My old roommates, Angela Christenson (clarinet), Marisa Sweney (flute), Sarah Kohrs (flute) and I pose together with our instruments before a concert.

My old roommates, Angela Christenson (clarinet), Marisa Sweney (flute), Sarah Kohrs (flute) and I pose with our instruments before a concert.

As I sat down to write out my spring semester schedule, I realized I only needed 10 credits to graduate. After the initial burst of joy, I remembered that I needed 12 credits in order to accomplish full-time student status. Oh the possibilities of 2 credits!

I could take karate again, or snowboarding, or an art class, or a fun English or History class (yes I think those are fun), but then I remembered, I hadn’t signed up for band.

That is, MUS 241 with Dr. Lovejoy, Winona State’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Though this course is only 1 credit, it is way more work than anyone, except for members, realizes. We rehearse Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a weekly total of 4 and a half hours, and on top of that there are concert rehearsals, actual concert performances, pep band for football games, and volunteering at area elementary schools and Adopt-A-Block. Did I really want to take on that kind of commitment, again, for the last semester of my college career at Winona State?

The answer was yes. Yes, of course I did.

I have been in band for twelve years and it has been one of the most influential things in my life. It has taught me not just musical skills, but also discipline, responsibility, teamwork, how to listen, how to breath, how to sit evenly, how to decipher and decode things, how to be creative and structured, how to conquer challenges by trying over and over again, and how to be dedicated to something much bigger than myself.

Being in band also helps me to get away from other day to day activities and school stresses; I get to escape into the world of music for an hour and a half three times a week. And on top of that, I get to do it with great people.

At least half of the band isn’t music majors or minors, so you get a great mix of people with a wide variety of experience intermingling in one setting with one goal.

The friends I have made in band have lasted me throughout my entire academic career and, I have a feeling, will follow me into my adult life.

All in all, I encourage anyone who’s ever been in band and has an interest in picking up an instrument again, to add Winona State’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble to your schedule. You won’t regret it.

WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble

A view from the audience of the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble at our 2012 Holiday Concert.