Band and Bells Tour

By Kaily I

The whole room was dark except for the blue glow emanating from everyone’s backpacks. No one spoke as they moved to take their positions. Musicians from Andrews Academy had transformed into soldiers, holding guns, anxiety rising in anticipation. Adrenaline rushed through every student. The countdown began. Three…Two…One… Chaos erupted and lasers lit up the darkness. The epic game of laser tag had begun.

Laser tag, a game in which players wear laser-sensitive vests and gain points by shooting the opposing team members with laser beams, was one of the most popular events of Band and Bells Tour 2016. Nathan Buck, Senior baritonist at Andrews Academy, said “I really enjoyed the challenge of working with my friends to win the game.”

The group also went to an NBA basketball game, explored Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati, attended a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concert, and toured the Air Force Museum in Ohio. Brianna Moore, Senior clarinetist at Andrews Academy, said “I liked the Cincinnati Symphony the best because I got the signature from the guy who played the piano. Also because it was cool to get to see a professional group perform.”

When asked what the purpose of band tour is, Byron Graves, Wind Ensemble and Concert Band Director, said “(The purpose of band tour is) to perform and share musical talents with people around the country and to have a fun time bonding with fellow band members.”

Mr. Graves works very hard to make the tour fun for everyone while also balancing play time with performing. He first “sets performances, usually one or two per day. Then once the performances are planned then I look at places around the performance places and see what things there are to do that appeal to a variety of people.”

This being the case, Band and Bells Tour wasn’t all fun and games. The group performed at Indiana Junior Academy, Spring Valley Academy, Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Centerville Seventh-day Adventist Church; six performances in all. At all the performances, band played a composition called ‘The Light Eternal’, a moving tune after which the tour was named.

The piece was based upon the story of four chaplains that sacrificed themselves for others. The USS Dorchester, a convoy ship carrying supplies and approximately 900 men, was heading towards Greenland when they were alerted that a German U-Boat had been spotted by Coast Guard sonar. On February 3, 1943, the Dorchester was torpedoed by the Germans. Panic struck the ship as the electricity suddenly cut out. Lifejackets were passed out, but the supply ran out before every man had received one. The four chaplains that were aboard offered their lifejackets to others and helped as many as they could get into the lifeboats and safety. They themselves went down with the ship, praying and singing to God.

‘The Light Eternal’ was a favorite, both among the performers and the audiences. One of the teachers of Spring Valley Academy spoke about the piece saying, “You guys are very talented, but you had my heart with that song. It was amazing.”

Performances, while they can be stressful, are the most rewarding parts of Band and Bells Tour. It gives the performers a chance to spread God’s message through music and it gives audiences a chance to enjoy beautiful songs. Everyone comes away with a unique experience that they won’t soon forget.

All in all, Band Tour


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