Kent Hatteberg, director of choral activities at UofL, and Frederick Speck, director of bands at UofL, will lead about 200 Kentucky student musicians to six different European countries this July as part of the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music program.
The Kentucky Ambassadors of Music is an educational program designed for music honor students to perform and share their talent while gaining cultural enrichment abroad. Hatteberg and Speck have been leading students on the tours every other year since 2000.
Prior to the trip, there will be an intensive camp for the musicians at UofL June 25-29. The students will give two pre-tour concerts June 29 in Comstock Hall at the School of Music. The concert bands will perform at 5:15 p.m. and the chamber orchestra and choir will perform at 7:15 p.m. Both concerts are free and open to the public. The trip to Europe runs from June 30-July 15.
This year’s group will perform in England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy during their 16-day trip. The students will be split into two concert bands, a concert choir and a string chamber orchestra.
The 2014 ambassadors are mainly high school students with a few college students who were nominated while still in high school. All were nominated for the program by their high school music directors or private teachers based on their musicianship, leadership and character.
“One of the beauties of the whole program is that regardless of whether a student lives in an area with large music programs or not, if they’re talented they have the opportunity to be nominated,” Speck said.
The students will learn as many as 30 pieces to perform during the trip, many of them classical arrangements with historical ties to the locations the group will visit.
“It’s such a rewarding thing to see their faces as they perform,” said Alexis Paxton, choral director at Louisville Male High School. Paxton is attending the trip this year with six students from her high school. “To watch them singing in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, for example, you can tell it really assimilates what you’ve been trying to teach them all along.”