Musical ambassadors set for European tour

The Wind Ensemble of Mississippi State University departed campus Sunday [May 8] for a two-week performance tour in Germany and Austria.

The 44-member instrumental group is led by Elva Kaye Lance, director of bands. After a concert on the 11th in St. Gilgen, Austria, the ensemble travels to Germany for seasonal events in Grainau on the 14th and the twin cities of Garmish-Partenkirchen the following day.

"The Wind Ensemble is the premier group in our band program," Lance said. "It has established a reputation locally and nationally for outstanding performances of both contemporary and traditional band literature.

"This tour to Germany and Austria represents the second time since 2008 we have taken our MSU musical ambassadors to international locations," she added, noting that the earlier tour included Ireland and England.

Program selections this year will include the works of German composer Richard Strauss, along with Americans Clifton Williams and John Phillip Sousa, among others.

Assistant band director Craig Aarhus will serve as conductor for "Caccia and Chorale." Associate director Clifton Taylor and trombonist will direct "A Salute of American Jazz," a Deep South spiritual, as well as "Slidin' Down the Mississippi," an arrangement he created especially for the tour.

Lance said the MSU ensemble will join with students from the Alpine Lakes Music School for the St. Gilgen event being held in the former residence of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's mother, now a museum and performance hall. Students from the prestigious St. Gilgen International School will be in attendance.

In Grainau, the concert is being hosted by the municipal band as part of its weekly musical series. The Garmisch event will be part of that city's 2011 Music in the Parks Festival.

When not performing, the students, faculty and accompanying parent chaperones will have the opportunity to visit Germany's Miraphone Brass Instrument Factory in Waldkreiburg and a violin-making school in Mittenwald. In Austria, the students will attend a performance of the Salzburger Kammersolisten, one of Salzburg's top chamber music ensembles.

The MSU group concludes the tour with two days of sightseeing in Munich, Germany, one of Europe's major cultural centers and home over the centuries to numerous well-known composers and artists.

For information on the MSU band program, visit

For more information on the European tour, contact Lance at 662-325-2713 or

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

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