Pella Chronicle

June 8, 2012

Pella student musician performing in Europe


The Chronicle

Pella — Local high school musician, Conner Naaden, from Pella Community High School will tour Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music (IAM) July 3-18, 2012.

These local students are part of a select group of 308 student musicians, advisors and parents from across Iowa. The 2012 tour is a 20-day event that includes four days of rehearsal in Grinnell Iowa, with a farewell concert at Grinnell College on July 2 (7:30 pm). The Ambassadors then have a 16-day concert tour covering England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein. The students will perform in each country except Liechtenstein.

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 this initial recommendation, the students are contacted about the opportunity to participate in the tour. This year the students perform in either the 190-member band or 112-member choir on the tour. Connor will be playing 1st Chair Euphonium in the band. He was nominated by Director of Pella Bands, Jason Pentico.

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 USAʼs national march, the “Stars and Stripes Forever”, by John Philip Sousa, is a well known and popular march in Europe. The choirʼs opportunity to perform its selections in settings with over a thousand-year heritage gives the students a chance to add a new page in the cultural venue of Europe.

Dr. Morgan Jones, Professor Emeritus from the University of Iowa conducts the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Band, and Dr. Paul Torkelson, formerly of Wartburg College conducts the choir. Thirty-five Iowa music teachers/musicians will 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 2012 European tour is IAMʼs thirteenth trip. Since the group was established in 1988, over 4500 student musicians have delighted European audiences with their performances as Iowa Ambassadors of Music.