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News for IWU’s Campus

Wind Ensemble Returns After Surprising Trip

The Indiana Wesleyan University wind ensemble returned from a spring break trip that brought unexpected problems.

Professor Michael Flanagin, who has overseen 20 of these trips, explained the purpose of their annual journeys.

“Our goal was to go to a place we hadn’t gone, and that was West Virginia,” Flanagin said. “We spent a little time in Ohio, but we were in schools, both Christian and public schools, as well as churches all over West Virginia.”

During the trip, the group experienced issues that were not planned for.

“On Monday night we were at a church that fed us and we got food poisoning. So that took a toll on the group,” Flanagin said.

Michael Biven, an alto saxophone player who has been a part of the wind ensemble for two years, was one of the victims of the incident.

“I was hit terribly. I had eaten a ton of the food because, I’ll be honest, it was really good… however what it did to me in the hours to come was nothing short of heinous,” Biven said.

Although the sickness impacted the majority of the group, Flanagin said he admired the group’s persistence throughout the rest of the trip.

“They were great,” Flanagin said, “They started contacting me about four in the morning. I had first aid kits and we were putting out just stomach antacids and Pepto Bismol and stuff like that…we ran through that quickly.”

Despite dealing with sickness, the group was still able to perform.

“We even did a concert that night after we got it and it was really one of the best performances,” Flanagin said.

Karena Collier, a flute and piccolo player who has been in wind ensemble for three years, explained how much the group was affected by their trials.

“The food poisoning was definitely a big event, but that helped us get closer together,” Collier said. “After that, we were just so exhausted that like every little thing was harder.”

On top of the sickness, the group also experienced another issue.

“And then we had an issue with a vehicle, that’s not terribly unusual on these trips. And we were able to handle it really well,” Flanagin said.

After handling one problem after another, the group continued to perform.

“The food poisoning, added with mechanical problems in regards to our van, along with the windy and narrow roads, is what made this trip feel more like a journey rather than a simple week of performing,” Biven said.

However, Biven said the group was still able to enjoy themselves.

“My favorite moment of the trip was being able to hike around the mountains and see valleys and beautiful waterfalls with my best friends,” Biven said.

Flanagin said the wind ensemble was rewarded with hospitality and kindness, which made all of the difficulties they experienced worth it.

“When you go to places like West Virginia, where it’s very rural, they’re really excited to have you there,” Flanagin said. “The welcoming attitude of the people was great,” said Flanagin.

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