Lauren Bird – Staff Writer
Over Christmas break, Dordt College’s jazz band and orchestra went on tour to several cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Edgerton, Prinsburg, Waupun, Oostburg, and Sheboygan.
The two ensembles visited assisted living homes, local schools, and churches. Students performed two to three times each day, including concerts during school assemblies during the day and evening performances at churches. Yurii Henriques, the current band and orchestra director at Dordt, accompanied the students on this tour.
“I think the schools were very excited to have us there,” said Henriques. “When we went to the assisted living homes, it was neat to see the students interacting with the residents. I think our music touched them and brought them alive.”
Since the students presented their repertoire many times in one day, they became very familiar with the music they were playing.
“We got into a routine of playing every day,” said Henriques. “The students kept getting better and better with each performance. When you get to play that much, everything tightens up a lot.”
Kristen Raygor, a member of the jazz band, also felt that playing multiple times each day was beneficial for the groups.
“I learned how much playing three times a day really can add so much to each performance both individually and as a band,” said Raygor.
In past years, the concert band is the group that goes on tour. This year, since it was only the jazz band and orchestra, the group was much smaller than usual.
“A normal tour usually takes up two buses, but since we’re a smaller group, we could take one bus,” said Henriques. “This created an interesting dynamic in the group, and since there were only 36 of us, we all got to know each other very well.”
The group had time to enjoy themselves and to have fun on their tour while bonding together.
“My favorite memory was definitely the version of the TV show Chopped we played on the bus,” said Raygor. “The members had to create a meal with various food items and come up with a creative presentation which was quite hilarious!”
The two groups returned to Sioux Center on the evening of January 13. They performed in a concert at Dordt on Friday, January 17. Their tour officially ended with a recording session the next day.
“Our concert put a cap on the tour,” said Henriques. “I think the students learned to not just perform, but to enjoy the experience.”