Emma Ferguson, left, and Amber Stumpff, both seniors at CCS, spent more than two weeks in Europe performing with the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music Concert Band. In Switzerland, they took time for a picturesque shot in front of the Matterhorn. (Courtesy photo)

CCS musicians experience Europe in Nebraska Ambassadors Concert Band

The summer of 2017 will be one to remember for Emma Ferguson and Amber Stumpff, both seniors at Chase County Schools (CCS).
    The pair spent more than two weeks in Europe during June as part of the 150-member Nebraska Ambassadors of Music Concert Band, where they performed in and visited seven European countries.
    Stumpff performed on clarinet, while Ferguson was chosen for the trumpet section.
    The experience started while they were juniors earlier this year when they auditioned in Fremont, playing part of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” America’s national march.
    That song would become a well-known one to the girls, as it was used as the closing number in each of their European concerts.
    After their auditions, the selections were announced. There were also auditions for a concert choir and orchestra, too, which performed with the band throughout Europe.
    Students who auditioned were first nominated by their band directors. Leadership qualities and playing ability were factors in their nominations.
    Prior to their June 9 departure from Omaha, Ferguson and Stumpff attended a camp in Fremont, where they practiced for three days with their fellow concert band members.
    Concerts were performed in London, England; Innsbruck, Austria; Rothenburg, Germany and Switzerland. The group also toured Paris, France; Venice, Italy; and the small country of Liechtenstein.
    Ferguson stayed in Europe a few extra days, taking the optional trip to tour Greece.
    Both girls found it to be a great experience performing with a much larger band than at CCS.
    “It was fun to play with students in Class A schools who are used to having 200 in their bands,” Ferguson said, “where we have about 50 here.”    
    She said the camp and other rehearsals allowed the band to work a lot on technique, too.
    Stumpff found it rewarding to be involved in a much larger clarinet section with about 20 playing that instrument.
    “There were three rows of clarinet players, where we have about five at CCS. The sound was amazing,” she said.
    Both girls also had their favorite countries.
    For Stumpff, it was Germany. Her eyes lit up when she talked about the Christmas store they visited there with three full floors of ornaments and decorations.
    Ferguson liked Switzerland the best, where she said the people were very welcoming, nice and willing to help.
    While it took musical and leadership ability to be part of the Nebraska Ambassadors, it also took effort and diligence.
    Each participant had to raise about $7,000 to make the trip. Both CCS students organized their own fundraisers.
    Stumpff raised her funds from selling sweet corn and from a quilt raffle, while Ferguson sold personalized cut-out stones for landscaping.

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