The Gustavus Wind Orchestra has its own word. It was created by the current conductor, Dr. Douglas Nimmo, to describe the experience of an international concert tour. The word is ILCHE and it’s heard quite a lot these days around the Schaefer Fine Arts Center and the rehearsal studio 106. It’s a great word and can be used in nearly every part of speech.
ILCHE is used to motivate the members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to make every moment of their rigorous, seemingly endless, pre-tour rehearsal schedule. It motivates them to spend even more time in sectional rehearsals and personal practice on those sections of the music that haven’t quite come together yet. ILCHE helps find a bit of extra energy or breath support or focus that the GWO members didn’t know they had. ILCHE is used by one member to support another through a difficult riff or an extra-long rehearsal. ILCHE is very forward-looking as it asks you to consider what may be around the very next corner if you are willing to make the effort.
ILCHEs are coming from GWO alums all over the world. Jaimie Farel ’10, saxophonist and participant in the 2010 GWO international tour, wrote to Dr. Nimmo last week with these words of encouragement for the current membership:
“I am writing to say hello and wish GWO the best as they begin one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. I absolutely cannot believe that it has been 4 years since we embarked on the Central/Eastern Europe tour. Pauli Jackson and I were just reminiscing about our time in Europe over breakfast this weekend. I have a picture in my cube at work of the lake we stopped at on our way to Bad Ischl, and still vividly remember holding back tears playing ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ that very evening. It wasn’t our biggest crowd nor even the last time we played Nearer, but it was by far the most memorable time I ever played it.
When the band reaches ‘the bottom of the 9th’ during the marathon of rehearsals this month – tell them that in 4 years, they’ll really miss sitting in those seats, making music surrounded by friends.”
Tia Thompson, a 2013 graduate and member of GWO’s percussion section in 2010, is currently working in Zhuhai, China, tutoring and teaching English at the United International College. She has picked up a second job teaching English at a kindergarten and “dealing with thirty-some rambunctious five-year-olds who don’t speak my language;” experience no doubt gained as the percussion section leader and principal.
In Tia’s note to me and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, she wrote, “I’ve already started reading your blog for the upcoming GWO European tour. If I wasn’t headed to Indonesia tomorrow, I would be very tempted to fly over for a concert or two! The current GWO members have no idea what’s about to hit them. I’m so excited for everyone involved – it’s such a once in a lifetime experience. I can’t wait to read about your adventure abroad when I get back from my own little vacation! I hope you and GWO have a very wonderful and safe trip to Europe! I’m looking forward to hearing from you and to hear more about the tour!”
A “once in a lifetime experience” and “they’ll really miss sitting in those seats” is what ILCHE is about. It’s where great music, a grueling schedule and a concert tour 5000 miles from home will take you — if you let it. For you see, ILCHE stands for “incredible, life-changing experience.”
There are a number of ILCHEs waiting for the Gustavus Wind Orchestra as it grinds through its final 6 days of prep and makes the next, very big, step on January 22.
And there are many, many more ILCHEs to come in the days ahead.