Posted by: sdvondran | March 11, 2010

Look at where music can take you…


I am sure that we will all be frantically packing tonight, running through our ‘packing list’ just one more time to ensure that we haven’t forgotten anything.  I’m additionally confident that very few of us will get a good night’s sleep; we’ll spend most of our time in bed thinking about our exciting journey ahead.  This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I would ask that at some point tonight, amidst all the hussle and bussle, that you pause for a moment and think about how special this experience is.  As I was running around yesterday, a quick memory popped into my head that I would like to share with you now.

I grew up in a very small town in Ohio (much like many of your hometowns).  Seated on a wood plank that served as a bench, I learned to play trombone in the boys’ locker room of my school.  My family didn’t have much money but they did scrape up enough to buy me an instrument and encouraged me to “stick with it — good things will happen.” Boy were they right.

Many years later, while I was in college at Ohio State, I had the opportunity to march in the Rose Bowl Parade and Game (something I watched countless times as a kid); take a three-week tour of Europe; travel to places like Toronto, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, yes, even Boise, Idaho…all because of music.  Later in life, I got to perform (on two separate occasions) at Carnegie Hall – a poor kid from the country playing on the world’s greatest stage.

My mother said to me then and I say to you now: “look at where music can take you.” Tonight, I’d like you to take just a few seconds and think about this. When we land in Rio, think about how all your hard work in practice rooms and on football fields led to this moment. It’s special. Cherish this, absorb this, love this.

All the best to each of you as we embark on this journey, together.

Shawn Vondran



  1. this is awesome. your an inspiration

  2. 🙂 very inspiring. You never gave up and look where it has taken you! Hope you have a fantastic trip!

  3. this is wonderful! music can take you anywhere and i loved that you never stopped believing in yourself and your music.

  4. I am so proud of the great attitude and work that the wind ensemble is exhibiting on their trip to Brazil! I look forward to being able to follow along with you all on your trip through the blog. (Thanks Abby!) As I sit in the pit here at Mendota and play Les Mis I will be thinking about you all and wishing I could have come along. All the best and travel safe!

  5. What an exciting trip for these students! This is a great opportunity to share their love of music with the Brazilian people. Good luck! I look forward to following your blog.

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