2008 marked the 32nd consecutive year that Sound of America has presented concerts throughout Europe. As in the past, the audiences were fabulous and the students performed with skill, talent and emotion.
SOA Participates in special World War I Commemoration Event:
This year, SOA was invited by the historical and regional government associations in Eastern France to perform a special concert for their commemoration ceremonies of the American involvement to aid France during World War I, as well as the Armistice and end of a very deadly war. This was a special opportunity that became the first time that Sound of America has traveled to the region of Meuse and Verdun, France. Not only were we given a meaningful tour of the largest American Cemetery outside of the U.S., but SOA gave a special ceremony, raising an American flag (donated by the Exchange Club in Carlisle, PA) in the honor of those Americans who gave their lives to end the war and the invasion of France. The choir also sang in tribute at the cemetery.
SOA was welcomed by not only local French dignitaries, but also the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs of the American Embassy, and over1000 spectators. SOA mebers were thanked by the French by their incessant demand for more encores, and also by providing a wonderful French catered dinner, and special reserved seats to the final showing of the special "sound and light" outdoor theatrical event featuring over 300 actors, live animals and polytechnical displays depicting the "Great War". It was a day not to be forgotten. We were treated like royal guests by the French. It was a wonderful exchange of music and emotion commemorating the history of our two countries working together in 1918 under difficult and grisly circumstances. Newspaper article. 2nd Article 2nd page of 2nd article
Other concerts: A full house of enthusiastic music lovers welcomed the Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus to Cortina's (Italy) new concert hall. SOA was delighted to perform in such a modern and acoustically musical hall. Additionally, audiences in Luxembourg and La Chaux-de-Fonds were particularly outstanding in both of their state-of-the-art concert halls. As always, choir performances in Notre Dame of Paris and St. Mark's Basilica in Venice were a highlight to our students.
The summer of 2008 was the first time SOA took a special trip to the quaint town of Mondsee, Austria. The SOA chorus sang an impromptu performance in the famous, ornate church, whose location was the interior wedding screen for the film, "The Sound of Music."
What else did we do? In addition to the previously mentioned activities and concerts, SOA students explored the medieval town of Rothenburg; the hilltop fortress of Salzburg; the hugely historical and mystical city of Venice; the jagged mountainous beauty of Cortina; the Roman city of Verona; the grace and beauty of Stresa on Lake Maggiore; the breathtaking scenery of the snow capped Alps in the Jungfrau/Grindelwald region of Switzerland; the excitement of bustling Paris with it's museums and famous sites such as the Opera House and Eiffel Tower; as well as Luxembourg's hospitality and emotional flag raising ceremony at the American World War II cemetery.
Music: Some musical highlights include the choreographed choral selection - "It Don't Mean a Thing: The Best of Duke Ellington"; and other favorite selections such as "Omnia Sol" and a choral version of "William Tell Overture". Featured singers (Corbin Iverson from Utah and Jerilyn Boudreau from Connecticut) performed a duet of "The Prayer" bringing audience members to tears.
The Band played favorites such as "American Overture for Band" and featured skilled trombonist, Lyman McBride, from Colorado) on "The Bluebells of Scotland". Combined numbers included a professional score of "South Pacific" and also "Arise, O God, and Shine", in additional to our traditional patriotic hymns.
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