HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The University of Alabama’s (UA) “Where Legends Are Made” campaign has become somewhat iconic since its launch in 2016. Each year the university has updated its main commercial that airs prominently during college football season.
This year, people in the Huntsville area might recognize a familiar face.
Isaiah Vasquez is a Junior at UA and is majoring in music education. He’s also an Honors College student in the Create Path to MBA program.
He plays the trombone in the University’s Million Dollar Band, among other musical pursuits.
Vasquez is one of a select few students who are featured in this year’s Legends campaign.
News 19 reached out to Vasquez to learn how he was selected.
“It was really more luck than anything,” he said. “I’m in the Create Path to MBA program here at the University and one of the professors that is part of the program was asked to select a student in that program that was a musician, and specifically a jazz musician.”
“They reached out to me and said ‘hey would you be willing to shoot a couple of scenes, maybe do an interview for the University?’ and I said of course,” he told News 19.
News 19 asked him how it feels to be selected to represent his program and the university, on a national stage.
“I just got lucky that they decided to feature a student in that program, but of course I feel very honored to represent the University, and it’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Of course, I’m excited to represent Huntsville as well, it’s a great place to live and I’m fortunate to have grown up there.”
The UA junior spent most of his life in Huntsville, and attended Sparkman High School.
“It’s just a good feeling to have that ‘Huntsville, Alabama’ right next to your name when you are on that screen,” he added.
This year’s commercial launched last week, and many saw it for the first time during the University of Alabama season opener football game.
Vasquez joked, “you know I’m not ‘famous’ or anything, but it’s cool to have your friends and family recognize you on the television screen.”
Vasquez said like many other members of the Million Dollar Band, he first picked up his instrument in 6th grade.
“I could either join band class or computer class,” he said, “I had a small interest from my years prior doing elementary music, so I said why not, let’s do band.”
His path to the trombone is partially credited to his band director.
“My band director said I was tall and lanky, so, I got to do the trombone because I have long arms,” he joked.
From there, he fell in love with music and musical performance.
“I had very very good band directors and music educators that kind of helped guide me and mold my interest in music,” Vasquez said. “Starting towards the end of middle school I started taking it more seriously, and then as I went into high school I just became an engaged in as many activities as I could.”
In addition to being part of the Youth Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Sparkman High School Band, he founded the Huntsville Trombone Choir.
“I felt like there was a lack of chamber ensembles in Huntsville, and I kind of wanted to start doing more of that, and luckily I had a lot of great mentors to help guide me through that process,” he stated.
He said he had gotten to know other trombone players in Madison County through his musical endeavors, and wanted a place they could all play together. Vasquez told News 19 that Sparkman High School had a trombone choir, but he wanted to include his friends from other schools.
“We said ‘Hey Grissom High School, Bob Jones High School, Huntsville High School why don’t we get together and put on a concert’,” he said. “So we did that, and then from there of course we went off to college, but me and Josiah said why don’t we just continue doing this because we think it’s really fun.”
Since then, the Huntsville Trombone Choir has put on winter and spring/summer concerts each year.
“It’s actually managed to expand into something that I never thought it would have become,” Vasquez said.
He said this year they plan to put on another winter concert, sometime during his winter break from school and they have 30 to 40 other trombone players who like to get involved.
Vasquez credits his music teachers from Madison County and the University of Alabama for helping instill and foster his love of music.
He said he changed his major from musical performance to music education, “as a way to kind of give back to the people who’ve given me lots of gifts throughout the years of amazing musical experiences.”
As a member of the Million Dollar Band, Vasquez attends all home and away football games. He told News 19, that this year he is most excited for the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game.
This football season you may spot him on the field performing, or during the commercial break in the “Where Legends Are Made” ad.