Host families sought for international band students

NORWAY – The Goethes Groove Connection Jazz Band, from Emmendingen, Germany, will visit the Dickinson County area from July 18 to July 21, as part of the Blue Lake International Exchange Program.

Families are needed for housing during the students’ visit, which will include a concert at the Kingsford High School Auditorium on Saturday, July 20, at 7 p.m.

The concert will be free to the public and a free will offering will be taken to help cover the costs of auditorium rental for the group’s rehearsal and performance.

Blue Lake is best known for the Fine Arts Camp it operates each summer about six miles east of downstate Whitehall.

Over 5,500 talented young musicians – mostly from Michigan and other mid-western states – are expected to attend Blue Lake each summer.

Blue Lake’s International program began in 1969 when a 90 voice choir toured England, Belgium, and Germany.

Since then, over 10,000 high school musicians wearing Blue Lake uniforms have visited 650 communities in England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary, and Liechtenstein.

In return, nearly 10,000 members of 550 European bands, orchestras, choirs, and dance groups have come to Michigan to perform in communities throughout Michigan and the Midwest.

While touring Europe, Blue Lake groups stay in private homes with host families and the foreign groups do the same when visiting Michigan.

Last year, Blue Lake groups were hosted by more than 1,000 families in Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands while 400 families in 40 Michigan communities hosted members of six European groups that visited Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

This year marks the 46th year of the International exchange program. The group that will be visiting the Dickinson County area makes up just a small part of the 1,000 talented musicians from American and Europe who will participate in the exchange program.

“Please consider opening your home to one or more musicians so that they can experience Yooper life and hospitality,” said Greg Hunt, Norway-Vulcan School District music director. “It is a wonderful learning experience and truly benefits everyone involved.”

For more information and to host performers, contact Hunt at (906) 282-3993 or email ghunt@norwaymi.com.