Dozens of students from a northwest Iowa college band are headed to Mexico for Spring Break next month — but it won’t be a typical vacation of beaches and booze. The 66-member Northwestern College Symphonic Band is headed to the state of Chihuahua to minister through music.
The band’s director, Tim McGarvey, says the trips can be life-changing for students as they experience new cultures, rehearse with professional musicians and share their music. McGarvey says they’ll perform in several venues in and around Chihuahua for a number of people who rarely have the chance to hear American band music. The tour includes a joint concert with the State Philharmonic Orchestra at an open air venue that seats 15-thousand.
McGarvey says they’ll be playing both American and Mexican music on the tour, which will encompass much more than just the songs. McGarvey says "Part of the project for this tour is a mission project, having a chance to share our faith in God with those with whom we come in contact. In addition to the concerts, we’ll be doing some work in an orphanage that’s down there and also a couple of soup kitchens." The band from Northwestern, in Orange City, took similar trips in recent years to Venezuela and Ukraine.
Some Iowa college students will head for warmer climates during Spring Break to get wild, but McGarvey says it didn’t take a hard-sell to get the band on board for the Mexican trip. McGarvey says "They know that part of what we do every year is travel, most often that’s here in the country but there are occasions we have the opportunity to travel abroad. So it doesn’t really become a big problem with students, convincing them this is a great thing. They’re excited about it and they wouldn’t trade this experience for any other." The Northwestern tour to Mexico will run March 3 to 13.