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posted: 7/10/2014 11:32 AM

Germany youth band to give free concert in Batavia

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  • Gymnasium Heide-Ost Symphonic Band of Heide, Germany, will make a stop in Batavia July 13-15.

    Gymnasium Heide-Ost Symphonic Band of Heide, Germany, will make a stop in Batavia July 13-15.
    Courtesy of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

Submitted by By Abby Omerza

The Gymnasium Heide-Ost Symphonic Band of Heide, Germany, will visit Batavia from July 13-15 as part of the Blue Lake International Exchange Program.

While in Batavia, the GHO Symphonic Band will perform a free concert for the community at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 14, at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, 950 Hart Road.

Members of the 49-piece band will stay in private homes while visiting Batavia, according to Abby Omerza, who is making the arrangements for the group's visit.

The GHO Symphonic Band is one of 11 European musical groups what will visit the Midwest during 2014 as part of Blue Lake's International Exchange Program.

Blue Lake is best known for the fine arts camp it operates each summer in western Michigan. More than 5,500 talented young musicians from around the Midwest are expected to attend Blue Lake this summer.

Blue Lake's International Exchange Program began in 1969 when a 90-voice choir toured England, Belgium, and Germany.

Since then more than 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. This month, for the first time, a Blue Lake group will visit Poland.

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

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

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 communities hosted members of six European groups that visited Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.

Nearly 1,000 talented young American and European musicians are expected to participate in the 46th annual Blue Lake International Exchange program during 2014, according to Bill McFarlin, director of the International Exchange Program.

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