Next Trip: June 15-30, 2024

Our inaugural international tour will be with the group from the great state of Kansas. Known for steaks, Dorothy and being as flat as a pancake, Kansas is believed to be named after a Native American tribe whose name means people of the wind. Kansas produces a lot of wheat, ranks 35th in population and is proud to be the sunflower state.

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Meeting Schedule

Meet Your State Directors:

Dr. Travis L. Hale

Dr. Travis Hale currently serves as Director of Orchestras at Blue Valley North HS (KS). Dr. Hale has been a music educator for 25 years and has taught all levels of music from elementary to graduate music education courses. Hale has studied conducting and music pedagogy with Dr. Mark Laycock, Dr. David Litrell, Jacquleyn Dillon, Dr. Frederick Burrack and Dr. Larry Blocher.

Dr. Hale has presented original research on Music Assessment, Music and Identity Development and Music within the LGBTQ+ community at national and international conferences. He is a regular clinician and judge throughout the Midwest and has conducted groups in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. He currently serves on various committees and holds various positions within the Kansas Music Education community.

Dr. Hale is a member of Kansas Music Educators Association (KSMEA), Society for Music Teacher Education, Phi Beta Mu and American String Teachers Association.

Meet Your State Directors: Elise Peterson

Elise Peterson is in her eighth year as Director of Choirs for Olathe South HS (KS) and has worked in the choral music field for over 28 years. Prior to South, Elise taught at Shawnee Mission South, Pioneer Trail MS (Olathe), Hays HS and Anderson County Junior-Senior HS (Garnett). She has directed festival choirs, show choirs and more than 30 major musical productions. Her groups consistently have earned I ratings at Kansas Regional Solo and Ensemble Festivals as well as State Large Group Festivals. In 2018, under her direction, the Olathe South HS Southside Singers were selected to perform for the Kansas Music Educators Association (KSMEA) Annual Convention. In 2013, Elise was recognized by KSMEA as Outstanding Music Educator of the Year – Northeast District High School Choirs. In 2020, Elise was recognized by the KSMEA as the Outstanding Music Educator of the year for the state of Kansas.

In addition to serving as President of the East Central KMEA District, Perterson was the director of the Kansas Ambassadors Choirs that traveled to Europe every other summer. In her spare time she loves performing, whether appearing in musical theater, leading music at church, soloing at weddings or singing with professional groups. She sang for two seasons with the Grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale.

Elise is an Olathe native and a graduate of Olathe North HS. She holds an Associate of Arts Degree from Johnson County Community College, as well as both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Emporia State University.

Meet Your State Directors: Mr. Dana Hamant

Mr. Dana Hamant is a retired band director having completed a teaching career spanning close to 40 years in Kansas schools. His last position was at Friends University as the Assistant Director of Bands and as a member of the Faculty Brass Quintet. His last public-school position was at Wichita East HS where he served as Director of Bands and the Performing Arts Chair. During the 17 years he taught at East, the band consistently received superior ratings at the Kansas State Large Group Festival and area marching festivals. The band was selected to perform at the 2000 and 2008 Kansas Music Educators Convention and at the first ever Disney Honors Festival in 2005.

Other positions besides Wichita include Hutchinson Public Schools, Cimarron Public Schools and Wichita State University. He is active as an adjudicator for marching, concert, solo and ensemble festivals and as an honor band conductor and clinician. As a professional trumpet player, performing credits include over 30 years as a member of the Wichita Symphony and additional performances as a member of Ballet Kansas Orchestra, Wichita Wind Ensemble, Wichita Grand Opera Orchestra, Intrepid Brass, Music Theater of Wichita Orchestra, Wichita Chamber Chorale Musician, Hutchinson Symphony and the Prairie Winds. He has been awarded the Bandworld John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor, the National Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Interscholastic Music by the National Federation of High Schools and was selected to both the Kansas Music Educators Hall of Fame and as the Outstanding Band Director by the Kansas Bandmasters Association in 2014. Mr. Hamant traveled over 30 times to Europe with the Kansas Ambassadors. The Kansas Musicians Abroad 2024 European Tour will be the next of over 50 trips with student musicians.

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