On Monday, 200 high school music students from around the state leave for Europe. The students will be in Europe for a 16-day tour of seven countries as part of the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music Tour.
Students in concert band and choir have been rehearsing for nearly 10 hours each of the past several days to prepare for performances.
Fred Speck is the director of bands at the University of Louisville. He has accompanied students on previous tours.
“When they play their concert in Switzerland and have had the audience join in in rhythmic clapping at the end of a concert, and the students realize that we just have people from the neighboring towns and communities who love to hear live music making and really appreciate that it is by these young American performers,” Speck says.
The students also will see some of Europe’s cultural and natural sights, from the Eiffel Tower to the Swiss Alps.
Kent Hatteberg is director of choral activities at the University of Louisville. He says the trip is promises to be a significant opportunity to learn about music and more.
“The musical experience is one part of what we do and we believe in that very much,” Hatteberg says. “But those first experiences for young students is what is so thrilling: The first time they view the Eiffel Tower; when they view the Matterhorn for the first time. And so many of them will end up going back overseas for different kinds of activities.”
Students were nominated and selected for the 2008 Kentucky Ambassadors of Music Tour based on their musical talent, leadership and character.