Australia, 2018 | Source: Eltham High School student Stephanie Kervin
“Dear BYU Wind Symphony,
“I am writing this letter because I want you all to know how much I appreciated meeting you, working with you, and hearing you play.
“I had high expectations of what levels of musicianship you guys would have, and you exceeded them a million times over. Hearing you play in the concert was incredible. There is not a part of the band I could fault. The brass created an incredibly powerful sound, I was blown away by everything the woodwind did, and the percussion could seriously groove. You created music that was full of life and energy.
“It was always obvious that a university band on an international tour was going to consist of amazing musicians. What was not so certain was whether you were going to be nice people. But I was as impressed with you as individuals as I was with you as musicians. You were willing to talk to us as equals. As high schoolers, we found it really refreshing to talk to a group who didn’t talk down to us and seemed genuinely excited to interact with us, to hear about our lives and share experiences.
“Don Peterson in particular, thank you not only for your incredible musical guidance during the workshop but for being funny and engaging and kind. I know a lot of us were really touched when you told our parents and friends how lucky we are with our music and about the light in our eyes when we play.
“BYU, thank you so much for choosing to come to, of all places, a little public school in the northeast suburbs of Melbourne. The signed picture you gave us is pinned up on the wall next to photos of past performances and gifts from the year 12s. It is a place of honour. I hope you all can feel pride in yourselves as people and as musicians to have made such an impact.”