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Bands on Tour

Over 75% of UWEC’s Symphony Band are music education majors who are preparing to spend their lives enriching students with music.  This year, Symphony Band went on its annual band tour to seven schools in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, and the music education students got a taste of what they will be doing do for the rest of their lives.  In addition to performing for students, the band members worked side-by-side with high school and middle school students.  Dr. Phil Ostrander, director of Symphony Band, says, “Our mission is to encourage school age musicians to continue performing in college and beyond.”  Dr. Ostrander encourages his band students when working one-on-one work with high schoolers to not only discuss band, but more generally the college experience and interests.  One freshman from Hudson High School said he liked working with UWEC’s Symphony Band because, “It is exciting to see and play music that we don’t normally get to see, and it is a great experience in general.”  The college students learn from this experience as well.  Cheyenne Marquardt, a sophomore music education major, said, “Band tour is like getting a little preview of what my future will be when I become a band teacher, and it just makes me more excited to be an educator. We get to show them how much we love music.” 

Bonding is another important part of the band tour experience with very busy days that started at 6:30 in the morning and went nonstop until around 3:30 in the afternoon.  Then, the students would go back to the hotel and be on their own for the rest of the night.  Everyone had their own thing to do.  This year Symphony Band stayed in a hotel near the Mall of America, so many students took in the sights of the largest indoor mall in the nation – some for the first time.  Others made new friends and memories while staying in the hotel and playing games.  Marquardt says, “I like band tour because I get to bond with my colleagues and I always end up making new friends.”