By: Madeline Linnell ‘17
An anonymous organization donated money for Gordon College string majors to go on tour—and the students are ecstatic. Cassandra Moore ’18, one of the ten students touring, said she was “completely surprised” and “quite excited” about the prospect.
For the inaugural tour, the Gordon band will sojourn to Seoul and Hong Kong in May 2017 under the leadership of Professor Sarita Kwok and Professor Susan Kim. The nature of the weeklong tour is a matter completely left to the Gordon professors to decide, as the anonymous donor detailed no terms or conditions. So, when asked why these two locales, Kwok said it was mainly due to her connections in the cities, connections formed during her experience travelling to either place through the President’s Office. Now, however, she anticipates a trip accompanied with students, some of whom have never left the U.S.
Students will perform in a variety of venues, from concert halls to churches to schools. They will also help lead workshops alongside Kwok and Kim. The expected buzz of activity will be condensed into a single week, with about two and a half days in Seoul and four days in Hong Kong. With this in mind, Kwok said jet lag might pose a challenge for the group. Though touring presents its own set of challenges, such challenges will only help students to learn more about collaboration and working under pressure.
Moore finds great value in the collaborative dimension the opportunity presents. She said, “I look forward to working so closely with my colleagues and that I can share the music we have here at Gordon.”
The chamber music Moore and her fellow string majors will perform will be pieces they have been practicing over the course of this academic year. One may get a foretaste of their ensemble Dec. 6 at a Gordon-held concert beginning at 7p.m. From the pieces the students perform at this concert, string faculty will then pick-and-choose which ones to play for the tour.
The tour, looming in the near future, has really electrified the “string community.” It has “provided so much motivation for string majors,” said Kwok. The anonymous organization donated an annual restricted gift, but the tours will happen every two years. The next tour is tentatively scheduled for the Spring 2019. The word “grateful” was repeated again and again when both professor and student were describing their emotions to the Tartan reporter.
Kwok said, concerning her students, this tour will “open their eyes to so many things,” professional, cultural, musical things. The musical aspect will be especially significant, as students will be exposed to how it crosses “boundaries,” a sentiment expressed by Moore. Music is capable of doing so due to its inherent qualities. As Kwok said, “Music is a universal language, and it does transcend cultures—and that’s an incredible thing.”