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Spreading the joy of music

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Rehoboth Christian High School BAND PERFORMS across the Midwest

Every other year the Rehoboth Christian High School band, led by director Kevin Zweiers, takes their show on the road and tours different parts of the country. This year’s tour spanned from April 5-13 with the high schoolers traveling throughout the Midwest.

As a faith-based organization, Rehoboth Christian is a part of a nationwide supporting database full of churches and other schools. Both the school’s choir and band go on bi-annual trips where they perform and get to interact with people from other communities.

 

WHY THE TOURS MATTER

Zwiers has been the Rehoboth band director for 23 years. He is with the students from sixth grade, when they first pick up an instrument all the way through their high school career. In an interview with the Sun, he explained why he believes the tours are important.

“It’s just great for us for to get out and bring our students out. I’m a firm believer that one of the best parts of Rehoboth is our students, and the ability to bring them to other places just to have other people meet them and understand they’re really cool [is just great],” he said. “We continue to get emails from people who hosted students or places where we played, and they all say that they were really blessed by our students being there.”

This year the band started their journey by traveling to Mount Vernon, Missouri, which is a 15-hour drive from Rehoboth. From there, they went to Brookfield, Wisconsin, where they performed at the Brookfield Christian Reformed Church. From there, it was to the Orland Park Christian Reform Church in Orland, Illinois.

In total the band performed their complete show eight times for eight different churches, and they did three shortened 30-minute performances for three schools. They performed in Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana, and stopped in Pella, Iowa, which is home to multiple churches and Christian schools.

Zweiers said it was a lot of driving – over 70 hours in a coach bus – but all that time together helped him connect with his students.

“As soon as you get students out of the regular classroom and on to a trip like this, you get to know them in a different way. So that’s really fun,” he said. “But it’s also then getting to know people in other parts of the country and getting to meet a lot of new people. Obviously if they’re coming to a Rehoboth concert, they have an interest in who Rehoboth is, or they’re supporters.”

Senior Elysia Choudhrie echoed Zweiers’s comments about making connections, both with her bandmates and new people.

“You get to meet a lot of new people on tour, which is really really fun. You also get to bond with your friends a lot, you’re on a bus with them for a week, so you learn a lot about each other and it’s really fun,” she said.

 

CHALLENGES AND REWARDS

While she did have fun, Choudhrie also said there could be tiring aspects of the tour as well.

“You have to keep your energy up, because you’ve been performing this every day for a week, but it’s other people’s first time watching it, so you’ve got to keep your energy up, which can be pretty difficult,” she said.

But it wasn’t all work. The students did have some time to hang out and have fun. They visited an indoor trampoline park in Michigan, and checked out Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois. They also bowled in Montezuma, Iowa.

Their final performance was at the Winnebago Reformed Church in Winnebago, Nebraska. For senior Lily Phillips, that was one of the most emotional moments of the trip.

“For me, [the hardest part] was probably the last performance and just realizing it was my last ever tour. It was really fun getting to perform, and this was a really fun group of kids,” she said.

Both the choir and band spend each year collecting money for their trips through fundraisers including a fall carnival and selling a variety of food items, including cookie dough and the occasional enchilada.

Reflecting on her time as a member of the Rehoboth band, Choudhrie said she appreciated the opportunity to go on the two tours during her high school career.

“It’s a huge blessing that we have the opportunity to do this. Traveling across the country and making connections isn’t a very normal experience, and I’m just extremely thankful that we got that experience,” she said.

By Molly Ann Howell
Managing Editor

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