Upcoming Trip: June 18-July 3, 2024

Our inaugural international tour will be with a group from the Northern States. As part of the Great Plains, both North Dakota and Montana are rich in farmland. From honey to the Badlands, Glacier National Park to Rocky Mountains, you’ll find lots of hiking and the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Learn more about our 2024 trip with this PDF.

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Meet Your State Directors:

Dr. Warren Olfert

Dr. Warren Olfert is the Director of Bands and Professor of Music at North Dakota State University, where he is responsible for all band activities, supervises the graduate conducting program, and teaches courses in music education. As a high school band director, he taught in Louisiana and Georgia where his bands received acclaim for their performances. He holds degrees from Florida State University (Ph.D., conducting/music education), the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (M.M., instrumental conducting), and Bob Jones University (B.S., music education). He has also served as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and his ensembles have performed throughout the nation as well as in Europe. Under his direction, the NDSU Wind Symphony has performed at many of the most prestigious conferences in the region, including performances at the Minnesota and North Dakota Music Educators Conferences, the College Band Directors National Association Regional Conference and the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle. In May of 2019, under his direction, the NDSU Wind Symphony was invited by the Czech government to perform in the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle as the first American ensemble to receive such an invitation. Dr. Olfert has presented workshops on conducting and band literature at various conferences nationally and internationally and has conducted honor bands in the Midwest and South. He is an active member of several organizations on the regional and national level and has served as ann officer in several organizations, including a term as President of the North Dakota Music Educators Association.

Amy Schendel

After teaching choir at Skvyiew High School for 16 years, Amy Schendel is now serving as the Fine Arts Education Coordinator for the Billings Public Schools in Montana. She holds bachelors degrees in Clarinet Performance and Music Education, as well as a Master of Music Education from the University of Montana. She is a certified member of the VoiceCare Network and holds her K-12 principal licensure for the state of Montana. Amy is heavily involved in the music community state-wide. In addition to her teaching, she enjoys playing clarinet and singing for the Billings Symphony, singing onstage for Rimrock Opera, Glacier Symphony and local community theaters, music directing and playing in pit orchestras, guest conducting, adjudicating and teaching at camps around Montana and Wyoming. Amy recently completed her term as president of the Montana Music Educators Association and will continue to serve her community and state in the future as an advocate for music education.

Kim Lorengo

Kim Lorengo was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana where she grew up in a musical family. After graduating from the University of Idaho, Kim took her first teaching job in Shelby, Montana teaching 6-12 choir. She spent two years there, and then took her dream job teaching 4-12 orchestra and 7-12 choir in Anaconda, Montana where she has spent the past 23 years. In addition to teaching, she is the current president of the Montana Music Educators Association. Kim’s other pursuits include spending time playing the viola with the Butte Symphony and singing/playing rock-n-roll with the John Andrews Band. Although her job keeps her busy, her greatest accomplishment is her three beautiful children: Logan, 16; Carter, 14; and Kendyl, 12.

Mark Herold

A Bismarck native, Mark Herold received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education/Percussion Performance from the University of Mary and his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University–St. Paul. Currently, Herold serves as the Director of Bands at Legacy High School in Bismarck, ND where he supervises all band activities. Prior to that, he was Associate Director of Bands at Bismarck Century High School and also taught at Wayzata Central Middle School in Plymouth, Minnesota. In addition to his classroom teaching responsibilities, Mr. Herold has been active as a performer and private percussion instructor. In 2020, he was named the North Dakota Jazz Educator of the Year. Mark is a past president of the North Dakota Music Educators Association and is a member of the National Association for Music Education, National Band Association, North Dakota Educators Association and the Percussive Arts Society. He also serves as a member of the North Dakota All-State Committee as the chair of the All-State Band. He has been a member of the Northern Musicians Abroad staff since 2013.

Jeremy Ruff

Jeremy Ruff is the Director of Bands at Lockwood Schools, where he is charge of fifth through twelfth grade bands. He holds degrees from Montana State University-Billings (B.S., Music Education) and The University of Akron (M.M., Music Education). Prior to Lockwood, he held similar positions at Stevensville and Huntley Project. In addition to his regular duties, Mr. Ruff has several district and regional honor bands throughout Montana as well as serving as conductor of the Bitterroot Community Band. Jeremy Ruff is an active member of the Montana Bandmasters Association and a member of Phi Beta Mu. Jeremy lives in Billings, Montana with his wife, Kendra, and their two children. This is Jeremy’s second tour to Europe as a staff member of Northern Musicians Abroad.

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