When most Augustana students are heading home on Wednesday, Jan. 30, after J-term classes end, the Augustana Band will be preparing for a six-day local tour.
Yes, they will be traveling during the Super Bowl.
“The Super Bowl party will be held in Rapid City when we go on our tour,” band president and senior French horn player Emily Eichele said. “The band officers just want to host a party because no one should ever miss the Super Bowl. It will be another fun way for us all to get together and have a good time… [And] if it is like every other band function, there will be lots of nummy food and bountiful laughter.”
The band will be performing in nine different locations, according to their itinerary, often playing multiple locations in one day and then returning to Augustana’s campus.
“We are going to a bunch of small towns, I’m sure most of them having never heard a live Concert Band of this caliber,” Augustana Director of Bands Paul Schilf said. Schilf has spent this year filling in for Bruce Ammann while he is on leave.
“[Dr. Schilf’s] combination of comedy and musical advice has made our time very entertaining, and the ensemble sounds amazing,” junior trumpet player Jake Shama said. “Dr. Schilf is a very gifted instructor, and Augustana is lucky to have him on staff.”
Locations include Rock Valley, Iowa, and Pipestone, Minn., along with more places in South Dakota.
“We’re even going to the Black Hills,” Shama said. “I’m from Rapid City, so it’s especially exciting to be able to play so close to my home.
“I haven’t gone on a local tour with this group yet, so I’m excited to have that experience… and be able to share music and our school’s image with people from nearby towns.”
Eichele agrees, saying that showcasing Augustana’s talent is a good way to recruit perspective students.
“We want to show them that band is fun, and that if they become part of our band they can have fun too, and make great, inspiring music,” she said. “We play many challenging pieces on tour, and if the music doesn’t grab their attention, hopefully our positive and friendly environment will.”
Tidal Forces, by Michael Markowski, and An American Celebration, by Melvin Shelton, are two of the pieces audiences will hear during these concerts. According to Schilf, Tidal Forces is considered a “water piece” that is a celebration of life, while An American Celebration gravitates toward the strength of the American spirit during times of national stress.
The band will have some fun, taking a trip to Deer Mountain, S.D., for tubing on Sunday, Feb. 3.
“The band officers work hard to have lots of activities and games for all the band members to participate in, and it is always fun and refreshing to get to know one’s peers in a different context,” Eichele said.
“Plus, long bus rides with good friends are always fun,” Shama added.