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Lack of funds jeopardizes WSU orchestra's trip

Published on -1/27/2014, 11:26 AM

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Wichita State University's symphony orchestra has been invited to represent Kansas at a musical festival in Europe but may have to forgo the trip because of the cost.

The 2014 American Celebration of Music asked the orchestra to perform in Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, as well as Prague in the Czech Republic. But the trip would cost about $3,500 for each of its 60 student members, said Mark Laycock, director of orchestras and associate music professor at Wichita State.

Some members have committed $1,000 of their own funds toward the trip but they still need about $120,000 by the end of this month to make the trip, Laycock told The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1fj4N5N ).

John Wiscombe, president of festival organizer Music Celebrations International, said a big percentage of the money goes toward airfare and the rest includes lodging, meals, transportation and rehearsal venues.

No state dollars are available and the college has limited funds, said Rodney Miller, Wichita State's dean of the College of Fine Arts.

"Wichita State does not have in place any continuing protocol for financing or paying for trips by large organizations," he said.

Orchestra members have formed a fundraising committee, delivered fundraising packets to local businesses requesting help and created a crowd-funding website through the WSU Foundation. One business has contributed, said senior Jordan Wells, a clarinetist with the orchestra.

"It was a very generous donation, but it doesn't even make a dent," she said.

The orchestra is waiting to learn if it will be approved for more help from student fees.

Wade Robinson, vice president of campus life and university relations, said the orchestra could get $1,000 to $1,500 per member from student fees, because the request involves international travel, but that would still leave the organization short.

Orchestra members tried to remain hopeful.

"I consider it an honor to be able to represent this school in Europe," said senior Kristen Weddle, a cellist. "They don't take any Podunk school."

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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