FHS students performing in Europe
Fairfield High School musicians Clara Kelley, Taalia Larson, Dakota Webber, Dakota Andersen, Trent Taglauer and Evan Wood are tour ing Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music July 3 through Friday.
The local students are part of a select group of 378 student musicians, advisors and parents from across Iowa. The 2014 tour is a 20-day event which began with four days of rehearsal in Grinnell, and a farewell concert July 2 at Grinnell College. The Ambassadors then have a 16-day concert tour covering England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Liechtenstein, with performances in each country except Liechtenstein.
The students celebrated the Fourth of July in London, then moved across the English Channel to Paris to begin a week of touring.
Iowa Ambassadors of Music tours Europe on alternate years. To be considered for membership in IAM, students must be recommended by their school music teachers as having superior music skills and possessing high character. After the initial recommendation, the students are contacted about the opportunity to participate in the tour.
This year the students perform in either the 200-member band or 150-member choir on the tour. Fairfield students Dakota Webber, alto; Trent Taglauer, tenor; and Evan Wood, baritone; are performing with the choir during the tour, and will be seniors at FHS this fall. Clara Kelley, alto saxophone; Taalia Larson, alto saxophone; and Dakota Andersen, trumpet; are performers with the band.
Larson is a 2014 graduate of FHS, while Kelley will be a senior this fall, and Andersen will be a junior.
After auditions, Kelley was seated second and Lason was seated eighth in their section of alto saxophones, and Andersen was first chair in the trumpet section, receiving a solo in one piece on the program.
Being a member of the Iowa Ambassador of Music tour means that through performance, the participants participate in a sharing of cultures. Most tourists visit and take from their experiences — the Iowa Ambassadors of Music also give. One of the highlights from past tours has been when the students realize the USA’s national march, the “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa, is a well-known and popular march in Europe.
The choir’s opportunity to perform its selections in settings with more than a thousand-year heritage gives the students a chance to add a new page in the cultural venue of Europe.
Morgan Jones, professor emeritus from the University of Iowa conducts the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Band, and Peter Westphalen of Cedar Rapids Washington High School conducts the choir.
Forty Iowa music teachers/musicians assist in the musical preparation of the ensembles. The music teachers instruct the students during the rehearsals in Grinnell, perform in the ensembles next to the students and serve as advisors on the tour.
The 2014 European tour is IAM’s 14th trip. Since the group was established in 1988, more than 5,000 student musicians have delighted European audiences with their performances as Iowa Ambassadors of Music.