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Band in Spain

‘Sketches of Spain’ in Spain

With a full season performing a Spanish-music set under their belts, members of Ohio Northern University’s Marching Band jumped at the opportunity to perform their 2009 field show, “Sketches of Spain,” in the mother country.

So, over the Thanksgiving 2009 break, approximately 120 band members traded a free week at home for an unforgettable week in Spain.

While there the band performed songs such as “Malaguena” and “Ballad Bellavia” at two different locations: once in Madrid during halftime of a soccer game and then at a tourist spot in Barcelona. The time the band spent in Barcelona was well appreciated. “The day I spent running around in Barcelona was the single best day I ever spent on a trip,” said Joshua Purk, a senior music education major from Springfield, Ohio.

While in Barcelona, a group of students (Purk included) spontaneously decided to take a bus up a mountainside, interested in a Spanish fortress situated high above. Little did they know, the bus only made half the trip, and the students were forced to walk the rest of the way in order to complete their journey. They continued up the mountain, and at the top sat Castillo de Montjuic, a rarely visited and “breathtakingly beautiful” Spanish castle.

The band members tried to fit into Spanish culture as best as possible. Renee Sammet, a sophomore language arts education major from McComb, Ohio, says, “It took me a while to get used to the midday siesta and the typical dinner meal at 10 p.m.” Meanwhile, Purk found that most Spaniards were kind and patient toward them, even though they couldn’t communicate in the same language.

“Still, a trip never goes according to plan,” said Purk, referencing a few bumps the band encountered along the way. These included a flu outbreak that made the local news and an unwelcome sleepover in the airport during the trip home to the U.S. The group made the best of their situations, however, using the time bonding together, bringing the band closer as a family.

Despite illness and travel hiccups, ONU’s marching band enjoyed its week bonding and performing in Spain. “This is one of those life experiences that you tell your children about,” Sammet said.

Jamienne Scott

Junior, Communication Arts major from Columbus Grove, OH