“One of our aims is to keep up the tradition of swing and jazz music in our area, the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate,” said Markus Lueke, associate principal of Rittersberg High School and director of the Rittersberg Big Band. “The other aim is to establish contact with other young jazz ensembles of interested partner high schools in the U.S. My students speak English fairly well and are looking forward to getting to know people from the U.S.”
The Rittersberg Big Band is made up of 36 students ages 14-20, plus three teachers. Kaiserslautern is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, about one hour from each Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Mainz, Trier and the French border. Kaiserslautern is near Ramstein Airforce Base, one of the largest U.S. military bases in Europe, and the Landstuhl Medical Center where most of the wounded American soldiers from wars in the Middle East have been and are being treated, Lueke said.
While in the United States, the band has performed in Boston, West Hartford, Conn., Columbia, S.C., and New Orleans with sight-seeing stops in New York City and Washington, D.C. The visiting students will be housed as guests of NSU music faculty and will travel on to Burleson, Texas, for a concert on Oct. 22 before their flight out of Dallas back to Germany on Oct. 24.
For more information on the Rittersberg Big Band, visit bigband.rittersberg.de.