FC students tour Europe with Kentucky Music Ambassadors

By Alyssa Book

As teens were busy enjoying their last weeks of summer, some got the opportunity to leave the country to pursue their passions.

Students from different schools were chosen to represent the Kentucky Music Ambassadors program as they traveled to Europe. FC students were joined by choir students from different schools around Kentuckiana.

FC graduate Hayley Fien enjoyed being with other choir participants.

“It was a great opportunity to meet new people from the same area that I never would’ve met because our schools don’t interact. I made some great friends that I will definitely keep for as long as I can.”

Senior Ted Hartog also said it was a good experience being with kids from different choirs and spending so much time together made it easy to branch out and meet new people.

Some locations that were visited included the London Embankment next to the River Thames, St. Severin in Paris, the Pfarrkirche in Seefeld, Austria, Mondsee Basilica in Austria, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Franziskanerkirche in Rothenburg, Germany. Music genres performed were  classical religious hymns, some American classics and some gospel music.

Fien described the daily schedule as jam packed and always having something fun to do.

“Well, depending on where we were, we would wake up around 7 for breakfast, maybe do an hour or two of sightseeing, possibly a performance around 2 or 3 from the band, then more sightseeing, then a performance by the choir and orchestra after dinner.”

The trip was led by University of Louisville choir director Dr. Kent Hatteberg. Many teachers and parent volunteers were also involved in the program. The trip was planned and prepared by Voyagers International.

Not all of the students had parents with them to share in the experience. Senior Regan Platt was one that went two weeks without her family.

“It wasn’t too hard to be away from my family at first because of all the chaos and excitement of arriving in Europe. After the first week or so it really hit me how far away I was and that was hard. Communication was little to none as I didn’t have my phone and I think that was the worst of it. Yet I knew that they were fine and I would see them soon, so I always kept that in my mind and just focused on enjoying the experience.”

Hartog was thankful for the opportunity, but was glad it was just a visit and claimed he would not want to stay there long term.

“It was a nice place to visit, not a nice place to live. I got homesick because water wasn’t free and you have to pay for bathrooms.”

With every person taking in the same sights and singing the same songs, each location struck different chords with students.

Fien’s favorite place was Switzerland while Platt was impressed by the atmosphere in London.

“It is a completely different culture and every street leads to something new and exciting. It was as if I’d stepped into a storybook. Truly it was just as I’d imagined. Rainy and overcast skies yet still just wonderful,” said Platt.

Students got to spend two weeks traveling Europe and making lasting memories that will stick with them forever.

Platt described the trip as majestic and as something that changed her entirely.

“I hold a new view of the world and what it holds, all the pictures we see in textbooks are real, they aren’t just flat images on a page. It is only when you see these that you realize how intricate this world is, your view shifts. Everything seems so much smaller and yet bigger at the same time. I know what it is to sit on the side of the Seine and watch the sunset, what it is to stand on top of the alps, I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, and I’ve climbed the rocks out over lake geneva….so many experiences of which I will never forget. I learned what it is to be filled with wonder knowledge, and even now after all this I know I have to go back.”

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