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When rising junior Tori John started band in fifth grade, her instrument was bigger than she was. Though she’s grown a bit since then, Tori still holds the same passion for playing her baritone saxophone. At Olivet, Tori has continued her musical journey, now participating in Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, the Marching Comets and the Pep Band. She also takes private lessons to focus on her individual skills on a deeper level.

Tori, an exercise science major, enjoys each activity for different reasons.

“In Wind Ensemble, I like playing classical pieces and older works,” she said. “I like the freedom Jazz Band offers. Saxes rule the scene! I get to play the way I want to play with improvisation. I’ve continued private lessons past high school because it allows for finer finessing of an instrument. You get to go more in-depth.”

Music has allowed Tori to develop leadership skills as band manager and field commander for the Marching Comets.

“Being the manager has taught me a lot about time management and communication,” she said. “I take care of inventory, uniforms and minor repairs. I also make sure the marching band equipment gets properly moved and stored.”

Most importantly, however, are the relationships Tori has made in band. The Marching Comets arrive on campus a week before the rest of the student population, which gives them a chance to get a head start on getting to know other students. Tori believes that this is the time a lot of friendships form.

“I love the family you create in marching band,” Tori said. “I’ve been introduced to so many people. Everyone has different mindsets. This shows you that things aren’t always the same, and you’re not always getting the same perspective.

“I’ve also learned how to cooperate with everyone. For example, in honors band, you put aside everything and you create something absolutely incredible.”

The power of music has certainly shaped Tori’s experience at Olivet. But Tori’s involvement in music doesn’t stop at the end of the school year. She performs in a community band during the summer and plans to do so long after graduation.

Above all, though, Tori follows one principle in music and in life.

“You have yourself, but there’s always that extra step you can take to improve yourself or help someone else,” Tori said. “Take that extra step and just start walking with it.”

To learn more about Olivet College and its music program, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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