UNK director of Bands, 308.865.88631
UNK- The University of Nebraska at Kearney “Pride of the Plains” marching band will celebrate New Year’s Day 2009 at St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City with a special performance in the Rome New Years Parade.
In 2006, the UNK marching band was the first band from the United States to march in the parade. They will also be the first band to appear twice in the parade. The group will leave on Sunday, Dec. 28, from Omaha. The trip will be seven days, and they will return on Sunday, Jan. 3.
According to Dr. Neal Schnoor, UNK director of bands, the band offers an international trip every three years, so all members have at least one opportunity to attend.
“It’s important to make an international trip as part of the undergraduate experience,” said Dr. Schnoor. “This is the perfect trip; the students are home for the holidays, and no class has to be missed.”
The group will consist of 95 participants: 75 performers, including 10 marching band alumni, and 20 performers/travelers. Funding for the trip will be provided by students, with assistance from the campus.
According to Dr. Schnoor, the trip is being made possible, in part, through generous support from university administrators such as UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen; Dr. Finnie Murray, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs; the University of Nebraska Foundation; and Dr. William Jurma, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities.
Besides performing in the Rome parade, the band will also be present for the annual New Year’s Blessing from Pope Benedict XVI. The parade route will be along the Via della Conciliazione, one of the streets that leads to St Peter’s Square. Participants will have the opportunity to visit significant historical, geographical and cultural sites in Rome, Naples and Pompeii. The band will also participate in a holiday parade in Sorrento.
“Even though the Rome New Year’s parade is the big performance, the other events are big too,” Dr. Schnoor said. “People still come out and participate.”
In Pompeii, the “Forgotten City,” the group will gain insight into city life at the height of the Roman Empire. Completely buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., Pompeii was preserved in ash and pumice, and hidden for nearly 1,700 years.
Naples will present a city rich in art, culture and history. Among the planned sites to visit are the cathedral of San Gennaro, the churches of San Lorenzo and Gesu Nuovo, the charterhouse of San Martino and the cloister of Santa Chiara.
The Roman Forum and the Coliseum will be two highlights on the tour of Rome, “The Eternal City.” The tour of Vatican City will feature St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s restored masterpiece ceiling.
Among the marching band alumni participating in the trip are three high school band directors: Rebecca Gosnell of Southwest High School in Indianola, Spencer Hansen from Lexington High School and Lindsey Bennett from Elm Creek High School.
The list of the current UNK band students traveling to Rome are listed below, alphabetically, by hometown, state and country. The colorguard members are noted in parenthesis:
Amherst- Chris Gugel
Archer- Amy Neel (colorguard), Jody Neel
Ashland- Kimberly Morwitzer, Megan Smits
Aurora- Jenna Ahrens, Ashley Lawton
Bassett- Cameron Scheibe
Beatrice- Mark Nelson
Bellevue- Kara Dacey
Blair- Helen Breuer (colorguard)
Blue Hill- Danielle Mohlman (colorguard)
Boleus- Emily McIntosh
Central City- Diana Morgan (colorguard)
Doniphan- Kallie McDermott
Farwell- Jennifer Rathman
Fremont- Joshua Steager
Genoa- Blaine Drozd
Gibbon- Amy Smallcomb
Grand Island- Michelle Bergholz, Becky Bervin, Mackenzie Cochran, Katelyn
Grant- Brooke Harris
Hastings- Kathleen Albers (colorguard), Brittney Kramer (colorguard)
Holdrege- Jennifer Nelson (colorguard), Kyla Nelson (colorguard)
Hordville- Trevor Schnabel
Kearney- Stacy Laue, Eryn McBride, Megan Theesen (colorguard)
Lincoln- Leah Bartek, Katy Flentie, Megan Gengenbach (colorguard), Jason
Gfeller, Alicia Hunt (colorguard)
McCook- Tyler Cobb
North Platte- Jordan Blackledge, James Conley
Omaha- Kelci Fulton, Cayle Jones, Katie Trygg
Phillips- David Ziola
Pickrell- Laura Goracke
Ravenna- Brandon Bohn, Scott Bohn
Scottsbluff- Brooke Brown, Amy Krichau
St. Libory- Adam White
West Point- Laura Buse, Phillip Erb
Wood River- Jeremy Uhrich
York- Caryn Vincent
Hoxie- Kylie Lewis
Southfield- Anthony Ford
Springfield- Niki Kadin (colorguard)