For Justin Windschitl, the choice was not an easy one.
"When I started college, I fully intended to become a professional bassoonist," said Justin. "But I was playing eight hours a day, and by the time I finished college, I was burned out from playing so much. I thought that would change once I got my first professional job as a bassoonist, but it didn't.
Justin graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. degree in English, music and American racial multicultural studies. He got his first job as a principal bassoonist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, but soon realized he was still burned out. Justin started to think about other career options, and law school became a viable option.
With a Juris Doctor from the University of St. Thomas, Justin has now worked as an attorney for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis for three years. However, the bassoon remains an important part of Justin's life.
"Work takes precedence now, but between practicing and ensembles I still put in about 15 hours a week playing music," said Justin. "I definitely enjoy playing more now that it's not my primary profession. I had to come to terms with the fact that my skills may diminish because I'm not playing as a much, but overall the change has been really good for me."
In addition to serving as a freelance performer with orchestral ensembles in the Twin Cities and surrounding regions, Justin is an active chamber musician who performs with the Pavia Winds, Park Avenue Wind Quintet, Midway Bassoon Quartet, and in collaboration with musicians from the Minnesota and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras.
Even when travelling for his job as an attorney, Justin still makes time to play and practice. "I travel for work pretty frequently and my bassoon is always on my back," said Justin. "Hotels are usually very accommodating and give me access to conference rooms so I can practice."
Most of all, Justin enjoys the people he has met playing music for so many years in so many different places. "By far, the thing I enjoy most about being a musician is the people that I meet. Some of my best friends are musicians I've met through playing. I've gone to a lot of neat places and done a lot of interesting things through music."
When not travelling, Justin calls the Camden community his home. When he first moved to Camden, it was because he had friends here. But his relationship with the neighborhood has deepened over time. "The longer I live here, the more I notice that the Camden neighborhood really seems like a small town. People know you and help each other out, and that's reason I'll live here for a long time."
Justin Windschitl will be performing with Pavia Winds at Camden Music School's Second Saturdays concert on May 9 at 4 p.m. at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church at 3751 Sheridan Avenue N. For details go to www.camdenmusicschool.com.