Paige Stepanian and Momo LaClair
This past summer, select students from Jamesville- DeWitt High School traveled all around Europe to perform concerts. J-D Middle School band teacher Anthony Greene chose four students based on their previous musical achievements to join him in Europe. He chose four sophomores: Sabina Muradova, brothers Caleb and Colby Porter and Margaret Frank. They were sent by the American Music Abroad program to five different countries.
The purpose of the trip was to perform concerts in each country they visited. The J-D group went to Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany and Austria. Muradova’s favorite country to visit was Italy. “The cities were just really beautiful and I really liked the architecture, the Leaning Tower (of Pisa) especially.” she said. Colby Porter also enjoyed Italy the most; “the food was really good.” However, his brother Caleb liked Austria the best; “I really liked the mountains and landscape.” Frank also like Austria the best because they got to visit Mozart’s birthplace. Although they liked different places, “each place was unique in its own way, like they all had cool things about them,” said Muradova..
The band performed seven concerts total: two performances in Germany, two in Austria, two in Italy and one in France. The concerts weren’t performed with just the J-D band, they were with the AMA band, chorus, and orchestra. Many townspeople attended and appreciated the concerts.
It wasn’t all concerts and music, they also spent a lot of time exploring the cities. The students were given freedom to roam and explore each city with friends, as long as they were back in time for their concerts. When they visited northern Italy they got to ride gondolas, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, go shopping and visit the Statue of David. Since they were able to travel to so many places, they got to do a variety of different things. After arriving in Austria, the group took three ski lifts to the top of a snowy mountain. There, they were able to go sledding and tubing. “The funny thing about that is, I remember recalling that the day before that we were swimming in Italy but then the next day we were wearing coats and sledding down mountains,” says Muradova.
This trip was Mr.Greene’s first AMA tour. His two children performed in the band along with the students, and he and his wife were both band directors. This year, the tour consisted of 150 students who were recruited from New England, New York, and Ohio regions. All four sophomores were recommended by Mr.Greene. However, all the students were required to send in audition tapes for the purpose of seating and music selection. Since it was his first time in mainland Europe, Greene loved seeing the famous landmarks and buildings in person. Visiting five different countries, the group experienced a trip they’ll never forget. ,,,,,,,,,,
“Standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or walking in the valleys of Venice, isn’t something found in books or on the internet,” said Greene. Mr. Greene will be attending the tour again in 2018 and hopes to bring along more J-D students.