Gustavus Wind Orchestra Performs at MMEA

Posted on April 13th, 2022 by

James Patrick Miller conducting the Gustavus Wind Orchestra

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra was an honored guest at the Minnesota Music Educator Association (MMEA) Mid-Winter Clinic in late February. The MMEA invites a select number of bands and musical groups each year to participate in their yearly conference through an audition process, and the Wind Orchestra was chosen for the Friday evening slot. 

Students at the conference had opportunities to meet with vendors and other businesses ranging from schools to music stores. Following the convention portion of the clinic, both Gustavus and Mahtomedi High School performed as the night’s headliners. Mathomedi’s concert program focused on supporting and uplifting women composers and musicians, and Gustavus’s own Dr. Heidi Miller was a featured conductor at their concert. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra followed the high school, playing highlights of their tour and concluding with “Nearer My God to Thee,” a piece that holds a place in many of the musicians’ hearts on stage: the experience of memories of a tour where pieces were played with meaning and memories of the first tour experience in the longest while. Alex Terpkosh ’23, a percussionist in the Wind Orchestra said that he enjoyed having the chance to bond with other percussionists. “Being able to go on tour, we were able to inspire many generations of percussionists. For example, there was a sixth grade percussionist who asked every percussionist to sign his drumsticks.”

The MMEA midwinter clinic marked the conclusion of the 2022 tour. For the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, this was their first tour in three years. The band has a prolific history of touring domestically and internationally, even in years of wartime. However, the pandemic has changed the history and the tradition of the band, as well as what it means to tour.

The tour had gone through several transformations before finally reaching its completed form. The band was originally planning to tour through Australia during January Term, before plans shifted to a Spain and France tour. The final decision was made to postpone the international tour and instead tour several high schools across the state of Minnesota. 

During the last week of January, the Wind Orchestra toured to four Minnesota high schools including PACT Charter School, Monticello High School, Tri-City United, and Springfield High School. Three of the four were conducted by Gustavus alumni. The band interacted with their students ranging from elementary to high school, which was one aspect of touring that many band members have missed in the last few years. 

This is the second time Gustavus has played at MMEA, their prior performance took place in 2018 after their International Tour through Sweden and Norway. This year’s MMEA performance was another chance for students and music educators across Minnesota to listen to the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and some of the highlights from the January tour. 

 

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