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Journal Writing Project: Music is a world of understanding

Fri, Nov 9th, 2012
Posted in All Journal Student Writing Project

Kirsten Ruen

By Kirsten Ruen

A trip of a lifetime—No, a one-time kind of deal—Or, how about, a life changing experience. Whatever you want to call it, it was all but a waste of time! This summer, my European tour of seven beautiful countries was the best thing that has ever happened to me, and rarely can I get it off my mind. A little over four months ago, I had no idea what it would be like to travel with 260 teenagers across Europe, how busy the streets of London actually are, or how much music can bring any group of people together to have a good time.

I will tell you a little bit about the music program I went with, first, before I start telling you about all the good stuff! Minnesota Ambassadors of Music is a choir and band program where top music students from all around the state are nominated by directors from their high school. Nominated students then get the opportunity to perform in a seven-country European tour. With help from many amazing music staff, this program was led by Chip Williams and his wife, Joni Sutton. The choir was directed by Mr. Bill Krinke and Chip directed the band. A total of around 150 singers and 130 musicians had this opportunity of a lifetime.

When I signed up for the trip, I was more interested in the sight-seeing and just the fact that I was going to be in Europe. But, during the tour, I realized how much more I appreciated music. I felt as if my love for music had blossomed into something beautiful. There was never a song we sang that didn’t give me goose bumps or a band piece that didn’t make me eager to play more. The feeling was so fulfilling. The crowd was definitely the best part of the concerts. Elderly ladies and gentlemen danced to French Festival, a band piece. Thunderous applause filled basilicas after each song, like Wana Baraka, a choreographed choir song. The audience got into every song we performed, with smiles across their faces. Even occasional “whoops” and cheers from the crowd! It seemed to me that Europeans have a great admiration for this kind of music.

Meeting new people was another thing I cherished about this trip. I went on this trip only having one person I knew, my best friend, Megan, also from LHS. Amazingly, it only took me a few days to know my fellow ambassadors as if I had grown up with them. It is so comforting to know that there are people out there who share the same interests as me. I could be myself around them, and that’s what I loved.

Fifty new Facebook friends later, I am still keeping in contact with every lovely person I met on the trip.

The last thing I realized while on the tour is that we all have something in common. No matter what country you’re from, what language you speak, or what religion you practice, we are all the same people. There is one thing that can bring us together, music. Music is the language that we all can speak. It shows emotion and tells a story that words can’t. A whole new way of communication is through music.

I am more than blessed to have had an opportunity like this, and not only did it spark a bigger interest in music for me, but my want to travel more. I’m already planning for another trip abroad in the future!

Kirsten Ruen is a student at Lanesboro High School. She is one of 8 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its fourteenth year.

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