FHS musicians touring Europe

Thirteen musicians from Fairfield High School will tour Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Tuesday through July 18 as part of a select group of 390 student musicians, advisors, and parents from across Iowa.

The tour includes four days of rehearsal in Grinnell, with a farewell concert at 7 p.m. Monday in Darby Gymnasium at Grinnell College. The Ambassadors then have a 16-day concert tour through England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein.

The students will perform in each country except Liechtenstein.

The IAM tour 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 strong character. After this initial recommendation, the students are contacted about the opportunity to participate. This year the students perform in either the 200-member band or 150-member choir.

FHS students in the band are Maxx Anderson (tenor sax), Anatta Charoenkul (alto sax), Michael Holt (percussion), Madison Kraemer (flute), and Austin Kruse (tuba). Jim Edgeton, FHS band director, nominated the students.

FHS students in the choir are David Burnett (tenor), Julia Fritz (soprano), Aven Gottshall (soprano), Megan Higgins (soprano), Gunnar Mattson (tenor), Mitchel Melvin (bass), Devika Pharasi (alto), and Calista Rowe (alto). Zach Reiter, FHS choir director, nominated the students.

Being a member of the IAM tour means that through performance, the participants participate in a sharing of cultures. Most tourists visit and take from their experiences -- the IAM 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 over 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, is the founder and executive director. William Carson, director of bands at Coe College, is the administrator and tour director, and conducts the IAM band. Lee Nelson, of Wartburg College, conducts the choir. Forty 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 2018 European tour is IAM?s 16th trip. Since the group was established in 1988, over 5,000 student musicians have delighted European audiences with their performances as the Iowa Ambassadors of Music.