Support our mission
 
The Honors Band rehearses during a session  at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival on April 4, 2012.  The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
The Honors Band rehearses during a session at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival on April 4, 2012. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Honors Band rehearses during a session  at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival on April 4, 2012.  The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
The Honors Band rehearses during a session at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival on April 4, 2012. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Alex Forkner, a Kaiserslautern senior, sings along with the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir during a rehearsal, Tuesday. The annual festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Alex Forkner, a Kaiserslautern senior, sings along with the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir during a rehearsal, Tuesday. The annual festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Honors Band, under the direction of guest conductor Thomas Fraschillo, rehearses during a session  at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
The Honors Band, under the direction of guest conductor Thomas Fraschillo, rehearses during a session at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the choir rehearse "Flanders Field" by Paul Aitken, based on the World War I poem by John McCrae, during a session at DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Members of the choir rehearse "Flanders Field" by Paul Aitken, based on the World War I poem by John McCrae, during a session at DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Ramstein junior Brianne Slack plays the piccolo during a band rehearsal at the Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Ramstein junior Brianne Slack plays the piccolo during a band rehearsal at the Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Thomas Fraschillo, this year's guest conductor for the DODDS-Europe Honors Band makes a point during a rehearsal Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Thomas Fraschillo, this year's guest conductor for the DODDS-Europe Honors Band makes a point during a rehearsal Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Guest choral conductor Edith Copley leads the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir through a rehearsal Tuesday. The Honors Music Festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Guest choral conductor Edith Copley leads the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir through a rehearsal Tuesday. The Honors Music Festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Ramstein's Ross Cowart plays bass during a rehearsal at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival in Oberwesel, Germany, Tuesday.
Ramstein's Ross Cowart plays bass during a rehearsal at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival in Oberwesel, Germany, Tuesday. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the band at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival rehearse during a session Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Members of the band at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival rehearse during a session Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Edith Copley, this year's guest choir conductor, leads the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir through a rehearsal Tuesday. The Honors Music Festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
Edith Copley, this year's guest choir conductor, leads the DODDS-Europe Honors Choir through a rehearsal Tuesday. The Honors Music Festival, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A musician makes a note on her sheet music during a band rehearsal at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain.
A musician makes a note on her sheet music during a band rehearsal at the DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival Tuesday. The annual program, which concludes with a concert in Wiesbaden Thursday night, drew 160 vocalists and instrumentalists from high schools across Europe, as well as Bahrain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

OBERWESEL, Germany - Students from 21 DODDS schools in Europe and Bahrain have been tuning their instruments and their voices this week at an annual music festival, preparing for a study-capping concert Thursday at the historic Wiesbaden Kurhaus, where celebrated orchestras and even Elvis Presley have performed.

A total of 160 high school students from Department of Defense Dependents Schools are taking part in the annual DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival.

"With the love of music that we all have, it just meshes us all more together and it makes us feel sort of like one big family for five days; it's really an amazing feeling," said Incirlik junior Krystal Bowen, who plays French horn.

The voices of the Honor Chorus and the instrumentalists making up the Honor Band were chosen from the more than 400 recorded applications submitted this year, the most ever, according to the festival's project officer, Hope Matthews.

Guest conductors also travel from the United States to help instruct and inspire the musicians. This year, Edith Copley, professor of music and director of choral studies at Northern Arizona University, and Thomas Fraschillo from the University of Southern Mississippi, were the guest conductors for the chorus and band, respectively.

"I know it says brass band, but it needs to be soft," Fraschillo advised the band members during Tuesday rehearsals of Pierre La Plante's "American River Songs."

Despite the seriousness and demand for perfection, conductors also used touches of humor to get their point across.

"I don't need nuclear oboe," Fraschillo quipped to Ramstein freshman Sam Ervin when his C note wasn't coming out clean.

At Chorus rehearsals, Copley's light-hearted approach had the students laughing as much as singing.

The chorus rehearsed a variety of pieces, including "Dixit Maria" by Hans Leo Hassler and the whimsical "Animal Crackers, vol. II" by Eric Whitacre.

Ramstein senior Spencer Coakwell, who sings tenor in the chorus and plans to attend Brigham Young University to study film, said the variety of songs keeps things interesting.

"Events like this really teach you how to feel the music, which takes it to the next level," Coakwell said.

Brussels senior Claire Rumery, an alto singer with the chorus, who will be attending the University of Northern Colorado where she hopes to study musical theater, can relate, citing her favorite piece the choir is performing this year, the World War I-inspired "Flanders Fields."

"I get into music a lot," Rumery said. "Whenever I'm on stage, I just kind of imagine if that were me and imagine if I was in those shoes of the people who had to go through all the suffering" in the war.

The kid's love for music was evident everywhere, even during breaks, when students continued to sing and practice.

"After rehearsal, the music's just still in your head, so you can't help but to hum it or sing it," said Coakwell.

After days filled with rehearsals, the musicians kept their groove going in the evening, participating in talent shows and dances. They were also treated to performances from military bands.

"A lot of the people I hang out with are sports people, so when I say ‘Oh, I can't go to this, I have rehearsal or I have practice,' they don't understand that, in my life, music comes first," Rumery said.

pattonm@estripes.osd.mil

DODDS-Europe Honors Music Band and Chorus Concert InformationOBERWESEL, Germany - Admission to Thursday's 7 p.m. concert at the Friedrich von Thiersch Saal of the Wiesbaden Kurhaus is free, but tickets are required for entry. Those who have not already made reservations can pick up entry tickets at the Kurhaus on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The event can also be seen online live or after the concert at www.doddshost.net. No password is required for online viewing.

--Mark Patton

Migrated

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up