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UNI School of Music students to travel to Costa Rica for Promising Young Artists program

Posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2015

For the fifth time in the program’s history, a group of exceptionally talented UNI School of Music students has been invited to Costa Rica as part of the Promising Young Artists of the 21st Century program. Rodrigo Duran, director of the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center, extended the invitation. The group will travel to Costa Rica from September 26 through October 6, and will perform throughout the region in two concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Eugene O'Neill Theater in celebration of their 70th season, as well as three other concerts in San Jose and Guanacaste.

UNI students Aaron DeSantiago of Council Bluffs, Aaron Brown of Urbandale, Kayla Kjeldseth of Sioux City, Megan Grey of Cedar Falls and Michael Gookin of Fairfield will travel with UNI School of Music Associate Professor of Opera and tour Director Mitra Sadeghpour. The group spent one intensive week of rehearsal in August prior to the school year putting the whole show together, with the assistance of student Assistant Director Alexandra Saulsbury.

Sadeghpour noted, “In preparation for our tour, in addition to learning the music, staging, and dancing, the students have presentations on the history, culture, and ecology of Costa Rica, we met with Costa Ricans currently living in Cedar Falls, and we learned the Costa Rican national anthem. We are so looking forward to sharing American Musical Theatre with our audiences in Costa Rica, but we also know that we are going to grow so much by traveling, meeting the people, and learning more about the world. We are grateful for the opportunity, and proud to represent UNI in Costa Rica.”

The students are thrilled for the opportunity to perform and immerse themselves in the Costa Rican culture. “I am most excited about the rehearsals and performance with the National Symphony Orchestra,” student musician Megan Grey said, “Rehearsals of that magnitude are so exciting, and I can’t wait to see how our group can feed off of the energy that the Costa Rican musicians will bring to the music and the collaborative experience.”

John Vallentine, Director of the UNI School of Music, stated “This is an extremely prestigious invitation for the UNI School of Music to send talented singers and a pianist to Costa Rica, as promising young artists of the 21st century. This is the fifth time that UNI has been selected to participate in this performance tour throughout Costa Rica. The students have been invited to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra, which is a remarkable opportunity for our students to perform as professional musicians and to represent Iowa and the United States.”

To follow the group on their travels via their blog, visit https://unioperablog.wordpress.com/

For more information on the tour to Costa Rica or the UNI School of Music, contact Caroline Boehmer, UNI School of Music communications and operations coordinator at 319-273-2028 or caroline.boehmer@uni.edu.