International Tour Takes WYSO Students To Peruvian Highlands And More

When 80 students of WYSO’s Youth Orchestra step off the plane in Cusco, Peru during their international tour this July, they’ll be at 10,860 feet, 10,119 feet higher than Madison, WI. Altitude adjustment is just one of many logistical components Joe Bernstein, WYSO’s director of operations and education, has to consider as he finalizes plans for the tour.

Fortunately, Joe has been on several international tours with WYSO, and has experienced his fair share of planning nuances.

“We’ll have a little time to acclimate ourselves to the high altitude in Cusco, and of course we’ll monitor each student as the trip progresses,” Joe said. “But most people adjust perfectly fine after a few hours at high elevation.”

The historic city of Cusco, once the capital of the vast Inca Empire, is just one stop along the way for WYSO students. Other destinations include the Peruvian capital of Lima, Puno, Lake Titicaca, and the legendary Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The students will also perform with the National Youth Orchestra of Peru and attend one concert event.

“We want WYSO students to have a high-quality orchestral experience, and be able to sightsee as much as possible during our international trips,” Joe said.

Beginning with New York City in 1989, WYSO has now travelled on extended tours to Scotland; Taiwan; Japan; Washington D.C; France; Spain; Banff, Alberta, Canada; Hungary; Austria; Czech Republic; Argentina; and Italy.

Historically, Youth Orchestra has embarked every few years on an extended tour during the summer months for one to two weeks. An extended tour entails substantial expense and detailed planning over a two-year period. The Board of Directors Tour Committee and WYSO staff are responsible for researching and investigating potential tours and coordinating all tour activities.

Youth Orchestra violist Hannah Wendorf is looking forward to the experience.

“I am super excited to experience the culture of Peru,” Hannah said. “I can’t wait to visit both the ancient and modern marvels the country has to offer. Performing for a new audience with friends is going to be amazing!”

Youth Orchestra will tour Peru July 5 through July 15. If you’re in the Madison area on July 3, please join us as we wish the students bon voyage at a farewell concert at 7 pm at Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

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