by Bailey Musselman '18
Members of the Knox College Choir spent their 2016 Spring Tour traveling through America's heartland—Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.
The tour marked the first time the choir has traveled to Kansas, and it was the first time in years that choir members performed a concert in St. Louis, Missouri, a place where many current students have family and friends.
Gabriel Ochoa '19 said he enjoyed every minute of the choir tour.
"Being a first-year, I definitely heard about the bonding that occurs on tour but to experience it firsthand was something special. I definitely feel like part of a family," reflected Ochoa. "There really isn't anything like singing in a choir. You can't replicate that experience anywhere else."
The music performed by the choir included a Lithuanian folk song, and a new piece called "Rivers of Light" by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. This piece, about seeing the Northern Lights, translates that experience into sound.
"Every tour is unique in that each year's choir is different," said Laura Lane, professor of music and director of choirs at Knox College. "We have a different combination of individuals each year."
Madeline Pape '17 was excited to be with the choir for her third tour, and she was quick to say that she learns something new each time.
"Everyone in the choir cares about each other, and our kindness makes our music even better," said Pape. "I always look forward to sharing our music with people who don't usually hear choral music because a lot of times those people are the most moved."
The choir performed some pieces that required unfamiliar instruments. For example, a Bollywood movie piece with percussion featured choir member Dakota Stipp playing a djembe. Knox Anthropology Professor Jon Wagner taught choir members how to play the jaw harp, and he loaned them one for the tour.
"The group always makes huge leaps from night to night, in their ability to sing together, in their confidence as performers, and in their emotional connection to the music and to each other," said Lane. "By the end of tour, they really feel close and the music-making is marvelous. It's a wonderful thing to watch happen and to be a part of."