The MBU Symphonic Band arrived on campus for one final day of classes before leaving for Thanksgiving break after touring Illinois for nearly a week. Each day brought the band to different areas of the state spanning from Rockford to Alton performing two concerts a day – one in a school chapel, and one in an evening church service.
“Going into tour, I only knew about half of the band personally,” says band president Caleb Gillespie. “My goal was to invest in the whole band and get to know everyone a little better. It was such a blast to see people come out of their shells, to laugh, and have fun with one another.”
Sunday was special because the band had four opportunities to perform. In the Sunday school hour many band members gave testimonies throughout a service of solos and ensembles. It was a blessing to hear how the Lord is working in the lives of various band members.
On Monday, the band had another opportunity to do something different than normal. Coal City Middle School asked the band to do some sectionals with their band members, so several of our music education majors had the opportunity to teach band sectionals with the middle schoolers there.
“It was a great first teaching experience,” remarks freshman Kate Toole, “and it really solidified my desire to be a teacher.”
Although there wasn’t much time for sightseeing, the band did take a walking tour in Alton, Illinois to see the statue of the world’s tallest man – Robert Pershing Wadlow – and took several pictures in the surrounding area. Some of the photos included the world’s tallest man and the shortest band ladies, the men in ascending order, and a crazy group photo.
Clearly, the band is a performing group; but, it’s about more than performance. It’s about growing together, learning together, and becoming more like Christ. It’s about bonding together while working through pieces section by section, chair by chair.
“I had a part that I just couldn’t nail,” states sophomore William Kermott. “But even when I didn’t understand something, or even though I would get frustrated at parts, my section leader was patient with me, and really demonstrated the love of God by teaching me and never giving up on me.”
“The spirit of unity and friendship amongst the band members was really great,” continues senior Emily Moline. “I really got to know my fellow band members better – inside and outside of my section – and made some great memories.”
Because of the unity and friendship that the band experienced, God was able to work through and in the band throughout the whole tour.
“I cannot begin to express my joy at the sense of teamwork, servants hearts, and oneness that this group had over the course of the week,” said Gillespie. “I never saw a single frown at any aspect of the tour. The joy of the Lord was evident in this band, and I could not have been happier.”
Dr. Brown led the group on this semester’s tour in Dr. Townsend’s place, and he recognized the way that God was moving through the band. Halfway through the tour, he gave a report to people on campus saying “God is doing amazing things through this band.”
The band is now back together for their final concert of the semester – their annual Christmas band chapel December 8.