Duane Bierman, director of the UNK Pride of the Plains marching band, says they’ll leave Wednesday for Sandefjord, Norway. Bierman explains how it all came about:
“One of my friends from graduate school is a Norwegian band director,” Bierman says. “I went to visit him in 2012 to work with his bands for a few days. At the end of my time there, the band director and the parent organization of that band asked if I’d be interested in bringing our entire marching band over sometime, so we’ve been planning it ever since.”
According to Bierman, the trip would not have been possible if not for the generous support of university administrators and staff.
“We understand and they understand the importance of travel like this, immersion into different cultures, the benefit to our students, both educationally, culturally and just as human beings, being a world citizen,” Bierman says. “We’ve been granted assistance monetarily for these students from our department and from the college and from the chancellor.”
The National Day parade is something like the 4th of July celebration in America, he says. In addition to performing in the parades, the UNK delegation will also get to do some exploring to learn a little bit about the European country’s heritage.
“We’re able to visit a world heritage site on the coast where there’s a Viking burial site,” Bierman says. “We’re able to visit a very old, 11th or 12th century wooden stave church, and the parent organization from the Norwegian band has set up all of these activities for us. That makes it more of a whole-package cultural trip for us.”
The band is scheduled to return on May 19th. UNK’s band takes an overseas trip every four years with visits to France and Italy being among the most recent ventures.
By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney