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Sept. 6, 2023

Graduate voice: The power of music and travel

Luke Haight is a saxophonist from Clarkston, Michigan, who recently returned from an education abroad experience in Israel directed by music faculty Tasha Warren with assistance from Guy Yehuda. Luke studied in the College of Music primarily under the instruction of Professor Joseph Lulloff, completing his bachelor of music degree in saxophone performance with a minor in arts and cultural management. He now works for Michigan State University in the University Arts and Collections division.

Music has the capability to transcend human differences and unite people from all walks of life through its universal melodies. Nearly 11 years ago, when I began learning saxophone, I could have never imagined where music would lead me – or how much it would impact the people around me.

While playing saxophone at Michigan State University, I have had the privilege to perform in several remarkable ensembles including Symphony Band, Concert Band and the Spartan Marching Band. My interest in chamber music sparked when I began playing in my saxophone quartet, PULSE, and my reed quintet, The Goat Rodeo.

Luke Haight holding a saxophone.
Luke Haight. Courtesy photo.

As a student in the College of Music, I was itching to participate in an education abroad suited for classical saxophonists. Luckily, during my final semester of undergrad, I discovered the "Chamber Music Education Abroad Program in Israel."

I spent 11 days traveling through Israel visiting cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Masada and the Dead Sea region. In Tel Aviv, I had the opportunity to attend an unforgettable Klezmer workshop where I learned all about Klezmer music and its significance to Israeli culture. In this workshop, I developed my improvisation and aural/listening skills while pushing myself outside my comfort zone.

In addition to the workshop, we had three planned performances spread throughout the country (Haifa, Kibbutz and Masada). The Kibbutz performance stood out to me because of the incredible people I met during it. The Kibbutz lifestyle and camaraderie are much different than in the United States. Observing these differences made the audience connection that much deeper. The last performance in Masada was unforgettable for its scenic outlook and historical significance. In this final performance, each student performed a Klezmer improvisation within the Masada desert. This was a very special moment to share with my friends as we witnessed the Israeli culture coloring our very own playing.

I am forever grateful to have participated in the Chamber Music in Israel education abroad program. Combining music and experiential learning together has shifted my desired career path and opened my mind up to the possibilities of chamber music. Thank you to the Michigan State University College of Music for developing and providing such a remarkable experience for students. Little Luke would be geeking out if he knew where music would take him!

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