Highlights from the 2014 Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus Tour of Europe


We were happy to have Dr. Nancy Klein and Mr. Clyde Barr again as our directors this past summer. It was the initial trip for our accompanist, Erica Hansen. Our choreographer was former SOA member, Typhani Russo. Initially, it seemed to be of concern that the 2014 group was a bit smaller than the previous recent years . . . but their sound was round, full and balanced!. The 2014 SOA musicians made an oustanding musical ensemble that performed well even during rather difficult musical pieces such as Leondard Bernstein's Candide Overture or Rene Clausen's serene Set me as your Seal.


Students from 35 states came together with the purpose of performing on a professional level for audiences in the US and Europe.They succeeded in touching audiences especially with their emotionally-packed combined pieces such astwo John Williams pieces,Hymn to the Fallen and Dry Your Eyes Afrika.The former is the theme to "Saving Private Ryan" and featured a slide show at the US concerts, while the latter is from "Amistad".Other favorites included a medley of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess and a medley of old Disney favorites, featuring Mr. Barr, the band director, directing with Mickey gloves. Hadley Strelau of NY, an alumnus was chosen as our featured soloist, and Typhani Russo, also an SOA alumnus was our choreographer!


This was the first year we decided to give a treat to the band members, since they have two less performances than the choir, due to restrictions of the great cathedrals of Notre Dame, Paris and St. Mark's. Venice. Three vibrant and knowledgeable SOA alumni that have been and currently are profesional musicians, spent time in sectionals with our students. Dr. Aaron Patterson, Ssg. Victor Barranco and GySgt Jonathan Bisesi worked with the students to give them technicaland professional musical training, and to give them an opportunity to discuss music opportunities and how to obtain them in the professional music world. It was such a success that we plan on doing it again for 2015! See more about these clinicians here.


The SOA Tour members explored medieval Rothenburg,still surrounded by ramparts and moats. Although not a new concert location, but it was our first time staying in the quaint town of Inzell,a town nestled in the Bavarian Alps. Students explored Salzburg's HohenSalzburg fortress, Mozart's home, the Mirabell Gardens and of course, a visit to see the film-version of the Von Trapp mansion was in order. Students had fun touring the Salt Mines in miners' outfits, and racing down the Alpine Slide in Austria.After our tour, many students took gondola rides in Venice and took in the sights before the choir sang at evening Mass in St. Mark'sBasilica.


Of course, Stresa and Grindelwald were favorites, due to their spectacular locations along a lake and in a ski-resort town surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Students explored the island of Isola Bella and its palace as well as hiked in the Swiss Alps to reach amazing views.Some even did the zip line!

The tour ended with a fun visit to Paris,where students visited famous museums, the Paris Opera, and went up the Eiffel Tower, among other activities.It was the first time SOA visited Montmartre in many years - a nice evening was spent in this quaint Parisian quarter.The grand finale was the concert in Luxembourg's very fine concert hall at the Conservatory of Music. Crowds here, and at all the other concerts finished with standing ovations.We dedicated the "Hymn to the Fallen" to one of the representatives of "Friends of US Veterans", who always met with us at the American Cemetery who had suddenly passed away just before our tour. As usual,SOA tour members retired flags in the US Cemetery in Luxembourg, where they raised two new ones donated by former SOA parents.

The SOA tour members became a very close group of friends who enjoyed eachother as much as visiting Europe.They were a very appreciative and respectful group of students that Americans should be proud to have represent them overseas.We are very proud of them!


We will be uploading our 2014 Photo Gallery in the next few days.


td 10-31-14