Symphonic band to travel to Costa Rica

Elizabeth Beilman

This summer, WKU’s symphonic band will travel to Costa Rica for a festival sponsored by the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture and Youth.

Gary Schallert, associate music professor and Director of Bands, said the band is traveling to perform in the festival, participate in a workshop ensemble and work with the band directors.

Schallert said they’ll also be visiting schools in Costa Rica to give music lessons to children.

“(Costa Rica is) really trying to develop music education in the schools down there,” Schallert said. “It’s an engagement opportunity for our students to interact with the Costa Rican children and community.”

He said the trip will provide members of the band with a singular experience.

“The value is immeasurable for our students,” Schallert said. “Educationally, I think that’s like hitting a home run.”

Ashley Evans, a Union sophomore and clarinet player, is one of the band members who will be traveling this summer.

Evans is one of the two field commanders for the marching band and is looking forward to picking up tips from the conductors at the festival.

“Every conductor has a different style,” Evans said.

As a music major who plans to enter the education field, Evans said teaching the native children will be a helpful and interesting experience.

“What interests me the most is seeing the way they’re taught,” Evans said. “It will be interesting to see what their system is.”

Percussionist Curtis Turner, a junior from Rockport, Ind., is also going to Costa Rica.

Turner said the band is traveling mainly to partake in an international workshop as the primary working group.

They’ll also be able to interact with students of the area, Turner said.

“We (will) have the opportunity to work with students in San Jose and other parts of Costa Rica, one on one and as a group,” Turner said.

As of now, the band has no set compilation of music for the trip but will have extra practices on Fridays in the spring to prepare, Turner said.

He said he anticipates the trip will provide him with unique experiences.

“I think it’s going to teach me a lot about the culture of Costa Rica,” Turner said. “Going on this trip will give me a special opportunity to reach out to the children of a different country.”

Turner also said it will be interesting to see if playing techniques will differ between the two cultures.

“I like to think that Americans possibly do some things that are different,” he said. “I will be able to see what they do and relate that to how Americans do it.”