Highlanders to perform in Saigon, Bangkok
In December, Radford University students and faculty will fly to Vietnam and Thailand to perform in a series of guitar performances.
The trip, sponsored by the Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Department of Music, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the International Education Center, spans 11 days, two countries and 18,460 miles.
The trip began as an invitation to music Professor Robert Trent, who was asked to perform.
Trent and Radford University students went on a similar international performance trip to Brazil in 2015, which sparked the idea for the December trip.
“Once I agreed to perform, a thought came up,” Trent said. “Maybe this could include students like the Brazil trip. I proposed that idea for hosting in Saigon and then in Bangkok. They were excited about our students and faculty meeting each other and working together.”
The Radford University students chosen for the trip are members of the honors guitar ensemble, a by-audition group. The students that are participating are Andrew Weed, Will Krysiek, Nicholas Drennan, Charles Wood and James Noel.
The group will depart the United States on Dec. 5 to Saigon, Vietnam. While there, the students – along with Trent – will perform in four separate performances at the Saigon International Guitar Festival, a professional international music festival.
As part of the program, students will perform as an ensemble, while others will perform a solo work at the festival. The third performance will combine Radford’s honors guitar ensemble with the guitar students of the Saigon Conservatory and other guitar student participants of the festival. The final performance will be a solo performance by Trent, which will feature his professional duo, Duo Firenze, with pianist Pamela Trent.
Trent will lecture on the performance practice of music of the 19th century and conduct a public masterclass with Vietnamese students. Trent has already judged an international guitar competition sponsored by the Saigon International Guitar Festival.
On Dec. 11, the group will fly to Bangkok to participant in a variety of events. While there are fewer scheduled concerts, there will be community outreach and learning with Mahidol University, the host of the group and the largest university in Thailand.
In addition to sharing a school color – blue – the two universities will also share intellectual resources.
“We will be hosting workshops with the students at Mahidol University,” Trent said. “The students will also interact. They will work on music together and perform music together.”
The students will return to Radford University on Dec. 16. Before leaving, Trent made sure to remind the students that they would be leaving their homes.
“Remember that you are a part of the honors group representing the entire university and an ambassador of the United States,” Trent said. “You may be the first Americans that some of the people there meet.”