Two students from the Langdon Area High School (LAHS)were chosen to go on a three week tour of Europe in early July with the North Dakota State University Northern Ambassadors of Music.
By Lisa Nowatski
Jacob Kram will be a senior this year at LAHS. Jacob Muhs will be a University of North Dakota freshman studying fisheries, wildlife biology, and, of course, taking music classes as well.
The selection process began with the Ambassadors sending out a letter to high school music directors in Montana and North Dakota asking for student nominations based on musicianship and dedication. The LAHS Music Director, Curt Kram, selected Jacob Kram, who plays the trumpet in the band, and Jacob Muhs, who sings both tenor and bass in the choir.
Kram stated, “I wanted to go because it was a once-in-a-life time opportunity to see and experience new places and cultures. Also, I wanted to play in a large and talented band and learn new things about music.”
The large group was interesting for the two to travel with as they had to have eight buses for everyone and, several times, multiple hotels were needed to house everyone. The band was split into two bands which alternated between playing the first half and the second half of the concert.
“However, it was worth it because I had the opportunity to perform with and meet so many amazing and talented people,” Kram shared.
The group also got to experience castles, cathedrals, mountains, the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, and a Holocaust camp.
“It was truly amazing to visit places that I read about or saw in pictures and on TV,” Kram stated.
During the three week European trip, the Northern Ambassadors visited London, England; Paris, France; Liechtenstein; the municipality of Crans-Montana, Switzerland; Seefeld, Austria; Venice, Italy; Rothenburg, Germany; and Athens, Greece.
Though the group traveled to Austria, the concert was rained out, and the performance in France was canceled due to terrorism concerns.
“We traveled Europe singing in a choir of 180 people. In total, there were over 400 people with the bands as well,” Muhs said.
Muhs explained the group’s itinerary in detail with their initial European performance taking place in London for about four days. From there they traveled by ferry over the famous English Channel to get to France where the group spent another four days in Paris.
Following their stay in the City of Lights, the group traveled to the city of Crans-Montana located in the heart of the Swiss Alps of Switzerland.
“From Switzerland we went to Seefeld in Tirol, Austria which a number of years ago held the winter Olympic Games,” Muhs shared.
This was not their only stop in Austria as the group also traveled to Innsbruck, Austria where one of the world’s most renowned classical composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lived. After Austria they went to Rothenburg, Germany where the group gave their last performance of the trip.
“All of the places we stopped and sang at least once or maybe twice. I, also, got to go on the extension trip to Athens, Greece – just as a little extra to the trip which was an amazing time,” Muhs added.
Kram and Muhs were both in agreement that their favorite country of the trip was Switzerland. Kram stated that Switzerland was his favorite country “because of the gorgeous mountain views, quiet villages and towns, and the extremely nice people. The most memorable aspect of the trip were the people that gathered to listen to our music. The crowds were large and very enthusiastic about the music that we performed. It was great to see how people from different cultures could unite through music.”
Muhs said that the concert in Switzerland was “the most memorable part of the trip for me. They really enjoyed all the groups that came through and sang and played for them. We were the biggest group to come through their town so they really enjoyed us as our director had us give three additional encores! I enjoyed every moment of it.”
The Northern Ambassadors of Music was started in 2001, under the direction of NDSU professor and Director of Bands Dr. Warren Olferta. Since its inception, the tour has grown to a group of over 350 participants and staff that travel every year on the European tour.