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Jessie Streed ’08 and Christina Aho ’07

Jessie Streed ’08 and Christina Aho ’07 play saxophone with the St. Norbert College Wind Ensemble in Austria in May.

August 2007

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Student musician turns translator

Jessie Streed ’08 got to apply her linguistic as well as her musical skills during the St. Norbert College Wind Ensemble’s tour of Europe in May.

Streed, a saxophonist and German minor, was asked to translate the concert program and introduce pieces for the audience during two performances in Austria. Before the trip, she met with Suzan Odabasi, a German exchange student at St. Norbert, who helped her prepare and assisted in translating difficult phrases.

Although she had nine years of studying German in an academic setting under her belt, Streed said she was nervous about the prospect of taking the microphone in front of native speakers for the first time.

But she was extremely well-received by the audience, she said. They responded with cheerful applause each time she spoke. Several Austrians complimented her after the concerts, and Streed said they were “very supportive”—they were grateful that she made the effort to speak their language.

Streed’s positive experience as the wind ensemble’s translator reinforced her belief that “everyone should have the opportunity to learn a different language,” not only because it is educational and enjoyable, but also because it empowers people to unite across cultural and continental boundaries.

The wind ensemble’s tour included three performances in Austria and sightseeing in the historic cities of Budapest, Graz and Eisenstadt. In Stallhofen and Retz, the ensemble performed with local community bands and shared dinner, dancing and conversation with the Austrian musicians afterward. The final concert, in Vienna’s St. Michael’s Square, drew an appreciative audience of Austrian music-lovers and passing tourists from around the world.

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