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Durham, NC -
Name: Jeff Au
Position: Director, Duke Athletics' bands
Years at Duke: 7
What I do at Duke: I do everything that has to do with athletic bands at Duke. I write pretty much all the music, drill and direct the marching band and direct the pep band. I handle budgets and recruiting, too. I review applications of students that are coming here and find anything relating to band and then send packets out to those students to get interest.
If I had $5 million, I would: Pay off my student loans and also insure that all Duke band students received some kind of scholarship. I'd want to design and build my own house, send my nephew to college, and then I'd probably be out of money.
My first ever job: Bailing hay and shoveling manure on a family farm near Lancaster, Ohio. I made $2 an hour the first day, but I did such a good job I was bumped up to $2.50. I worked off and on through high school and college. I started when I was 15.
My dream job: I'm definitely doing my dream job. I have a lot of autonomy here to do what I want with the bands. Working with these students is the best experience I've had in my career. I couldn't ask for anything more. Duke students and Duke band students are the most fun, incredible smart and good people.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: My philosophy on anything because I'll happily give it. Band, music, politics . I'd be happy to share about anything.
The best advice I ever received was: When I was a graduate assistant at Ohio University, my boss told me, "if you always act in the best interest of the band, I'll always support you." I took that to heart, and I carry that with my own students. That's how I try to make all my decisions - whatever is best for the band is the decision I'll make. My wife is very kind in understanding that.
What I love about Duke: The people here are exceptional and the students are my favorite people in the world.
When I'm not at work, I like to: Be outdoors. I like to travel to places and find new things like caverns or trails to explore. I have a motorcycle, which I like to work on. I do a lot of yard work and really anything to get me outside.
If I could have one superpower, it would be: I would love to be able to fly. Not for the practicality, but for the fun. I think it's the thrill-seeker gene in me.
Something most people don't know about me is: When I was young I was in 4-H club and I took goats to local fairs to show them. I won the junior showmanship trophy at the Fairfield County Fair. You're graded on how well you show the animal and overall knowledge.
A memorable moment at Duke for me: Being at the 2010 NCAA men's basketball national championship game with the band. I had a bunch of seniors that year which made it even more special.
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