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"I owe my very existence to this ensemble."

The Augustana Symphonic Band and Augustana Choir tour each year, traveling internationally every three years. Anyone who has toured with either of these ensembles has their fair share of memories and stories about how tour impacted their lives, and not only musically. Two graduating seniors share a brief look into their reflections about touring with the band and choir. 

2013 Band Seniors
Augustana Symphonic Band Seniors. Gerber pictured back row, far left.

It is hard to believe that I had my last-ever band tour with the Augustana Symphonic Band. I feel privileged and honored to have experienced four groundbreaking tours during all four years of my college career. The band has taken me all over the world: Midwest of America, Italy, West Coast, and Midwest one last time. Honestly, I never experienced so much passion and devotion for music than with this group of musicians. Music became something out of this world, because this band gave everything they had into every performance, and this year was no different.

It is my senior-year spring break, with snow on the ground and more snow to come with the Augustana Symphonic Band traveling the Midwest. I know it would have been nice to go somewhere warmer or more exciting than the flatlands of the Midwest for a spring break trip, but the band's tours are the one thing that I really get excited for! This tour in particular was about seven days of non-stop playing literature to a lot of people that had never heard us play before. They would praise us for our hard work and the beautiful sounds produced by our 60-piece band. People were struck by pieces like Passacaglia, which had then jumping out of their seats from the spookiness the band produced through playing it.

Music can do things to people that no one ever can fully explain. Our band, this tour and all tours of my four years of college have produced this music. This music has changed lives. People hear us and think about the truth, the sacrifice, and the secrets that we share with them. Music is a fluid emotion that streams from the Augustana Symphonic Band, and I thank God for being able to be a part of it. This band is more than musicians creating fantastic music; it's a family that I will never forget.

- Michael Gerber '13

 

As I reflect upon my experience with the Augustana Choir I realize just how significant this group has been over the course of my life. Take my birth, for instance. As dramatic as it sounds, I owe my very existence to this ensemble. My parents sat next to each other in mixed formation and have been together for almost 39 years now. Alas, I have not been so fortunate.

Choir students on a beach in Florida
Osborn (left) strolls Siesta Beach with friends during free time on choir tour.

In all seriousness, this group has broadened my world in ways I never imagined. But above all, I think I am most conscious of the way music connects people when we go on choir tour. My first tour with the Augustana Choir was unique because we visited many hometowns of students and alumni, which allowed family and friends to attend our performances. When almost every concert was packed, I began to realize that this group was much more than the 60-plus members on the risers. The choral tradition at Augustana continues to impact a person long after he or she graduates from the choir.

Traveling to Germany with the choir last year was very special. Not only was the War Requiem an amazing piece of music to perform, we got to perform alongside individuals from another country and culture.

Tour this year, though, was particularly special. Staying in the homes of church members is truly a once in a lifetime experience. I have loved the way this choir has allowed me to connect with complete strangers. For instance, at my first home stay in Naples, Fla., I met a man who attended Augustana College, was involved with Latinos Unido, and had a close relationship with the professor I work for and who has become one of my closest mentors in the psychology department. What are the chances?

As graduation nears, I am grateful every day I sing with the Augustana Choir (well...almost every day). Even though my time with this group is ending, I realize the connections you make with the choir are life long and often appear when you least expect it. So, I am excited about my future, and know I will continue to sing with the Augustana Choir, just in a different way. 

-Hannah Osborn '13


If you would like to host the band or choir during a future tour, contact Sam Schlouch at samschlouch@augustana.edu or (309) 794-7833.