On Wednesday, March 22, a group of 47 musicians from Colorado Christian University’s School of Music flew out of Denver for a historic tour of Italy — the first international tour for CCU’s major ensembles. Spanning nine days, the CCU Symphonic Band and Mainstream Jazz Ensemble visited five cities in Italy and performed a total of five concerts.
A different kind of mission trip, hundreds of people were exposed to the music ministry and gospel message shared by the students’ performance; the trip was co-sponsored by the School of Music and CCU2theWorld.
After landing in Milan and enjoying a walking tour of Venice, the opening Friday night performance was at Teatro Alta Forum, a theater in Campodarsego, Padua Province, near Venice. This performance was the opening night for the 27th Annual International Music Meeting, with a musically sophisticated audience comprised of musicians and musicologists alike.
“We were all taken aback by the long — two to three minutes — applause at the end of that concert,” said Mark Dorn, professor in CCU’s School of Music. “The audience was so appreciative with shouts of ‘Bravi!’ ‘Maestro!’ and ‘Bravissimi!’”
Other performances included a hilltop performance at Pieve di San Leonardo church in the town of Cerreto Guidi, Tuscany; a school exchange performance at Giosuè Carducci State High School in Pisa; in a cathedral in the center of Rome; and in the Palazzo Chigi in Aricia — a palace where Mozart himself performed.
All of the concerts included a repertoire of classical music, Italian opera, and New Orleans-style jazz music. The American march, “The Washington Post,” was a nightly hit with the Italian audience.
Amidst performing in a beautiful setting for a musically passionate audience, Dorn explained that the real highlight of the tour was the ability to share the love of Jesus Christ. “I remember one teacher at the school in Pisa commenting, ‘You could see the passion in your students,” shared Dorn, “and when I replied that it is for Christ, she said, ‘You can see that.’”
Dorn continued, “In every concert, and in every encounter, we sensed the Lord’s incarnational presence; the gospel being preached through music, word, and love. A truly molto bello trip!”
Members of the community can experience a taste of their tour of Italy by attending the Symphonic Band’s concert on April 18 and the Mainstream Jazz Ensemble’s concert on May 5. Both concerts will include photos, memorable moments, and the music performed on the tour.
For more information about upcoming concerts and recitals for the School of Music, visit ccu.edu/musicevents.