Local high school musician, Mackenzie McFate from Toledo, Iowa will tour Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music (IAM) July 3-18, 2014.
MacKenzie is part of a select group of 378 student musicians, advisors and parents from across Iowa. The 2014 tour is a 20-day event that includes four days of rehearsal in Grinnell Iowa, with a farewell concert at Grinnell College on July 2 (7:00 pm). The Ambassadors then have a 16-day concert tour covering England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein. The students will perform in each country except Liechtenstein.
Iowa Ambassadors of Music tours Europe on alternate years. To be considered for membership in IAM, students must be recommended by their school music teachers as having superior music skills and possessing high character. After this initial recommendation, the students are contacted about the opportunity to participate in the tour. This year the students perform in either the 200-member band or 150-member choir on the tour. Mackenzie will be singing Soprano with the choir.
Being a member of the Iowa Ambassador of Music tour means that through performance, the participants participate in a sharing of cultures. Most tourists visit and take from their experiences - the Iowa Ambassadors of Music also give. One of the highlights from past tours has been when the students realize the USA's national march, the "Stars and Stripes Foreve~', by John Philip Sousa, is a well-known and popular march in Europe. The choir's opportunity to perform its selections in settings with over a thousand-year heritage gives the students a chance to add a new page in the cultural venue of Europe.
Dr. Morgan Jones, Professor Emeritus from the University of Iowa conducts the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Band, and Peter Westphalen, of Cedar Rapids Washington High School, conducts the choir. Forty Iowa music teachers/musicians will assist in the musical preparation of the ensembles. The music teachers instruct the students during the rehearsals in Grinnell, perform in the ensembles next to the students, and serve as advisors on the tour.
The 2014 European tour is IAM's fourteenth trip. Since the group was established in 1988, over 5000 student musicians have delighted European audiences with their performances as Iowa Ambassadors of Music.