By Paul Stanton, director of Schoolcraft bands
Five Schoolcraft and two Vicksburg students were selected over a year ago to travel with the Michigan Ambassadors of Music (MAM) in this year’s summer tour of Europe. Their selection was based on the students’ outstanding musicianship, leadership, and character.
Students had the exciting opportunity to participate in the 16-day performance and educational tour of seven countries. Stops included London, Venice, Paris; Crans-Montana and Zermatt in Switzerland, Vaduz in Liechtenstein, Seefeld and Innsbruck in Austria, and Dachau and Rothenburg in Germany. The performances showcased the talent in the ensemble and proved that these students truly were musical ambassadors.
The Michigan Ambassadors of Music Europe Concert Tour was comprised of over 150 instrumental and vocal students from all over Michigan. Students for the group are nominated by their band and choir directors to participate in the Voyageurs International program, a company based in Colorado. Barry Martin, professor of music at Grand Valley State University and conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band, was the director of this year’s MAM Band.
Each year, students from 25 of the 50 states go overseas to sing in a choir or perform in a band. The next year, students from the other 25 states have the opportunity to participate. Over the two weeks the students were overseas, they had the opportunity to make friends with fellow Michigan band choir members and many remained in contact with their travel companions.
Schoolcraft senior Erin Lockwood said of the tour, “It was an amazing adventure filled with countless new experiences that I’m blessed to have had. MAM allowed us to see beautiful places and learn about the world around us while growing in our musical careers with new friends.”
Many of the students have shared their favorite place to visit was Switzerland, including a trip to the famous Matterhorn mountain. All students can certainly agree their travels this past summer were a life changing experience which has enriched their lives and musicianship.