SOA's 30th annual concert tour program began in the historic town of Gettysburg, PA. We were on campus during the anniversary of the "Battle of Gettysburg". The 2006 SOA Tour included 229 tour members, including chaperones. Forty-three states were represented, including 13 student alumni.
The audiences everywhere were very welcoming, including those at the two outdoor concerts which encountered some rain. Students felt proud to hear "bravi" from the Italian audience members in Stresa. The performance in Luxembourg's Music Conservatory is always exciting, and again a very enthusiastic crowd showed up in Rosheim, near Strasbourg, France. The choir sang before a nice crowd in Notre Dame Cathedral and also during Mass in St Mark's Basilica in Venice. A special treat for this year's band students was a performance (with the choir) in the other large and well-known gothic church in Paris, Saint-Sulpice. (not only an important historic and religious site, but recently made popular in the fiction novel, "The DaVinci Code".) This performance drew a large crowd of music-lovers.
We had some special soloists this year including alumnus Ryan Karsner (NJ) and Dana Casault (MI) who delighted audiences with "Time to Say Good-bye". Alumnus Miles Jaques, an extraordinary clarinetist from CT, was featured in Rossini's "Introduction, Theme & Variations". We had several outstanding soloists who sang in the combined musical medley of "Fiddler on the Roof". Brandon McInnis (TX) played the lead (Tevia) and often recited the monologues and some solos in the Europeans' native languages. The audiences loved this production, which was written and arranged for professional military musical ensembles!
The 2006 SOA directors were Mr. Randy Yoder and Clyde Barr, who will again be directing in 2007. Memorable pieces include the choir's "Lux Arumque" by Eric Whitacre and "Ezekial Saw de Wheel" arranged by Moses Hogan. The audiences enjoyed watching several of our singers in a choreographed piece featuring songs written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Probably the most exciting piece performed by the band was the famous "Jupiter" from "The Planets" by Gustav Holst. The band also played "Starflash", by Otto Scharz, which was just published this past spring. We featured our low brass in "Rolling Thunder" and a special arrangement of "76 Trombones". Another interesting note - the band performed an arrangement of Saint-Saens' Third Symphony ("Homage" by Van der Roost) in St. Sulpice, which was where composer Camille Saint-Saens' was married.
Everyone loved the standing ovations and the rhythmic clapping at the conclusions of the concerts. We were honored to have the American Consul General at our concert in Rosheim, as well as personnel representing the American Embassy at the Paris concert. We even had some SOA alumni who are now living in Europe, attend our concerts.
Although the summer of 2006 was one of the hottest ever, the group managed to still have a wonderful time! We visited Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of Mozart, during the celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth. We were invited to new town in Austria - Abtenau where the citizens of this town were so excited to have our group, that they had their local band and chorus welcome us and begin the concert. Unfortunately, our part of the concert was shortened due to rain.
In addition, the tour members had a great time getting to make new friends with fellow musicians from around the United States. All-in-all, it was a great group of people seeing and doing great things! We thank the tour members, students and adults for their cooperation and efforts that made it a trip to remember!
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