Music relieves stress for Leah Benthin ’17, a nursing major from Plymouth, Minn.
“It takes my mind off other things and lets me concentrate on expressing the music. I have lots of positive memories from playing music – it calms me down,” says Benthin, who plays oboe and English horn in The Concordia Orchestra.
The Concordia Orchestra, directed by Foster Beyers, starts its tour Oct. 31 in LeMars, Iowa. It will tour through Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota before returning to Moorhead for its home concert Nov. 8.
Benthin enrolled at Concordia because she wanted to be a member of a music ensemble without being a music major. For a time she played in both orchestra and band while carrying a challenging academic load.
“The strong science program here was an attraction for me, but being able to play music at the same time is what brought me to Concordia,” she says. “I love the opportunity for expression that music gives me. It’s a challenge to improve on a piece each time I practice it or perform it.”
Benthin enjoys touring because it affords for bonding with people, both in the orchestra and the audience. Her highlight was the recent tour of the Holy Land where members of the orchestra worked closely with high school students.
“Being able to connect with people from another country and a different culture is a very special experience,” she says. “I’ll never forget the people I met in Palestine and Israel.”
She finds tours to be stressful but fun, too. “I have to stay current with my studies, which is hard to do when traveling. But touring is also a time to bond with all the people in the orchestra and get to know them. We play the same piece night after night and find special parts of the music to focus on that we didn’t know before. So there’s always a sense of discovery on a concert tour,” she says.
Depending on the piece, Benthin plays English horn or oboe. Her favorite on this year’s tour is the “Oboe Concerto” by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
“It’s always been one of my favorite pieces, and our soloist is my oboe teacher, so it’s special for me,” she says.