Students in the Oregon Ambassadors of Music program spent much of the weekend doing intensive rehearsals scattered around the club levels of Oregon State University's Reser Stadium.
But there were other lessons Sunday afternoon on another topic as well: the basics of international travel. Tips included making sure to drink lots of water, advice for dealing with jet-lag and information about how to stay in touch with parents while overseas.
The camp, which started Saturday and wraps up today, is intended to prepare more than 350 high school musicians from across Oregon for a 15-day tour of Europe, during which the students will perform in five countries. In recent years, Lewis and Clark College has hosted the event, but OSU hosted this year for the first time.
Steve Zielke, director of Choral Studies at OSU, said the university was a great venue for the camp.
Zielke said the program gives students a chance to travel and experience performing in venues such as Windsor Castle and San Marco in Venice.
“Seeing Europe while performing music. What could possibly be better?”
Band students in the program will perform a concert at 4:30 p.m. today at OSU’s Parker Plaza, next to Reser. Choir students will perform at 6 p.m. today at the LaSells Stewart Center. The concerts are free and open to the public, but people are asked to bring lawn chairs to the band concert.
After today’s concerts, students will have a day off and then will fly off to Europe.
Annija Sproles, who in the fall will be a Corvallis High School junior, said she’s looking forward to singing at venues like cathedrals during the trip.
“I’ve never been out of the country before. I’ve never been on a flight more than four hours. I am so excited.”
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Sproles said she was looking forward to seeing the world and expanding her perspective. She added that getting to travel would be enhanced by getting to connect with strangers through music.
“Music is a way to break borders and barriers,” she said.
She added that since every student in the program was there at the recommendation of their music teacher, they were all very dedicated. That was good, she said, because the camp was very intense.
Although the three-day rehearsal schedule was difficult, she said, the students were rising to the challenge, which gave them all a lot of confidence.
Caden Buck, who will be a senior at West Albany High School in the fall, was participating in the camp as a vocalist and as a trumpet player.
He said music is a huge part of his life and being able to express that overseas will be amazing.
Buck added that the challenge of the intense rehearsal schedule pushed the students to improve their performances.
He said five years ago, he never would have believed music could take him this far.
“If you work hard and you are passionate, you can go to Europe for 16 days,” he said.