Over this past spring break, the Augustana Choir and the Symphonic Band went on tour representing Augie on both the national and international level as they shared their music with different communities.
The Symphonic Band, coming home from a tour abroad in Spain, held a concert on Saturday, March 11 to commemorate their return. Similarly, Augustana Choir, returning from a tour around the Mid-West celebrated with a concert on Sunday, March 12.
Connor Kealey, who manages the performance tours of Augustana’s music groups, explained that the goal of the tours was to do outreach for the college. “[Augustana Choir, the Symphonic Band, and the Symphony Orchestra] go beyond just being music ensembles their purpose is to also do outreach of the college” Kealey stated.
According to Kealey, the three main components of outreach that these tours, especially domestic tours such as the one Augustana Choir participated in, are meeting with alumni, providing the students with educational benefits, and representing Augustana to the public. Kealey emphasized that the connections made with alumni are extremely important for each group. “Particularly for the choir and for the band, [the alumni] are a very excited group. They love to tell you stories.”
Throughout their tour, the Augustana Choir was able to meet many alumni of the school and even invited some of those alumni, who were in the choir during their time at Augie, to come sing with them. “[The alum] ranged from people who graduated last year to people who were 70 years old,” Cheyenne Morton, a singer in the Augustana Choir said. “There was this one lady who was just singing her heart out, and it was really great.”
Morton explained that along with meeting alumni of the college, the Augustana Choir worked with several different high schools in the towns they visited. Both the choir and the high schoolers performed for each other and did a few combined pieces. Dr. Hurty, director of the choir, then worked with the high schoolers on the pieces they sang separately from the Augustana choir.
While Augustana Choir was performing back home, meeting with alum, the Symphonic Band was representing Augustana abroad in Spain. The band had five concerts in different cities throughout Spain and even worked with several local bands.
“We actually did a combined concert with the band in Cullera,” stated percussionist, Sean Harty. We played our part…and then together we rehearsed…and so the two bands played the second half of the show together.”
Harty explained that having the chance to tour abroad allows for educational opportunities about different cultural elements of a country. “This year…we got to do one concert with two cultures represented,” Harty said. “You get to meet the other cultures.” In fact, when Augustana’s music groups go abroad they often have more free time to interact with the local people and represent Augustana on a more personal level.
All of the outreach music groups at Augustana work to represent the school and its community through their music. “On representing the college, I think the students do a really great job,” said Connor Kealey. “I am blown away.”