Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A homecoming of sorts

by Musician 1st Class Lauren Cook

The concert in Burnsville, Minn., was a homecoming of sorts for me—we performed about 30 miles from my undergraduate alma mater, St. Olaf College. It was so meaningful being able to perform for a handful of friends and the band director from St. Olaf. The crowd was extremely receptive, some all too eager to applaud before the music even ended! It’s safe to say that everyone in the audience, and all of us on stage, had a great time.

At St. Olaf, I was able to go on five tours with various ensembles, which made catching up with my friends after the concert all the more nostalgic. We compared home stay stories, bus dates, and significant performances. We all travelled with the orchestra to Spain, and it was fun to recount our adventures as we went from city to city to give concerts to supportive audiences. The tours were what ultimately shaped my college experience, and I have no doubt that it will be tours that define much of my career with the Navy Band. Since this is my first tour with the band, it has been amusing to note the transformation the band goes through over the span of the month, not only with regard to the performances, but in the adaptations we make the longer we are on the road. We become experts in scoping out the quirky shops in town, scouting out local hotspots, and venturing beyond commonplace activities to give us inspiration for each concert. I’ve become a pro at cramming my newest findings into my suitcase and carrying even more experiences in the back of my mind. It won’t be long before I build a catalog of memories as we go across the country, playing for one enthusiastic crowd after another.

About the Author

Musician 1st Class Lauren Cook, born in St. Louis, and raised in Lincoln, Neb., joined the Navy Band in November 2011. She earned a Bachelor of Music magna cum laude with distinction from St. Olaf College, and a Master of Music with program honors from Northwestern University, where she was a graduate assistant for the clarinet studio.

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