The Homes Away From Home…
For 47 years, it’s been traditional for the musicians who make up the American Wind Symphony Orchestra to live with local families for a few days at each stop on the concert route. Whether traveling through the U.S. or abroad, the experience of getting to know the local residents has long been a most-rewarding highlight for these fine young performers.
The Orchestra’s community residency program is put into place well in advance of upcoming tours. Committees at each performance site take great care in matching host families with the musicians in the group, whose ages average out to 23 years, and who play instruments from the woodwind, brass, or percussion families. In spite of the fact that these young, professional players are a diverse group whose faces may change from year to year, there is always one constant: Whoever the players, they share a common love for travel, for music, and for making new friends.
One of the many benefits for the host family occurs when there is a child in the home who studies the same instrument as the guest musician, leading to invaluable interaction between the two. Informal coaching may take place, along with personal encouragement and advice about further training, resulting in mutual respect and the bond that common goals so often create.
In commenting on this aspect of the tour, Robert Boudreau, founder and director of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra has said- “This phase of our residency program is extremely important. We offer a rare opportunity to a child whose sole experience with a musician may have only been at a distance, in a concert hall or in a student-teacher relationship. It also gives the people a chance to know us better and helps us feel as though we are part of the community."