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"My tour experience is all I thought it would be and more. It was truly a learning experience that has strengthened me as a person, a musician, and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I enjoyed the chance to get to know the members of the band and to build and strengthen friendships. However, I am most grateful for the chance we had to touch the lives of the people we met in this part of the country. Sister Soelberg always reminded us that even though we were performing the same concert every night, it was the first time our audience was experiencing it. Taking that to heart, it was amazing to perform with the band and to feel of the spirit that was present at every concert. I cannot begin to describe to you the sensation of sitting in the midst of a performance group like this and feeling the spirit overcome you. There is nothing like it. Thank you to everyone who made this possible and for the love, support, and service provided for us as we traveled across this beautiful country. Tour was a life experience none of us will soon forget."
~Chelsea Broyles Freshman, Music Education, Long Valley, NJ
"The experience I had on tour... is really special. I had no idea what it was going to be like the day we left our little place in Rexburg, ID. I made some awesome friends and met even more amazing people from this part of the country. The love and care I felt from everyone exceeded everything! We had so many people put all their time and love into this and I'm so grateful for them because without them this wouldn't have been possible! I am going back to Rexburg a changed person, a better person, a person who is willing to take in and understand the small things. I learned so much and the music we shared filled everyone's hearts! I grew even more on my horn! I learned to play better with a group and to expect anything! I am excited for the things that I've learned! It will be sad to leave but I'm so happy it all happened!"
~Courtney Wolterman Junior, Music Education, West Point, KY
"One of the many highlights from the trip was during our last dinner together on tour at a stake center in Pittsburg. We showed our appreciation of our drivers, and Sister Soelburg after the meal, and Sister Soelburg shared a few words that really touched me. It was at this moment when I had developed complete appreciation for Sister Soelburg, and all that she does for the Symphony Band. Over the course of the tour my respect for her had been growing, and during her small speech, I came to realize I had so much respect and love towards her. She really is a spectacular conductor who gives so much time and effort to the ensemble."
~Jenny Hinkson, Freshman, Music Peformance, Yreka, CA
"Tour taught me how to interact and connect with my bandmates both inside and outside of the concert hall. Tour consisted of more than just playing; it allowed time for service, learning of many cities' cultures, opportunity to gain relationships with people across the nation, work-shopping with schools, and, of course, growth on our own instruments through concerts.
Before tour, I thought I would be traveling with other students. During tour, I realized I was traveling with friends."
~Lacey Brownell, Senior, Music Education, Missoula, MT
"I had such a wonderful and spiritually strengthening experience on this tour! Even though going on tour gives me less time to spend with my family before my mission, I don't regret going one bit. It made me more excited to serve a mission and it helped me see a bigger picture of God's love for all of His children in all places. And that we weren't the only angels, our audiences and host families were our angels!"
~Brooklynn Peacock Freshman, Music Education, Salem OR
An article about the group when they visited Champion, OH.
"I had the opportunity to attend the concert at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. What a tremendous performance! You have no idea how much joy it brought me. After being raised in the church, I have been inactive for many years now. In the last several months, I've felt a strong desire to come back to church and follow the teachings of the prophets. My husband is a nonmember so I've had a good deal of opposition from him. However, I press on. I just wanted to take the time to let you know that you are doing a very important work! As a musician myself, I was excited to attend the concert. However, I was not prepared for that evening to be a spiritual experience. The last number where the group sang was extremely special for me. From the first note, the Spirit was so strong. It brought tears to my eyes to hear the beautiful words confirming that Heavenly Father is with me in my struggles and quest to come back to his fold. Although I had come to the auditorium and sat alone, I felt the warm embrace of a Father's love reaching through each of your voices."
~Missi Fisher Charleston, WV
"The University and the Church were well represented. The student musicians and their leaders were a pleasure the work with and have in our midst. Brother and Sister Watson were tremendous. You are very fortunate to have them. The performance was exceptional and I've heard a number of nice comments from both the members of the church in this area as well at the school administration officials that helped us host the event. The general consensus is that they would love to do it again."
~Jim Matthews Pittsburgh Stake, PA
"I can't thank you enough for allowing us the privilege of hosting BYU. I am still feasting from the rapturous music. It was absolutely phenomenal. The last selection they sung was angelic. The service you rendered to our campus and offering you gave was a remarkable demonstration of love. In my 34 years as pastor of St. Stephen this was the first time that any predominately white faith based community has come to our community in mass.
Because the media tends to highlight some of the negative elements in West Louisville, the larger community is often left with the impression that there is nothing good. The greater tragedy is not how people outside the community view West Louisvillians but how West Louisvillians view themselves. To be a segregated and socially isolated community can destroy the morale of a community. For one magical weekend those feelings of self loathing was replaced by a sense of pride and self worth. Wow! West Louisville hosted BYU. You made something wonderful happen in our community and for that I will always be grateful."
~Dr. Kevin W Cosby Pastor of the St. Stephen Baptist Church, Louisville, KY
"I expected the concert to be exceptional coming from BYU-I. Three of my children attended at BYU-I and I knew that the talent would be incredible. My expectations were far exceeded and I wish to express my gratitude for your efforts. Every piece of music was exceptional. Thank you so much for touring and visiting Louisville. I realize that you and the symphony band have practiced many hours/days/weeks for your presentation and tour. We are most grateful to receive this beautiful music that has been prepared for us. There were many non-members attending and I have heard many wonderful comments. Of course, this opens many doors for us, particularly with the members of St. Stephen Church and the local community.I could go on and on regarding the uplifting music and the quality of the symphony band. But I would also like to comment on the closing song that the band so eloquently sang. I'm glad that I cannot stand before you and express my gratitude for this song. I don't know the name of the song and I haven't heard it before. This song touched every soul in attendance that night. It pierced my soul and brought me to tears. As I type this message, tears roll down my face as I contemplate the words of courage and faith that this area so desperately needs. As we stood and faced each other, I could feel the Spirit move within us testifying that we would not be left alone. When the song had ended, there was a short but noticeable silence followed by very subdued clapping which was not needed. I would rather that we would have just felt the Spirit and given you the ultimate silence of sincere appreciation and gratitude for what you have given us."
~Tony G. Russell, Shawnee Branch President, Louisville, KY
"I would like to add my great appreciation to that expressed by President Russell. One member mentioned to me that the band grew in strength as the night progressed. Two of our children are percussionists in the high school marching band and one plays the marimba so we felt exceptionally blessed to be sitting right in front of that instrument during the incredible solo that we heard."
~Arthur Day, Crestwood Kentucky Stake President, Louisville, KY