Each year at Orange Lutheran, our staff and student-leaders work together to create an ultimate preview of what OLu is all about with the goal of inspiring local junior high students. These preview days give younger students a chance to walk through a mock version of a day as an OLu student. The ASB team as well as our spiritleaders and band put on a special pep rally just for them to experience the energy and spirit that our students bring to campus. As a member of our band, I consistently look forward to showcasing our program to other students but chiefly I love adding that element to our pep rallies that help make them what they are. Playing music and seeing new and familiar faces is an incredibly joyful and invigorating experience that I am able to share with new students visiting our campus. 

The ultimate goal of Orange Lutheran’s Preview Day is to recreate the environment of comradery and share it with our visitors. Finding a home for students where they feel comfortable and happy is extremely important and Preview Day is our chance to invite them and make them feel as welcome as possible. I am a huge advocate for that because development as young adults is largely influenced by having others to support and care for us when life gets difficult. I found my home with other instrumental and performing arts students who share my passion and are deeply sentimental about creating music and care very much about each other. The fact that our group at OLu is so small has allowed us to form close friendships and really learn what it means to be a team and develop cooperation skills. Performing with my best friends has impacted me emotionally so much more than I would have expected; making music with other people is a completely surreal experience that is incredibly profound and spiritually rewarding. Learning our repertoire for performance takes nearly the entire semester for us and is usually a very slow process. It has taught us to be patient and work slowly but effectively, meditating on the fact that perfection will not be achieved and we need only do our very best. My woodwind teacher Pedro has taught me many times that it is crucial to be completely at peace while you are practicing because that is when your mind is the most available to learn and is easiest to train your body; when you are not relaxed your thoughts seems to move more quickly which quickly eliminates the slow and methodical mindset and routine that needs to be achieved to truly learn and train yourself, body and mind. Learning and practicing these valuable lessons together has also helped our ensemble grow as individuals who boost each other up which has directly strengthened our performances. 

The home that we have found together as a group, I’ve grown to understand, is also exactly what we strive for as a student body every day. We want to show others that we, as OLu students, have really found each other and can use our bonds to do incredible things. To some of our students, Preview Day may seem to have little importance but the opposite is true; it’s important for us to really showcase our experience at school to others so that future generations can follow our example. The pep rally during Preview Day is one of the most exciting features that the visitors get to experience because the cheerleaders, band, and others get to participate and hype up all the students. Performing for the visitors is always fun and this year was no exception—seeing the joy and pointed fingers as they watch us play our tunes is very rewarding. Seeing that we are bringing joy to our audiences is one of the greatest things that a musician can experience and brings me, as a player, an enormous amount of pride in who I am as a performer and an OLu student. I truly have a passion for creating a welcoming and inspiring environment for others to experience. I cherish greatly the sense of community and belonging that Orange Lutheran provides and am happy to share it with others. 

Written by

Ryan Vandenberg

Ryan Vandenberg, a junior, is a musician who plays in several orchestras and other wind ensembles. He is an officer of instrumental leadership and loves taking care of plants and going out for coffee in his spare time. He also loves reading about romance and realistic fiction and is ready for a great year writing with the other humanities members.