Diana Paup loves to sing
The soprano voice of the 2002 graduate of Alta High School fills the room as she thumbs through her copies of sheet music, fluently singing flowing notes that give life to a diverse flavor of songs ranging from the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to "My God is a Rock."
From classical compositions written in Latin to soulful gospel tunes, the Alta High School choir veteran has been able to express her vocal talents in front of family and friends in the state for the past four years. Now, she will be able to share those talents in front of European audiences for the next two weeks.
Paup will depart tomorrow on a plane across the Atlantic Ocean to participate in a 14-day concert tour of Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music, a 260-member group of band and chorus students from Iowa selected to represent the musical talents of the state abroad. The ensemble, which will feature musicians from every corner of the state, is geared toward helping the participants strengthen musical abilities and experience European culture, and Paup said she is looking forward to the tour, which will be her first visit to the other side of the Atlantic.
"Being able to experience all of the different cultures over there is probably the most exciting thing," Paup said. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to be able to go over there and sing and see all of those countries is really exciting for me."
Paup departed for Cedar Rapids last Sunday, where she and the other instrumentalists and vocalists have been able to practice together as a large group for the past three days. After giving a concert in the city tonight, the students will depart for London tomorrow, and will perform their first European concert Friday evening at Wesley's Chapel in London.
Over the course of the next two weeks, the Ambassadors will hold concerts at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, the Church of the Holy Ghost in Rothenburg, Germany, St. Mark's Church in Venice, and auditoriums in Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, Lux-embourg and Germany before heading back to the U.S. July 18.
The trip, which will also include stops at the Eiffel Tower, the concentration camp at Auschwitz, gondola rides in Venice canals and bus rides across the continent, will cost $3,500, and Paup said the steep price made her initially hesitant about whether to go on the trip or not.
"When I first learned that I was nominated to go, I heard how much it cost and wondered where I was going to be able to get the money," Paup said. "But it's worked out. A lot of family members, especially my parents and grandparents, have helped out and sponsored me, and they've all been really supportive. They're really proud to see me be able to do something like this, and they've been great about helping me out with this."
Paup, nominated for the ensemble by Alta choir director Kaaren Rogers, has already been able to greet several fellow soprano singers in small practice meetings this summer, and said those sessions will pay big dividends both socially and musically when it comes time to sing on European soil.
"I've really enjoyed meeting all of these people from across the state, and I think that we'll be able to have fun together and sing well over there," Paup said. "I haven't heard all of us together yet, but from what it sounds like in the small groups, it's going to be a great sound when we do get together as a big group. I'm looking forward to hearing that for the first time."