The Echo

Band plays at Mall of America

Small ensemble spreads holiday cheer

When Band director Steve Schmitz received an email asking the band to play at the Mall of America, he said he thought it would be a great way to spread holiday cheer.

Schmitz said the band played at the Mall of America for many reasons, primarily to spread holiday cheer.

“25 to 30 of our students (played) some music at the Microsoft store at the Mall of America on (Dec. 17),” Schmitz said.  “Just to kind of bring some holiday cheer to people around the mall, and also some positive PR for the band program.”

Junior saxophone player Braeden Tousson said everyone in the band was invited to play at the event.

“Mr. Schmitz made an announcement during class, anyone who was willing to, in his words, spread holiday cheer to random people in the mall,” Tousson said.

Schmitz said the band played simple holiday music to include everyone in the program.

“(The music) is fairly easy stuff because we have people from all three levels of band combining for this, so it’s fairly easy. It’s all holiday music,” Schmitz said. “We have a Hanukkah piece, and there’s a Native American piece, called the “Huron Carol”, and then some more traditional Christmas ones.”

Tousson said playing the concert gave students the opportunity to work on their performance skills.

“I think it really helps when we have concerts. Because on stage, it’s people you know, or feel at least semi-comfortable with seeing you, but at the MOA there’s a random amount of people looking at you and walking by, watching you play,” Tousson said. So, there is a little more pressure and I feel that when you are involved in more stuff like that, it just helps your nerves during concerts.”

Tousson said the concert was an opportunity to spread holiday cheer to those who need it.

“It’s a time of happiness and giving and being around family, and some people don’t have family,” Tousson said. “Playing is just spreading good vibes to everyone.”

Tousson said music is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

“Mr. Schmitz always talks about how when terrorist groups take over a country, a lot of times the first thing they ban is music, because music is so powerful,” Tousson said. “Music is something that unites a lot of people and at the end of the day, sometimes all people have left is music.”

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Band plays at Mall of America