Symphony Orchestra Tours in Puerto Rico

After completing a 10-day tour to Puerto Rico over spring break, the members of Southern’s Symphony Orchestra returned with numerous new friends and memories. During the span of nine days, the orchestra performed nine concerts at various Seventh-day Adventist churches and schools. The group participated in week of prayer at the Universidad Adventista de Las Antillas on the first Sabbath, as well as performing in Ponce, Aguadilla, San Sebastian, and Moca throughout the week.

Southern students in the orchestra valued the chance to talk with the students from different schools and show them their various instruments.

“I really enjoyed performing for the school children,” said violinist Christina Donesky, freshman international business and international studies double major. “To see their faces light up when we started playing was truly incredible.”

While on tour the orchestra members stayed with various families on the island, which afforded them the opportunity to get to know new people and collaborate musically with their hosts.

Not only was the group able to interact with those in Puerto Rico, but they were also able to get to know each other better.

“It was really neat to get to know people during the trip that I see quite often but have never had a conversation with,” said Thyrell Smith, freshman marketing major.

In addition to the students getting to know one another, the conductor, Laurie Redmer Minner, associate professor in the School of Music, enjoyed hearing their music transform into something incredible.

“The personal binding that originates from very intense musical and personal time together transfers into the music making,” Minner shared. “This caused our final concert to be far better than our first, because of those new connections that were made during the week.”

One of Minner’s favorite memories happened during the final concert. Most churches in Latin and Central America do not clap in church, but rather respond by waving or saying “amen.” During the final concert, however, the orchestra was very surprised and pleased to hear a rousing applause as they concluded their symphony performance.

“It is always very meaningful to me, on an emotional level, when a congregation is willing to break a cultural tradition because they are so moved by the music that it requires that response,” Minner said. “That was a very emotional moment because we knew that we had reached into their hearts and made them respond in that way. For me, that is what touring is all about.”

Abigail King Story by Abigail King Published: Last Edited:

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