Final Prep – First Step, The Adventure Begins

Posted on January 20th, 2012 by

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Ruth Lin

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Ruth Lin

With the first significant snowfall of the winter coating the campus with a blanket of fresh snow, the Gustavus Symphony is just 24 hours from departure for its concert tour in South Africa. Now, at the end of nearly 40 hours of intense rehearsal, regular sectionals and personal practice, 7 guest speakers (including Dan Currell ’94 and Professor Brian O’Brien) and 4 movies over the course of 30 hours of class sessions, it’s time to pack the instruments and load the bus for the first leg of our journey.

Many member of the ensemble and staff joined for morning worship in Christ Chapel to receive a special blessing from Chaplain Rachel Larson and hear a guest speaker, Pastor Dean Wolf ’77, speak on the topic of ecumenism. Pastor Wolf’s words “Be open to the unexpected” and his final exhortation, “We have come so far and yet have so far to go,” may have packed more meaning that he intended for the members of the symphony. His words provided us with an admonition for our tour. “Be open to the unexpected.” Pastor Larson, and the others gathered in Christ Chapel, then offered special blessings for safe travel and sent us off with the hymn “We Are Marching in the Light of God,” a South African freedom song attributed to the Zulu and Xhosa peoples.

Following worship, Provost Mark Braun addressed the entire symphony and asked each member to “think about the difference between being a tourist and being a learner. Make beautiful music. Open your minds to the experience and create memories for a lifetime. God’s blessing for safe travel.” And with those words, Conductor Ruth Lin “ran” the entire program as the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s final rehearsal. Its next notes will be played on South African soil.

To hear a short clip of the symphony’s final rehearsal of Aaron Copland’s An Outdoor Overture,:

For the 58 members of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and the faculty and staff accompanying them on this concert tour, the next step of the adventure begins with a ride to the airport on Saturday, January 21 and a plane which will carry them to South Africa.

Be open to the unexpected.

Godspeed.

 

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