Gustavus Wind Orchestra in Eastern Europe

Posted on January 20th, 2006 by

Gustavus Adolphus College musicians are touring Eastern Europe during January 2006. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra has embarked on a 17-day international tour through Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Austria.

“In Kety, Poland, we were warmly welcomed by the Catholic Parish of Kety. As Mass was finished at 6:45 p.m., I expected some of the nearly 400 gathered for the service to leave, but no one moved as the priest finished the final prayers of the service and others arrived,” said Al Behrends, director of fine arts programs and wind orchetra tour manager. “More than 700 were gathered, filling every seat and standing wherever possible. The wind orchestra performed very well and the audience gave standing ovations after a number of selections. At the end of the concert and the encore, the Parish Priest asked us to stay as more speeches were delivered and many photos were taken at the end of an extraordinary event.”

Under the direction of Douglas Nimmo, the group is performing 10 concerts in churches and schools throughout Eastern Europe. One stop, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stara Tura, Slovakia, is a familiar site for the Gustavus ensemble. The Wind Orchestra performed in Stara Tura during its first tour in Eastern Europe, in 1994.

The concert program includes 10 pieces, featuring a new work commissioned for Gustavus from composer David Gillingham, titled “Light of My Soul.” Gustavus music professor Steve Wright also wrote a piece, “Festive Fanfare,” for the group.

In addition to performing, the students are participating in guided tours through some cities and exploring others at their leisure. Journeys through historical sights like the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Auschwitz/Birkenau Concentration Camp are highlights of the experience. See their tour schedule here.

A companion tour from Gustavus is following this group along their journey. The group includes Gustavus alumni, parents, and friends and is hosted by Thomas Emmert, professor of history at Gustavus, who also led a preparatory class for the musicians called “Performance and Mission in East Central Europe.” Participants in this tour have the opportunity to hear the Gustavus Wind Orchestra in addition to exploring the sites of Europe.

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform its tour program during the Home Concert in Christ Chapel at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb 11.


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