Five band students perform around Europe

By Caroline Chidester

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In July, five members of the UAHS marching band participated in the American Music Abroad Program’s annual trip around Europe. According to the American Music Abroad (AMA) website, the program is “a cultural performance tour of western Europe for high school and college aged musicians.”

The five students that attended were seniors Boyd Landis, Sam Amann, and Steve Nagy, junior Jules Biever, and 2016 graduate Dan Rumpz. While there, the students traveled for 17 days to Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany and Italy.

“Students are carefully selected on the basis of recommendations from their school directors and/or musical achievement demonstrated on audition recordings,” the AMA website states.

UAHS band director George Edge recommended the five students for the audition, along with a few others from different school districts.

“I was asked to be one of six directors [on the trip], and the other directors came from various parts of the country,” Edge said. “I was able to invite students that I knew personally and who I thought would do a fine job in the audition process.”

Students had the opportunity to play at multiple venues in places such as Ljubljana, Slovenia and Westendorf, Tyrol in Austria.

Students were not only able to play concerts for large audiences, but they were also able to travel and sightsee. The students visited Mauthausen concentration camp, Salzburg, Austria where “The Sound of Music” was filmed, the Alps and many other impactful European landmarks.

“It is our goal to see the students grow into responsible and mature young adults as a result of the tour,” the AMA website said. “The focus of our student tours is trifold: musical, cultural and educational.”

Senior Boyd Landis said he feels as though this program met all expectations.

“We saw so many cultural greats,” Landis said. “Like where they shot ‘The Sound of Music,’ caves that look like they came right out of a ‘Harry Potter’ movie and cliff diving from up to 90 feet.”

Edge said the program gave him a better understanding of different cultures and their musical impact.

“It was a fabulous trip in the sense that you could see different cultures. We saw the Croatian people and they presented us music,” Edge said. “We got to see the towns of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and all those great people.”

The AMA states this sightseeing is essential to helping musicians grow into rounded young adults.

“It is our goal to see the students grow into responsible and mature young adults as a result of the tour,” the AMA website states.

“This trip helped me realize that I want to have music as a part of my life long after high school,” Landis said.

“This trip showed me what it takes to be a professional musician.” This, however, is not the end of some of the great opportunities for the UAHS band.

“We are going to play various concerts throughout the season and the marching band will perform at many different venues for football games,” Edge said. “So we’ve got a big year ahead of us.”