My last Symphony Spring Break Tour has come and gone, and there was a whole lotta tour, a little bit of spring, and not much of a break. But really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After one restful night of break in my empty apartment, I boarded the bus at 8am Saturday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to perform eight concerts in nine days. Our first stop was Appleton, WI, followed by Wausau. By Monday we were back in Hastings, MN, playing at one of the largest and most beautiful high schools I have ever seen. Tuesday brought us back to Iowa, specifically West Des Moines. Wednesday we made the trek to Concordia University in Chicago, and then a quick jaunt to Sun Prairie, WI on Thursday. Friday was a blessed free day in the Windy City. Our last performances were in Iowa City and Onalaska.
Although we were playing in different spaces every night, I still felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. After having breakfast with our host family (So. Many. Muffins.), we loaded the buses full of percussion, luggage and musicians and spent the rest of the morning on the road, attempting to nap in positions that are only fit for a pretzel. After a lunch stop featuring one of the major mall food courts in any given area, we arrived at our venue in the early afternoon. The Symphony Machine then went to work setting the stage, making publicity displays and warming up. A rehearsal made sure that we knew the space and worked out any kinks, both physically and musically. A community dinner ensured our bonding, with awards being given to those with space cadet tendencies, slow turtle behavior or the best story from the previous day. After our diverse and exhausting program of Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Khatchaturian and Brahms, we met our next delightful host family and prepared to do it all again!
As exhausting as this is, tour is great for many reasons, most notably our music making, but also our bonding. Being that close with that many people for that long can make you crazy, but it mostly makes you love them even more. I have learned from symphony tours over the years that you make better music when you giggle through the same movie on a long bus ride, or you endure the chit chat with your generous, but quirky, host family together. We make better music when we sing before our supper and share our hopes and fears about the future. When you know the people around you, you experience the music more completely. I wish I had an answer for why this is, but I am certain of its truth. Thank you, LCSO, for a wonderful last tour. Get some!