The Wind Ensemble heads to Ireland in its first overseas tour


The Radford University Wind Ensemble is going to Ireland for an unprecedented tour in March. Though smaller ensembles from the Department of Music have traveled overseas, the Wind Ensemble is sending 42 students and four faculty members to present three performances.

Twenty years have passed since the ensemble last traveled and it has never performed internationally until now.

Director of Bands and Instrumental Music Education, Wayne Gallops, is leading this effort. The band program has grown and developed to a point where its next step is to tour.

“Because our university had such little experience touring large intact ensembles overseas, I felt such an extended endeavor/process would reap lasting benefit for our students, college, and university,” he said.

The overall goals for the large ensemble are to perform in exceptional venues that draw significant audiences and to give opportunities for students and faculty to work with peers abroad. The University Wind Ensemble will present full-length concerts at the Royal Academie of Music and Trinity College in Dublin. A third concert will take place at St. Mary's Cathedral in Killarny.

While in Ireland, music faculty will offer master classes for students at those institutions. The department hopes to create and maintain these relationships for future international collaborations and student exchange opportunities. The tour also serves as a potential recruitment source for Radford University’s graduate music programs.

For the students, who auditioned for their seats in the Wind Ensemble, there are many benefits to touring internationally with the group. Aside from Scholar Citizen Initiative course credits, they will experience logistical issues surrounding international travel, which will provide life skills for dealing with the global world.

In addition, they will receive feedback from Irish audiences, musicians, and teachers who come from a different performance tradition. And each student will take part in group discussions and intellectual exchanges with study abroad faculty and experts in Irish cultural traditions.

The planning for this trip began three years ago when Gallops polled band members about what country interested them most and was affordable. Ireland topped the list.

Funding is crucial for touring, which cost approximately $150,000. Funding $50,000 is coming through a McGlothlin travel grant, the Scholar Citizen Initiative, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Department of Music. Students and patrons are providing the rest.

To help support their fundraising efforts, University Advancement has created a donation page. For those wishing to donate to the Wind Ensemble’s first international tour, please visit

“This tour represents a larger CVPA initiative for the coming years,” said Margaret Devaney, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “In representing the college internationally for the first time with such a large ensemble, we hope to increase the number of international travel performance opportunities for each department represented by the college. This tour paves the way for our global interactions at international venues for the foreseeable future.”


Feb 4, 2016