March 31, 2023

Newton High School student musicians to perform in Europe

Local high school musicians, Adrienne Bergman, Evelyn Berryhill, Maddy Berstler and Amber Sorenson all seniors at Newton High School will tour Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music July 3-18.

These local students are part of a select group of 350 student musicians, advisors and parents from across Iowa. The 2016 tour is a 20-day event that includes four days of rehearsal in Grinnell, with a farewell concert at Grinnell College (Darby Gymnasium) at 7 p.m. on July 2. 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. Adrienne Bergman plays the French horn, Evelyn Berryhill plays the clarinet, Madison Berstler plays the trumpet and Amber Sorenson plays the alto saxophone.

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 Forever”, 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, and Dr. William Carson, Director of Bands at Coe College, conduct the Iowa Ambassadors of Music band, and Dr. Lee Nelson, of Wartburg College, conducts the choir. Thirty-five 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 2016 European tour is IAM’s fifteenth trip. Since the group was established in 1988, over 5000 student musicians have delighted European audiences with their performances as Iowa Ambassadors of Music.