Lee University's Symphonic Band has returned from a mission trip to Cuba. The Cleveland, Tenn., musicians were the first collegiate concert band to visit the country since 1958, according to officials at the university.
The trip included two concerts at high-school music conservatories in Havana, one at the Baptist Seminary of Havana, and a joint concert with the National Concert Band of Cuba.
At the rehearsal with the National Concert Band, donated instruments and supplies were distributed to the Cuban band members. The instruments were personal contributions from members of the Symphonic Band and Lee's Department of Instrumental Music.
Tiffany Feltner, a band alumna and instrument repair technician, went on the trip to perform needed repairs on instruments belonging to the Cuban musicians. Sigma Alpha Iota, a women's music fraternity, donated more than $500 in repair supplies. In all, more than $5,000 in instruments and supplies were donated to musicians in Cuba.
Moises Hernandes, supervisor of instrumental music activities in Cuba, coordinated the trip with Dr. Mark Bailey, conductor of Lee's Symphonic Band. Hernandez invited Bailey to return next year to conduct a concert with the National Band of Cuba.
"Lee students were extremely moved by the great need of the musicians in Cuba. The trip was a terrific combination of cross-cultural experience, service, ministry, and education," said Bailey.