Band Tour

I recently got back from a tour of Kansas that the Baker University Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble went on.  We played 2 concerts in the course of the Friday and Saturday that we were away.   The first we performed at was a school in Osage City, Kansas, and the second a concert in the park in Lindsborg, Kansas.

As a student, I really enjoy band tours! I did several big ones in high school, and plan on going with the department to Europe in January.   To me, they’re relaxed, fun, and you get to play music for many different audiences.

We left Friday at 11:00 A.M.  That’s the other thing. Sometimes you get out of class!  We boarded the bus and headed down to our first concert.  There’s always certain groups of people on a trip bus.  There’s a group that likes to talk to their friends, some who are trying to watch the movie, others reading a book or caught up in their Sudoku puzzles, and of course people who just want to catch up on some sleep.   I passively participated in some conversations while dominating some spider solitaire on my computer to pass the time.

After arriving in Osage City, we unpacked and loaded up the stage in a very nice auditorium.  Putting three different ensembles on stage was a tight fit!  We had to improvise a concert order as well because between the three ensembles we had more music than we had time for before our student audience had to leave.

That evening we went to Wichita and had Mongolian Barbecue. Yum!  Nothing like all you can eat, custom-made stir-fry to top off a good concert.   That evening we socialized at the hotel, and prepared ourselves for the next day.  We made sure to hit up the pool, and I’m pretty sure we had 30 or so band kids in the hot tub at one point.  What can I say, we’re a close group.

The next morning we had breakfast and boarded the bus for our noon concert in Lindsborg, KS.   Lindsborg is known as Little Sweden, USA.  We had some time before the concert to just walk around and get a feel for this neat town.  Everywhere you walk there are wild Dala horses, which are one of Sweden’s best known icons.  They are carved and decorated symbols of welcome for Lindsborg, and a tribute to Swedish folk crafts… and they’re everywhere!  Also very good for candid and goofy photos with your friends.

Philip Schiffelbein next to a Wild Dala

 

The outdoor concert had great weather, and brought a decent crowd out from the community.  It kicked off with a performance by the Lindsborg High School Jazz Band, and the baker concert band and jazz band finished it off.  By the end of the jazz set I was sweating like crazy in my suit jacket, and pretty sure I had a sun burn, but it was worth it!  The audience was very receptive, and I got to play a saxophone feature as well.

Jazzin' it up to "Across the Channel"

 

As a performer, it really is important to play in as many different environments as you can to experience different cultures, different acoustics, and a new audiences.  Not one performance you make should or will be exactly like any other.  Music is about creativity, and it expresses who you are as an individual.  As Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Plus, some of the memories you make with your friends whether on stage or off, will last you a lifetime.

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