This weekend, the Wartburg College Symphonic Band will embark on a run-out to Algona, Iowa.
Every year, the band goes on a run-out, which is a 24-hour trip to the hometown of one or more of the band members. The band plays a concert on Saturday evening, stays with host families in the town that night, and small ensembles from the band play special music during worship in churches throughout the town the following day.
“It’s a different type of performance,” Ethan Connors, the president of the Symphonic Band, said.
Typically, the band performs at the high school that one of the band members graduated from. The audience includes friends and family of the Symphonic Band members in addition to high school students and their families.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get out and play for a bigger audience,” Connors said.
The trip is coordinated primarily by the student or students whose hometown the band is visiting. This year, band members Alexander Hamilton, Rebecca Jennings, and Daniel Haack, all from Algona, organized the trip.
“Organizing the run-out takes a lot of team effort from both the Wartburg band and the town whose high school we are visiting,” Jennings said. “There’s a lot of communication.”
The student leaders are responsible for tasks such as arranging a concert venue, organizing meals and transportation and finding host families for the band members.
“The bottom line is taking the group off-campus for 24 hours,” Dr. Craig Hancock, director of the Wartburg College Concert Bands, said. “It involves a ton of other things.”
In addition to providing the band members with the opportunity to perform off-campus, the run-out also serves as a recruitment technique for Wartburg College.
“It’s a good experience for students to see what college band is like,” Connors said. “We showcase our abilities to students looking to do what we’re doing.”
Since the band typically performs at a high school during run-out, they use that opportunity to get Wartburg’s name out to high school students searching for colleges.
“The run-out really represents what Wartburg stands for. It represents the college,” Jennings said.
Run-out is also about building relationships within the band as well as between the band and the community they are visiting.
“I have long believed that band is not about the music, but the people,” Hancock said. “It’s a great bonding experience for the members of the band. The group comes back stronger and smarter about everything.”