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Wichita State orchestra sets sights on Pacific Northwest after funds for Europe fall short

Natalia Korenchuk and other members of Wichita State’s orchestra rehearse at Duerksen Fine Arts Center on Thursday. The group is findind it difficult to raise money for a trip to perform in Austria.
Natalia Korenchuk and other members of Wichita State’s orchestra rehearse at Duerksen Fine Arts Center on Thursday. The group is findind it difficult to raise money for a trip to perform in Austria. File photo

Wichita State University’s symphony orchestra won’t make it to Europe this spring but it is hoping to tour the Pacific Northwest as a backup plan.

The orchestra had been invited to represent Kansas at the 2014 American Celebration of Music in Austria, but it needed to raise about $160,000 by Friday for 60 students to make the trip. It fell about $50,000 to $60,000 short of the goal, Mark Laycock, director of orchestras and associate music professor at WSU, said Friday.

Instead the orchestra is targeting a tour of the Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., areas in May, using money generated by its European fundraising, as well as contributions from orchestra members and help from student fees.

Organizers of the Austria festival have told WSU that the invitation to perform there can be extended to another year when the orchestra has a better chance to raise the necessary funds.

Laycock said the buzz created by media reports of its efforts to get to Austria has helped raise awareness and generate discussion about the plight of Shocker musical organizations to tour and recruit.

And, while it isn’t Europe, the Pacific Northwest is an attractive destination for the orchestra, he said. Recruiting would be the key goal. WSU could visit 18 to 20 high schools, perform at public concerts in the largest cities in the region, attend concerts by those cities’ orchestras and get in some sight-seeing, he said.

The orchestra needs to raise another $35,000 to $40,000 to make the trip and is actively pursuing leads, Laycock said.

“I think it’s a realistic goal given the buzz this has created,” he said.

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