Music leads De Soto trio to Europe
Two recent De Soto High School graduates and a Mill Valley High School sophomore experienced the most exciting trip of their young lives this summer and had the chance to perform music in five European countries.
Shannon Bunce and Kahlen Ryba, both 2001 DHS graduates, and Kahlen's younger sister Caite Ryba traveled across Europe with the Kansas Ambassadors of Music group from June 10-25.
The group traveled to London, Paris, Venice, Austria, Switzerland and Rothenburg, Germany to perform their music and take tours around the cities. Prior to arriving in Europe, band members practiced for several hours a day at Wichita State University under the direction of WSU professor Victor Markovich
Bunce, a floutist, said the constant practice before leaving Kansas helped her become better at playing music. Bunce is considering playing flute at Kansas University, where she will be a freshman this year.
"When we went to Wichita State it was like non-stop practicing," Bunce said. "I got better with the rhythms and moving my hands quicker."
While the music was the reason behind the trip, Bunce was also pleased with the fact that she was able to explore a different part of the world, especially England.
"I saw Abbey Road and that made me happy since I'm nuts about the Beatles," Bunce said. "I loved seeing the history and the old buildings in many places. I would like to go back to London sometime."
Some of the other sightseeing highlights for the De Soto trio were a trip to Buckingham Palace, climbing the Eiffel Tower, and visting a fortress in a small German village.
Kahlen Ryba, a bass clarinet player will join the Kansas State University Orchestra Band during her upcoming freshman year. With so many band members from across the state, Kahlen took advantage of the opportunity to make new friends during the trip.
"The Swiss Alps were really awesome and we could look outside from our hotel room and see them," Kahlen said. "I liked meeting so many new people and connecting with them. Shannon, Caite and I still have really good friends that we made from the trip."
Kahlen also recognized music as a universal theme throughout the trip and attributed much of tthe group's success to the direction of Markovich.
"Dr. Markovich was really awesome and brought out a lot of technique in people," Kahlen said. "People who listened to our concerts (in the other countries) could understand us through the music."
Caite Ryba, a percussionist preparing for her sophomore year at Mill Valley High School, said she felt privileged to go on the trip normally reserved for juniors and seniors. When Caite found out her older sister would be going on the trip, she inquired with DHS band director Justin Love about going. Caite said the unforgettable trip has sparked her interest in both music and travelling.
"This trip makes me want to travel more and go to different places," she said. "It also makes me want to do band more."
Kahlen was glad that her younger sister could be part of the group that traveled to Europe. She said it was something they can look back on and cherish for years to come and would also encourage anyone with a similar opportunity to pursue it.
"It was nice to have her (Caite along) and when we are older we will be able to look back and talk about the trip," Kahlen said. "You shouldn't ever pass up something you dream of doing. You should always make sure you try it."