Campus News: Symphonic Band Tours Over Fall Break

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Symphonic Band Tours Over Fall Break
Merritt Jenkins - 10/25/2021

Symphonic Band Tours Over Fall Break

The Symphonic Band toured this past week over Lee's fall break, performing at various churches and schools throughout Kentucky and Indiana.

"My returning students from spring 2020 literally begged me to do this tour," said Dr. Mark Bailey, Symphonic Band conductor. "They had missed it so much, and they feel that nothing beats the community we have as an ensemble, especially when we worship together. I have an incredible ensemble!"

The band, which consists of 53 students, performed over a five-day period from Wednesday morning to Sunday night. They played for three schools, including Austin Indiana High School, Bush Elementary School, and North Laurel High School, as well as at five churches, including Grace Covenant Church of God, Life House Church of God, Man O War Church, Newport City Church of God, and Open Door Community Church.

"The whole nation needs a bath in what we've experienced listening to the Symphonic Band," said Mitchel Tolle, pastor emeritus at Man O War Church of God in Lexington, Kentucky.

Tolle went on to say he wished "the band had the strength and resources to go to every town and village, every church and school, and spread their music, because it would make the world a better place."

The band performed songs such as "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss," "This is Amazing Grace," "Nessun Dorma," "Is He Worthy," and "Beyond the Horizon" while on tour.

"The tour was really powerful," said Justus Dennis, a sophomore music and worship major. "I've never experienced such a beautiful way of using the gifts God gave me to minister to others. Going to churches and schools almost every day was such a wonderful way to show that God is good and speak to them in a language – music – that we understand so well."

According to Bailey, the tour was hard to schedule because of restrictions and the need to keep students safe. This is the first time in 20 months that the Symphonic Band was able to complete a ministry tour. 

"Going on this tour made me realize this band not only encourages me to do better on my instrument, but it is like a family," said Jade Lavariega, a freshmen music education major. "The band members helped me grow spiritually, mentally, and musically. When it came to the services, it was the moments not on the schedule that made me realize God gave me a gift in playing trumpet for this band, and I am going to use that to praise him."

The Symphonic Band has performed at churches across the country and at conferences such as the Christian Instrumentalists and Directors Association National Conference and the Atlanta Instrumental Expo Conference, the largest instrumental church music conference in America. It has also performed at numerous music festivals, appeared on television and radio, headlined important university events, and toured 15 nations around the world.

The 2021 Lee University Symphonic Band consists of musicians that have participated in former all-state and all-regional bands and has a reputation as an outstanding performance ensemble with superior musicianship.

Bailey currently serves in the School of Music as a professor of music. He has advanced training with the nation's best wind conductors, including Eugene Corporon, North Texas University, and Myron Welch, University of Iowa. He is a former president of the Christian Instrumentalists and Directors Association and has served as worship arts pastor in leading churches in Ohio and Tennessee.

For more information about Symphonic Band or Lee's School of Music, contact (423) 614-8240 or

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