2024 inductees announced for AHS Music Hall of Fame

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2024

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The AHS Music Hall of Fame has announced this year’s addition to the Austin High School Hall of Fame. 

This year’s inductees include Tony Alonso, Jacob Dalager and Brandon Lawhead. They will be honored during a dinner at the MacPhail Center for Music in Austin at 5 p.m. on May 9 as well as the Austin High School Spring Orchestra Concert at Knowlton Auditorium that same night.

The dinner is open to the public and the cost is $25 per person. Those interested in attending should contact Sue Radloff at 1-507-437-4940. Deadline to reserve is May 1.

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Antonio Alonso

Alonso is a 1998 graduate of AHS, and was very active in music during his high school years. He sang in choir under Brian Johnson, and played cello in orchestra under Phil Burkhart. 

He went on to get a Bachelor of Music in Choral Conducting from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in theology from Loyola Marymount University., and a PhD in Religion from Emory University. 

Alonso is a composer of sacred music and a scholar whose work responds to the diverse realities of contemporary culture. A Cuban-American Roman Catholic, his music appears in compilations and hymnals across Christian denominations throughout the world. His “Mass of Joy and Peace” is one of the most widely sung Mass settings in the English speaking world. 

In 2015, he composed the responsorial psalm for the first Mass that Pope Francis celebrated in the United States In 2020, and was nominated for a Latin Grammy for his album “Caminemos con Jesus.” 

He has authored articles in several journals, one being Modern Theology, Worship, and Liturgy.  His book, “Commodified Communion: Eucharist, Consumer Culture, and the Practice of Everyday Life,” was awarded the Hispanic Theological Initiative Book Prize in 2021. 

Alonso is currently Aquinas Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he also serves as the inaugural Director of Catholic Studies.

Jacob Dalager

Dalager graduated from AHS in 2005. He was a very active student of the band and orchestra, and in his senior year soloed with the Austin High School Orchestra. 

He earned his Bachelor of Music in both Trumpet Performance and Theory/Composition from St. Olaf College, and a Master of Music from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He also holds a DMA degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. 

Since 2021, he has been active in both teaching and performing at New Mexico State University and has a private studio as well as coaching brass ensembles, teaching studio classes, and organizing festivals for brass. 

He is very active in jazz, both as performer and mentor and has served as clinician in several master classes throughout the country. He has taught at Frederick Community College in Maryland, International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as at schools in Singapore and Malaysia. 

Dalager has performed with many orchestras, including the Las Cruces Symphony in New Mexico, El Paso Symphony in Texas, Rochester Philharmonic in New York, and ensembles in Singapore, Austria, Malaysia, and Taiwan. 

He has commissioned several compositions, including “Amorada” for trio, “Organ Mountain Fantasia” for trumpet and wind ensemble, “3jutures for trumpet and orchestra” for the Austin Symphony, and many more. 

Dalager currently lives in Las Cruces with his wife and two children.

Brandon Lawhead

Lawhead graduated from Austin High School in 1989 and was concertmaster of the orchestra for three years under Phil Burkhart. He was also selected as a finalist in the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young People’s Concert competition.

Lawhead graduated from St. Olaf College, where he appeared as a soloist with the orchestra, performing in many concert halls throughout the United States and has played professionally with the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as with Marvin Hamlisch, Johnny Mathis, the Moody Blues, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Richard Marx and others. 

He has also been a champion of music education in Austin. He brought a Zoom engagement between orchestra students and Everett Bradley, composer on Broadway and who has played with Bon Jovi and Springsteen, during the COVID pandemic. 

Lawhead was one of several people who were instrumental in bringing the MacPhail Center for Music to Austin and initiated and produced the Blair Lawhead Summer Music Concert in honor of his deceased brother, who was a celebrated Broadway violinist. This event occurs each summer during the Austin Arts Festival, and has featured many outstanding musicians, such as pianist Jon Kimura Parker, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, Richard Roberts, concertmaster of Montreal Symphony and Austin native, Roger and Michele Frisch of the Minnesota Orchestra and Opera, Former drummer for Prince Bobby Z and more. These concerts are free to the public, and offer an educational opportunity for all. Money raised from these concerts have gone towards funding the AHS Music Department. 

Lawhead has a law practice in Austin, and continues to play with the Austin Symphony Orchestra as assistant concertmaster. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their three children.

The Music Hall of Fame was started in 2009 by Ken Jensen to honor persons who have excelled in the field of music who are graduates of Austin High School. They must have achieved success in performance, education, or in the music industry.