Deusen was friends with former CCPA trumpet professor Rob Parton. “Rob remains one of the greatest influences on my career. He helped my playing immensely, but also guided me in how to present myself as a real-world musician,” Haas said. “I am happy to say we remain good friends.”

Haas credits his professors and Roosevelt University’s location in downtown Chicago for expanding his education far beyond the classroom and into some of Chicago’s most well-known venues.

“My instructors all played as top professionals in the city, and they extended to me opportunities I know I would not have had otherwise,” he said. Chicago remains one of his favorite cities for its vast amount of live music, but also for the memories of his time at Roosevelt. One in particular comes to mind and brings a smile to his face — his senior recital, which featured a big band.

Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

“My instructors all played as top professionals in the city, and they extended to me opportunities I know I would not have had otherwise.”

— Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

If an individual’s success is measured by their ability to make a living doing what they love, then Augie Haas is beyond successful.

Haas has been described as “one of the most in-demand trumpet players in New York.” He is the cofounder of the record label Playtime Music, author and publisher of two books, and has performed with some of the world’s best: Harry Connick Jr., The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and The Radio City Orchestra.

When asked about his most memorable experience to date, he responded, “I’ve been fortunate to have many great opportunities, and it’s hard to pick just one. A highlight was playing the national anthem for more than 80,000 people at a Green Bay Packers game. It taught me to channel my nerves and use them to my advantage.”

Haas is also a regular instrumentalist on Broadway. In fact, this week, while he plays from the pit of the New Amsterdam Theatre for Broadway’s Aladdin, two other CCPA alumni grace the stage above: Courtney Reed (BFA, ’06) in the role of Jasmine, which she originated, and Major Attaway as Genie. Haas adds, “Over the years I’ve worked with friends on gigs here and there, and it is always great to reminisce about our time at CCPA.” Examples like this show just how small the performing arts world is, but also the extensive reach of the college’s alumni network.

To stay up to date on Augie Haas’s latest news and to listen to his music, visit his website augiehaas.com.

“Over the years I’ve worked with friends on gigs here and there, and it is always great to reminisce about our time at CCPA.”

— Augie Haas
(BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

Augie Haas (BM Jazz Studies, ’06)

Augie’s Advice to Aspiring Performers

“Practice! I know it seems simple, but you will never have the time to practice like you do when you are in school. Also, start your own projects and take a couple of business classes. There is more to the industry than just playing, and the more versatile you can be, the better.”

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