As a lifelong band geek, I find a lot of joy playing in the Seward Concert Band. We’re a low-key group that has a lot of talent, which means we get to play some really awesome music. From super traditional Gustav Holst suites to crazy modern Maslanka symphonies, we hit on a bit of everything the concert band repertoire has to offer. In learning all of this music, we exercise our minds and our fingers to become better musicians. On top of all of those wonderful qualities, we also get to hang out with some really cool people and eat tasty treats at break time. It’s really the best of all worlds.
While our rehearsals are often the highlight of my week — and learning the music alone is a great experience — we’d definitely be missing something if we weren’t able to share that music with anyone. Concerts give the group a goal, a destination, a reason for being. While we love to see our concert audiences filled with family and friends, seeing new faces in the audience is always the best. This is why the band has begun to bring its music into some senior living communities in Minneapolis.
Our first opportunity to do this was at the Veteran’s hospital in Minneapolis back in October. I loved seeing all the residents file into the room and talk to the musicians as we were setting up. Each piece got enthusiastic applause, and that energized the band to play even better. It’s refreshing to hear audiences react to pieces they are hearing for possibly the first time.
More recently, we were able to perform our Winter concert for the residents of the Augustana Health Care facility in downtown Minneapolis. As the city is buzzing with the imminent Super Bowl, and still reeling from a nearly record setting snowfall earlier in the week, taking the time to share our music was really special. In this time not too long after the holidays when daily life can seem to be at its busiest is the most important time to pause and play some great music for people who might really need to hear it.
Branching out into the community by providing concerts in these senior living facilities is the perfect next step for this band. It turns each member’s love of music into a service. It allows us to be in the community in a meaningful way. It brings our music to people who otherwise wouldn’t experience it. All of these things make our band experience more profound for each of the members while enriching the community at the same time. And that is what music is all about.