International Touring Program
Spreading music through our international touring program
These tours have not only provided students with the chance to travel to new places throughout the world, but also have enabled them to benefit from developing friendships in each of the countries visited. The touring program has benefited significantly from relationships with UNO’s International Studies and Programs (IS&P). This internationally acclaimed program has helped to make many of the arrangements and contacts through its some thirty sister universities throughout the world. This relationship has given students and faculty the means to connect with their counterparts and in many instances develop lasting friendships.
Over the years students have maintained these contacts through the latest technological applications enabling them to exchange not only ideas but music and more! Through the efforts of IS&P each individual who travels with the delegation is treated beyond being just another American tourist, they become very special guests in the countries in which they are visiting as well as ambassadors representing UNO, Omaha, the state of Nebraska and the United States of America.
Another significant enhancement of the UNO International Music Touring Program is its partnership with the Omaha Sister Cities Association (OSCA). Omaha shares sister city relationships with Braunschweig, Germany; Shizuoka, Japan; Siauliai, Lithuania; Naas, Ireland; and, Xalapa, Mexico. OSCA and its local affiliates have further enriched the touring program through their numerous connections in each of these cities. The organization has been invaluable in helping to provide one-in-a-lifetime experiences as the music groups travel abroad.
It should also be noted that the UNO Music Department International Touring Program consists of more than having its students and faculty tour internationally. The program also provides the opportunity for performing ensembles from our sister cities and universities to visit Omaha. This additional aspect adds still another dimension to the touring program, enabling students and faculty to reciprocate some of the gracious hospitality that they were afforded while guests in the countries of the touring groups visiting Omaha.
While Omaha, Nebraska is located close to the geographical center of the United States, UNO music students have had two decades of international enrichment that have left them with life-changing events and attitudes.
2013 UNO Jazz Combo Tour of Lithuania
In May of 2013 The UNO Jazz Combo led by Dr. Pete Madsen became the third UNO jazz group to tour the Baltic States. The delegation from UNO included Senior Vice Chancellor BJ Reed, Dean of International Studies and Programs Tom Gouttierre, Director of International Programs Merry Ellen Turner, Director of the School of Public Administration Ethel Williams, and Theater Professor D. Scott Glasser. Arriving in Riga, Latvia, the group was greeted by friends from Siauliai, Lithuania and Riga. The group was immediately whisked away to a welcome reception at Siauliai University (SU) featuring a tasting of Lithuanian cuisine and entertainment by "Saule"-the university's folk ensemble featuring Lithuanian instruments, folk songs, dances, and traditional costumes.
The next day was dedicated to a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the sister university relationship between UNO and SU. In addition to a formal ceremony highlighting the dozens of exchanges that have occurred over the past 15 years there was a gala concert featuring the UNO Jazz Combo, Saule, SU's Studium Mixed Chorus and Pavasaris Women's Chorus, and the folk-rock ensemble Kitava. UNO students joined forces with SU students on several numbers including Route 66, Senor Blues, and Amigos Para Siempre. It was here that our group picked up our featured singer for the duration of the tour: SU student Agne who quickly became an honorary member of the UNO Jazz Combo.
The following morning the group visited the famous Hill of Crosses outside Siauliai on the way to a day of sightseeing in Riga, Latvia. The day concluded with a performance at a Riga jazz club that quickly evolved into a jam session with some of Riga's best jazz musicians.
The traditional UNO vs. SU basketball game took place the next morning with the traditional outcome of the Lithuanians emerging victorious. Both sides had a great time and enjoyed interacting in a casual environment of good sportsmanship and fun athletic competition. The afternoon featured a concert in the Siauliai amphitheater with other ensembles from throughout Europe including our friends from Riga in an excellent concert band performance conducted by Janis Purins of the Latvian Academy of Music. In the evening our hosts treated us to a dance performance by the professional Russian group "Todes" at Siauliai Arena.
The next two days were spent on the Baltic seaside at the national park on the Curonian Spit with performances in the beautiful resort towns of Juodkrante and Nida. In addition to enjoying the stunning scenery, our delegation was treated to a yacht ride on the Baltic hosted by the mayor of Nida.
The week concluded with a performance at the beautiful Siauliai Cathedral with Pavasaris Women's Chorus. After the concert our hosts provided a farewell party at Kurtuvenai Regional Park complete with delicious food and drink, horseback rides, and hours of Lithuanian folk dances and polkas! UNO students made many friends with Lithuanian students throughout the week and there were many tears shed and good will gifts exchanged during the farewells.
UNO Department of Music International Touring Program History
1986 Young Nebraskans Travel to Japan and the Philippines
1987 Chamber Choir Tour to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria
1989 Jazz Band Tour to Japan
1996 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic
1998 Concert Choir Tour to Lithuania and Sweden
2000 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Denmark
2000 Concert Choir Tour to Germany, Czech Republic, Romania and Moldova
2002 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to France, Belgium and Germany
2002 Concert Choir Tour to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Finland
2003 Jazz Ensemble I Tour to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia
2004 Concert Choir Tour to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
2004 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to Ireland, Great Britain and France
2004 Faculty Jazz Groups Visit to Shizuoka
2006 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Norway
2007 Concert Choir Tour of Belgium, Netherlands and Germany
2008 Chamber Choir Tour to Mexico
2008 Jazz Band Tour to Lithuania and Latvia
2008 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Tour to Czech Republic, Austria, and France
2008 Percussion Ensemble Tour of Japan
2010 Jazz Ensemble Tour of Asia
2011 Heartland Community Flute Choir Tour of The Netherlands, Belgium and France
2012 Student and Faculty Tour of Vietnam
2012 UNO Jazz Combo Tour of China
2013 UNO Jazz Combo Tour of Lithuania