As the snow begins to melt and temperatures begin to rise, many Northwestern students can be seen on the green each afternoon studying, playing a round of Gennis or chatting with friends. A number of NW students, however, spend their afternoons gathering in a different location: the music building.
This spring, both the A cappella Choir and Symphonic band have been busily preparing music to share on their spring tours.
2014 A CAPPELLA CHOIR TOUR
While many students were preparing to embark on a Spring Service Project or to head home for spring break, members of the Northwestern A cappella Choir were getting ready for a tour that would bring them westward.
The A cappella Choir has been preparing all year for this tour.
“My goal for this trip was for the students to have everything memorized, and we made that goal,” said Thomas Holm, music professor. “We had to push hard at the end, but we accomplished it.”
The choir sang songs in a wide variety of styles such as barbershop, jazz and 19th-century German. It also performed a song called “Auction Cries,” which is based off of a poster for an auction bill of sale.
Over the course of 10 days, the choir had 14 performances in four different states, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Many of the venues the choir performed in were dictated by proximity to friends, family and NW alumni.
Because the tour was spread out, the 45-member choir spent a great amount of time on a charter bus. Members got to know one another better by doing devotionals, watching movies, playing games and having “interviews” in front of the whole bus. The interviews were a way for the students to learn more about one another with some funny questions.
Most nights, the choir members were taken in by host families in the cities where they performed.
“Spending time with the host families was a great experience,” said Laura Jonker, a member of the A cappella choir. “We were at a different home every night, so we got to hear so many interesting stories from our host families.”
The A cappella Choir will give its capstone concert of this tour at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Christ Chapel. Those in attendance will hear all of the pieces the choir performed while on tour.
2014 SYMPHONIC BAND TOUR
In just a few weeks, the Symphonic Band will be heading out on its Midwest mini-tour. The band will be traveling to different cities in Minnesota and South Dakota.
The 50-member Symphonic Band will be playing a variety of music while on tour. Because many of the performance venues are churches, some of the music is spiritual.
A highlight will be a piece called “The Glass Bead Game,” which will feature French horn soloist Aaron Sundet.
Additionally, Matthew Honken, a music major, will be conducting a piece called “Melita” by Thomas Knox.
“I’m very ready for this,” Honken said. “It is a piece that I have had time rehearsing with the band throughout this semester, and it is actually a piece that the band performed at the winter concert in early February.”
“My favorite part about going on the band tours is being on the road and getting to know others and deepening the friendships I already have,” said oboist Meghan Thomson, who will be participating in her fourth band tour for Northwestern.
Tim McGarvey, director of the ensemble, likes the tour because it’s a way for the band to minister to different communities.
“This is an opportunity for us as an ensemble to have an impact on other people’s lives,” he said. “The ministry often comes in the personal contact when the students are staying with the host families while on tour. There is also the ministry of the music and how it touches people’s lives.”
The Symphonic Band will be on tour March 27 through 30. It will perform its capstone concert of this tour at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, in Christ Chapel. Those in attendance will hear a combination of pieces performed on tour, as well as new music.