Custer students head to Europe
Published: Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Three Custer students will take the trip of a lifetime due to their hard work and dedication to music.
Juniors Kristina Clarke and Gessie Heggen and recent graduate Caitlyn Bagley will spend 16 days touring England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany as Midwest Ambassadors of Music, part of Voyageurs International, an organization which takes music from parts of the United States abroad. The Midwest Ambassadors of Music is in its 28th year of touring while Voyageurs International is in its 43rd year.
Students will begin their trip with a four-day rehearsal camp at South Dakota State University in Brookings, where they will meet other students and learn their songs for the trip. On June 26, they will perform the songs in a concert before taking off for their adventure. In addition to performing a variety of songs at historic landmarks, students will have the chance to visit famous castles, museums, iconic landmarks and more.
Custer choir director Elisabeth Cherland nominated a group of students for the trip based on leadership, character, maturity and musicianship. From there students decided if they wanted to participate and commit to the trip. From that group, the three Custer students committed.
“The travel will be so good for them. They will get to experience so much,” Cherland said. “I’m so glad that singing and music can take them there.”
A total of 226 students and 21 adults from South Dakota and southwest Minnesota will make the trip to Europe. In addition to the experience, students will have the option of receiving college credit from SDSU.
“I honestly thought I wasn’t going to do it,” Heggen said. “As soon as I read ‘Europe trip’ I knew it was going to be expensive!”
Trip expenses, which are over $5,000, are fully up to students and their families to fund. In order to help with his trip, Heggen and his family hosted a benefit.
“Everyone in school was really excited and they all told me I should do it,” he said. “The Custer community really came through for me. My parents, friends and family really worked hard for me. I’m looking forward to the trip.”
Students attending the trip also received an executive proclamation from secretary of state Jason Gant from the office of the governor, naming the students as South Dakota’s ambassadors of music to Europe.
“Being from a girl from Hermosa, I never thought I would be doing something like this,” Clarke said. “I can’t wait to see the sites and just be there.”
Bagley is looking forward to singing at historic sites.
“I’m really excited to sing in the Notre Dame cathedral,” she said. “I can’t wait to see a London musical and our day trip to Venice.”
For Heggen, this trip will allow him to see where his idols walked.
“I’m looking forward to the whole trip, but I can’t wait to walk on Abby Road,” he said. “I want to walk where Paul McCartney walked. It will be awesome.”
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