17March2013

2013 Spring Tour Concludes

Posted by WLC Band under: 2013 Spring Concert Tour.

By Michael Kittelson
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

After spending the first half of band tour in the lively cities of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., it was only appropriate for the last couple days of band tour to be relaxing and slightly less energetic. They were still just as fulfilling, however, as the band performed its final two concerts in Kokomo, Indiana, and Antioch, Illinois.

Friday was designated as a driving day, as the band had to travel from Maryland to Indiana. Even before our lunch stop, the band had traveled through four different states as it made its way to Kokomo. After a quick stop in Ohio for lunch, the band arrived at Peace Lutheran Church, the concert location for the evening. The church was familiar to band members who were also in choir, as the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir had performed there last year on its 2012 tour. It is a beautiful church that provided excellent acoustics, especially for the selections composed by Thomas Doss, many of which contain soaring melodies and interesting dissonance. The fifth concert of the tour was a success. As members of the band lay in their beds that night, they felt both joy and sadness, as the final concert took place the next day.

Saturday finally came, and the last concert at Faith Lutheran Church in Antioch was upon the band. On the way to Antioch, a stop was made to have lunch on the famous Navy Pier in Chicago. Since there was a bit of free time, some people rode the gigantic Ferris wheel, only to be met at the top with frigid cold and fierce winds. After lunch, the band arrived in Antioch for the final concert of the 2013 band tour. This church, like Peace in Kokomo, had amazing acoustics. The band was very lucky to play in such beautiful spaces. The last concert was thought by many as the best one of the tour.

Now, as the band travels back to Wisconsin Lutheran College, members can reflect on the wonderful opportunity they had to use their musical talents to praise God. Tours are always a blast, but the best part of them is the fact that the band is able to spread God’s Word with music, which is a blessing from God in itself.

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15March2013

Visiting D.C.

Posted by WLC Band under: 2013 Spring Concert Tour.

By Anne Steeves
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

2013-Band-Capitol

It was Thursday, it was free day, and it was eventful. We began the day with an early start – as usual. However, I think we didn’t mind as much, if it meant getting more time to explore Washington, D.C.

As we neared out destination, we all excitedly decided and planned where we were going to go, and where we were going to be dropped off. I ended up choosing to start with the Lincoln Memorial. As soon as I got off the bus, I was greeted by a face-full of cold, whipping wind. Not the most ideal tourist weather, but my excitement quickly overcame any complaints.

2013-Band-Monument

One of the few nice things about mornings (myself being an avid anti-morning person in general) is the sky. What better backdrop for the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument than a rising, early spring sun? After climbing the colossal marble stairs, the view of the sun peering behind the Washington Monument and reflecting off the glassy water below was breathtaking. The towering statue of Lincoln was equally amazing. I’d seen it in pictures and knew what to expect, but seeing something that magnificent in person is a whole new experience.

From there, we began the determined hunt to find a good photo spot for the White House. After all, the White House is the most iconic building in D.C., and I wasn’t about to leave without one. However…that was a little more difficult than I anticipated. In addition to being unfamiliar with my surroundings and having an innate talent for getting lost, many of the streets held barricades and chains. The cold wind didn’t help either. We ended up walking for at least 45 minutes in the biting cold and I simultaneously lost feeling in my face, hands, and toes. However, our efforts were rewarded…in a sense. The best spot we found was through a metal gate, across a field, and next to a crowd of tourists from England.

The next stop on our adventure was the Holocaust Museum. We arrived in time to see a huge line snaking around the building’s edge. We sadly trudged to the end and continued to wait for another freezing half hour. But once we were inside, I was happy we’d decided to stay. The museum was amazing…and disturbing. It really makes you think, and overall was a great experience. I won’t say much more about it – so as not to ruin it for those who want to visit – except that it was a priceless experience and I’d encourage everyone to go.

After the museum, we decided to go to the Smithsonian. The bad news: we only had two hours to do it. We ran as fast as we could (more like speed-walked, I suppose) to the three large, stone buildings. We had already decided to see a few key items: Dorothy’s slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the First Ladies’ dresses, and the Hope diamond. We figured two out of three buildings wasn’t bad. We went into the American History building first and saw the slippers and dresses, along with Kermit the Frog, Julia Child’s kitchen, Batman’s batarang, and a Stradivarius cello. After that, we headed to the gift shop and a refreshment stand outside for lunch. With less than an hour left, we headed to the Natural History building. I ran straight to the gems and minerals room, and saw several beautiful stones and jewelry pieces, even though it was a bit of a fight to get through the crowds. I spotted a large huddle of people around a square case and figured that it was the famous Hope Diamond. As it rotated on its pedestal, it glimmered brighter than I imagined. I snapped my picture and ran off – it was time for the bus to pick us up.

The bus ride offered a refreshing break from all the walking that we’d done. Before long, the ride lulled me to sleep. I awoke a little while later to see a thick, white cloud outside my window. It was so thick that I could barely see the cars that were driving through it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the smoke was coming from…our bus. My suspicions were reaffirmed as we pulled over to the side of the road. Jason, our driver, tried restarting the bus, but each time he started the engine, the smoke clouds got bigger and denser. Jason called in the situation, and as I listened, I found out that we were going to have to change buses. We waited for the new bus for two and a half hours! After moving all of our luggage and equipment over, we loaded the bus, hungry, tired, and ready to get back on the road.

We arrived at Fatboy’s Pizza buffet two hours later than planned. The staff was kind enough to keep it open just for us! We had also found out that the hotel would keep the pool open an extra 45 minutes because of our delay. Despite all the chaos of the day, it looked like things were going to be alright.

However, on the way to the hotel, things didn’t quite go as planned. We quickly learned that large tour buses don’t get along with small town back roads. We drove down a tight alleyway and as we tried to turn, using the assistance of a small parking lot, we got stuck. A few helpful neighbors tried to direct the bus’s wide turn, but to no avail. Eventually, a police car came to assist. He led us across a large field and onto better-fitting streets. We ended up getting a police escort to our hotel! The whole ordeal lasted about an hour. Unfortunately, that meant the pool was no longer open; however, with all we’d been through that day, I’m sure many of us were tired and ready to sleep. The hotel room was spacious and most importantly had large soft beds. We ended up falling asleep shortly after arrival, exhausted from our eventful day.

 

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14March2013

In Washington, D.C.

Posted by WLC Band under: 2013 Spring Concert Tour.

By Amanda Markham
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

On Wednesday, the band tour began early that morning, waking up in the hotel and packing onto the bus. We drove for a while and eventually made it to Arlington National Cemetery.
2013-Band-Arlington
Our first stop was the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, where we were able to view the solemn changing of the guard ceremony. We also were able to view an interesting wreath ceremony where different schools from the area were able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
2013-Band-Tomb
It was very thought-provoking and sobering to see these ceremonies, hear “Taps” being played, and to remember the soldiers that will never be identified. We also were able to see the amphitheater and JFK’s eternal flame at his gravesite. Overall, Arlington was a very moving experience and it seemed impossible to comprehend so many men and women that gave their lives for our freedom. It really reminded me to be more thankful for the freedoms that I take for granted every day.

From Arlington we jumped on the bus again and stopped for lunch. Then we traveled on to a tour of Washington, D.C. First we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
2013-Band-Iwo-Jima
Then Jason our bus driver gave us a short tour of D.C., pointing out all of the monuments, memorials, Smithsonians, and even the hot dog stands! It definitely helped with directions the next day so that we knew where everything was! One of my favorite things about Washington, D.C., is that we finally are able to see the sights that we have learned about in textbooks for all of our lives!

After that we traveled to Luther Jackson Middle School and had a wonderful dinner (complete with Nutella cookies!) Then we had our concert in the auditorium along with a Lenten Service with Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.

To end the night my roommates and I lucked out and got a night tour from our host family of the monuments which was incredible (and quite chilly!). Seeing the monuments in the dark made them look very majestic, powerful, and even a little spooky. Wednesday was a very full day and a great first day in Washington, D.C., the Capital of our Nation!

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13March2013

A Journey Back in Time

Posted by WLC Band under: 2013 Spring Concert Tour.

By Kathryn Hendee
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

The band’s journey back in time to the American Revolution began with an early Monday morning departure for historical Philadelphia. During the long drive, the band learned some trivia about Prof. Treuden, as well as previewed the sites to come by watching National Treasure.

In the afternoon, the bus made a surprise stop at the Flight 93 9/11 memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful way to remember the heroes on that flight who gave up their lives to save countless others who would have perished had the plane reached its target; their memory will live on forever.

Finally, the band arrived in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The hotel was right next to the King of Prussia Mall, the largest mall in the USA in terms of leasable retail space. The band got to explore this bi-level, two-building mall and shop ’til they dropped before settling in to a comfortable hotel stay.

The real time travel started on the gray, rainy Tuesday morning with a guided bus tour of Valley Forge lead by Pastor Huffman, the pastor at the evening’s concert venue. The bus then headed to downtown Philadelphia for an afternoon of exploration. The main highlights were the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where we learned about the creation and signing of the two greatest documents in American history – and retraced the footsteps of Nicholas Cage. Many band members also went to Macy’s to hear and see the Wanamaker Organ, the largest operational pipe organ in the world. Though no Phantom of the Opera was played in full force, the beautiful tones lushly filled the seven-story shopping court.

Other stops included the Reading Terminal Market, the U.S. Mint, and the Betsy Ross house. After a soggy but productive afternoon, the band boarded the bus and headed back to King of Prussia and Peace Lutheran Church. Following a delicious dinner, the band proceeded to give an excellent concert to a small yet very receptive audience. The acoustics of the sanctuary were fantastic, giving a full and gorgeous sound to Les Miserables and the beautiful Thomas Doss pieces. There were smiles all around after the concert, especially when the church hosted a root beer float reception for the band. Then the bus returned to the hotel for the band to get rested up for its next adventure.

Washington, D.C., here we come!

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11March2013

Spring Concert Tour Begins

Posted by WLC Band under: 2013 Spring Concert Tour.

By Michael Kittelson
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

Day Two of Band Tour 2013 began on Sunday morning with the band gathering to worship at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. After attending the service, it was a short drive to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. With towering rockets and larger-than-life aircraft, the incredible exhibits left many of the band members awestruck. It was certainly a humbling experience to see how God is able to work through his people to create such amazing structures.

After touring the museum, the main event of the day had finally come: the concert at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Columbus. Being the second performance of the tour, the first concert jitters were long gone and the focus kicked in. The audience was very receptive, and the concert was very successful. “America’s Finest,” a piece honoring those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, was particularly well-received. Following the concert, members of the band went with their respective host families for the night.

The next morning, Prof. Treuden received a copy of an email from a woman who hosted three members of the band. In the email (which was sent to the pastor of the church at which the third concert will be held), the woman complimented the students on their “impeccable manners” and said that the next congregation is “in for quite a treat.” Hearing such compliments being given to the band was a great reminder of why the band tours in the first place. It is such a blessing to be praising God through instrumental music, acting as representatives of WLC, and most importantly embodying what it means to be ambassadors of Christ.

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26May2012

That’s a wrap!

Posted by WLC Band under: 2012 Great Lakes Tour.

By Charis Scharf
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

What an incredible week! After getting dropped off by our last host families of the trip, we departed for Cedar Point Amusement Park on Friday morning. We were able to spend our entire free day riding roller coasters and eating junk food…how cool is that? Some members, myself included, went on a few too many roller coasters in the morning and needed a nap in the early afternoon; lucky for us, the hotel was located right inside the park! I have never experienced so many loops, twists, and drop-offs in one day. One member made it on his favorite ride SEVEN times during the 12 hours that the park was open! We were blessed with beautiful weather and a wonderful view of the lake. I’m afraid some of our members enjoyed the sun a little too much and went home looking like lobsters, but no one was complaining about such amazing weather in May.

We end each tour with a nice meal as a final hurrah, and this year we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet. Our social chairs, Kim and Jake, led a fun little raffle to help wake everyone up. The meal concluded with the presentation of gifts to our bus driver, tour managers, and of course, our director.

After many thank-yous being said and wishing the best to our seniors, we sadly loaded the bus and headed for home. We were blessed with another wonderful day and stopped at the Indiana Dunes where members walked the beach while blowing bubbles. Our crews speedily cleaned up once we arrived back at school and everyone headed off to begin their summer vacations.

My first tour as a student tour manager is complete, and bittersweet is the only word I can find to describe how I feel right now. We had an awesome group of people to work with this year, and I wish we had more time to spend together. It makes me really excited to see where tour will take us next year and what kinds of adventures God has waiting for us in the coming years. Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement, and God’s blessings on your summer.

And at least for this year, that’s a wrap!

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25May2012

A Thrilling Thursday on Band Tour

Posted by WLC Band under: 2012 Great Lakes Tour.

By Amanda Markham
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

Thursday was a very enjoyable day full of art, shopping, playing, and of course fantastic food!


We started off his gorgeous day with a drive to the Toledo Museum of Art (above). In the museum, we saw works of art by many famous artists, including Monet, Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, and more! It was really neat to see works of art that we would typically only see in textbooks or prints. In addition to the paintings and sculptures, there was a glass-blowing studio where some band members were able to watch a man blowing glass sculptures right in front of them.


From the museum, we headed to Westfield Franklin Park Mall where we ate, browsed, and bought some books, clothes, and whatever else fit our fancy (or our wallets).

After exploring the mall, we made our way to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Findlay, Ohio. Here we enjoyed a wonderful meal complete with marshmallow pistachio dessert, which was my personal favorite. After our devotion, we had some time to relax or attempt to play a ram’s horn that the pastor had brought back from Israel.

Later, we performed our final concert of the tour, which was also the final concert for our graduating seniors whom we will miss very much! All in all, it was a full and thrilling Thursday.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

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24May2012

To a New Day – Thunderous Applause

Posted by WLC Band under: 2012 Great Lakes Tour.

By Daniel Schroeder
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

Dawn awakened, glistening with golden rays- the 3rd day has begun. Upon regrouping after a hardy breakfast (thanks to the Herber family), the day’s schedule was laid out before us, but more importantly than that was hope. Yes, cliche it may sound, but please pardon while I explain and delve upon this line of thought. . . it began with a dream, a whisper in the night.

You see, the journey is tiring but the rewards are succulent and sweet.

As the first and second days our adventure came to a close, we found ourselves dry and out of energy; however, the bliss that came from the day’s news ignited our slumbering souls. Hope came in the form of a most pleasant melody, rushing like a warm breeze on a cool summer’s night, the song of America’s Greatest History Attraction – The Henry Ford Greenfield Village.

Band member Quinten at Greenfield Village

As this majestic expanse lay before us, the malevolent machinations brewing from weariness dissipated before our very eyes. Yes, this was jubilee for the spirit and joy for the soul.

Multiple events transpired which are worthy to note, these are the following:

- At Mrs. D Cohens, fabulous hats could be adorned, transforming our notion of fashion into a broad new horizon.

- The vibe, aroma, and scenery before us produced within ourselves an illumination of ancient life; all this transpiring, we found ourselves swimming through legions of children, battling along the currents in the circle of life.

- The rock candy helps to revive the simple atmosphere of the streets of old Michigan.

- The Ford Model-T ride transported the group back to the exciting, exuberant life of the American Industrial Revolution.

From all these stunning snapshots of the early 1900s, our souls left pleasantly pleased from the experience.

We soon traveled onward toward a new destination – Huron Valley Lutheran High School, a building that tugged at our heart-strings.

A tear of joy was shed for every immaculate dish that was laid before our eyes. This supper was a glory to behold. Having satisfied the ravenous hunger within, it was time to set out with new companions in the world of music – The WELS Concert Band of Southeast Michigan.

The concert was played with resounding applause, and the campers departed with host families into the serenity of the sunset.

God bless, God praise – to a glorious day’s end.

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23May2012

Adventures in Michigan – Day 2

Posted by WLC Band under: 2012 Great Lakes Tour.

By Michael Kittelson
Wisconsin Lutheran College Concert Band Member

Our second day of band tour was full of memorable adventures.

Our first stop in the morning was at the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe Factory in Holland, Michigan. There was an abundance of one-of-a-kind Dutch souvenirs available to purchase for friends and family. An employee of the factory even carved a pair of fresh wooden shoes in front of our very eyes, which impressed everyone. The field of tulips that we had planned to visit had unfortunately bloomed a month early, so we had extra time to stop at Starbucks to grab some delicious coffee.

From there we made our way to Frankenmuth, Michigan, for lunch at Zehnder’s, a restaurant famous for their chicken dinners. The morning was over, but the fun was just beginning.

In the afternoon the band had the opportunity to visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the nation’s largest Christmas store. The store was filled with beautiful decorations, tall Christmas trees, and ornaments of all shapes and sizes.

My personal favorite part was actually outside of the store, though. The sign on the front of the building emphasized the “Christ” in Christmas, which made me very happy. It was a beautiful thing to see Jesus as the focus of the holiday rather than materialistic things of the world that can often distract us.

The concert that night was held at the beautiful State Theater in Bay City. The stage was not the size that we are accustomed to, but we were able to adjust to the change and make it work. The audience loved the different pieces we played, ranging from jazz to a lively march by the famous John Philip Sousa. The second day of tour was a success, and I look forward to the rest of the tour with much excitement.

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22May2012

Day 1 of Band Tour: Check!

Posted by WLC Band under: 2012 Great Lakes Tour.

By Kathryn Hendee
WLC Concert Band Member

Seven o’clock on Monday morning, May 21, saw the 37 members of the WLC concert band setting out on our coach bus to begin our annual band tour. Early Chicago traffic was countered by naps, “How to Train Your Dragon,” and a blast from the past, “Toy Story.”

Four hours and a time change later found us in St. Joseph, Michigan. At Grace Lutheran Church and School, we put on a 45-minute afternoon concert for the students. The highlight came when five students were selected to direct the band; led by Professor Treuden, the students raised their batons and made the music of the “Liberty Bell March,” courtesy of the band. The utter joy on their faces after their successful directing reminded me yet again of why I love being in band.

Then it was time for the joy of the band members in the form of playgrounds, volleyball, and four-square (continuing the tradition started last year on tour). An added bonus to the free time was the discovery of two baby birds in their nest built in a playground tire. Fun time was followed by a delicious dinner provided by the church.

At 7:00 pm we began our first of four full tour concerts; the audience was appreciative, generous, and very proud of their German heritage. After a well-played concert and speedy cleanup, we left to stay with our wonderful host families for the night. So four states, two time zones, and two concerts later, day one of 2012 band tour was successfully completed.

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