Nov. 3, 2018 — Summer vacation for most students is a chance to relax and not worry about schedules and being places at a certain time. That will definitely not be the case for Siuslaw High School sophomore Lizbeth Garcia-Galvan.
Lizbeth, an honor roll student and plays the alto saxophone in the high school band, has been selected to participate in the Oregon Ambassador of Music Program, sponsored by Oregon State University.
She is in the process of raising the money necessary to join other student musicians from Oregon on a 16-day trip to Europe. The group will visit seven countries — England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany — during that time, performing with other students as they tour some of the most famous locations on the continent.
Siuslaw School District Director of Bands Chris Rowbotham has been working with Lizbeth for the past few years and felt she would be the perfect candidate for the trip.
“I started working with Lizbeth in beginning band in sixth grade and now she is sophomore, so she’s been working with me for five years. She’s done everything from being one of the soloists at the advanced band concert to jazz solos,” Rowbotham said. “She’s always stepped up when needed and helped the other students in her section and she is a very good musician.
“I am very proud of the work she does in band, especially trying to balance it with her academic and athletic responsibilities.”
Lizbeth was quick to point to Rowbotham as one of the people that has made music such an important part of her life.
“When I first started in band I thought, ‘Wow, he really knows his stuff!’ And that made me want to learn from him. I like that he pushes me. Like if it’s a solo or something hard, he’ll be like, ‘Oh, you can do that. Don’t worry,’ and then I realize I know what I am doing and I know I can play this,” Lizbeth said.
Siuslaw School District Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak feels that the selection of Lizbeth is a testament to her hard work and dedication as well as that Rowbotham as her musical mentor.
“Lizbeth’s nomination for the Oregon Ambassadors of Music program is a great opportunity for her and really speaks well of her skills and enthusiasm for music. She is a terrific kid and musician. This also speaks well to the work of Mr. Rowbotham as a music educator and the work he has done over the years bringing our band program to new heights,” he said.
Lizbeth is the first student from the district to get this far into the process of becoming an Oregon Ambassador of Music and, with the help of Florence Elks Lodge #1858, a large percentage of the funds necessary to make the trip a reality have been raised.
Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Bruce Smith said his organization was pleased to be able to assist in such a worthwhile project.
“We raise money all year long and put it in our charity fund to support the community as best we can,” Smith said. “This is one of the projects we felt deserved support, so the lodge contributed $2,501 and the Lady Elk’s contributed $2,500.”
He said the two groups had a bit of a rivalry going, but all in good faith.
“The Ladies of the Elks are amazing,” Smith said. “They have pie sales during our dinners and they raise a lot of money with gift baskets sales throughout the year, all to support our troops and our community and they felt this was a project they really wanted to be involved in and support.”
Patricia Jamison is a friend of the Garcia-Galvan family and has taken the lead in contacting local groups that might be interested in helping raise the approximately $7,000 needed to make the trip.
“I’ve known Lizbeth and her family since she was elementary school and it’s always been a pleasure. They are a strong family with music as a part of their everyday life,” Jamison said. “I saw an opportunity that could be magical for Lizbeth, but things had to happen fast. We had to raise certain amounts of money by certain times and some were non-refundable. So at the start of school, we hit the deck running, trying to find the money that might support this great adventure.”
Elks Lodge #1858 is one of the primary organizations helping Lizbeth raise the money she needs to make her trip. While she has received a significant part of the funds required, more is needed to pay for meals and expenses that arise from fluctuating currency values and changes in prices.
“The Elks and the Rotarians have been so helpful and so many other kind and generous people have contributed by donating printing and posters,” Lizbeth said. “Oregon Pacific Bank has also really stepped up to help me go through the process of learning how to create an account, ‘The Florence Ambassador Music account,’ which is now set up so people can just stop in and make a donation if they would like to help.”
The itinerary for Lizbeth’s trip is extensive and includes stops at some of the world’s most impressive and historic locations.
The Tower of London, Westminster Cathedral, Windsor Castle, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Arch de Triumph will highlight the recreational part of the journey, but there is also an historical aspect of the trip. There will also be trips to popular tourist destinations such as Venice, Innsbruck and the Matterhorn.
“In my history class, we are talking about the Holocaust and we have talked about Anne Frank and stories like the woman in gold. And one of the places we will be going is Dachau, to one of the camps,” Lizbeth said.
One of the last points made by Lizbeth during her interview was the appreciation she feels and wants to share with the many members of the community that are helping her and her family.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me, because without them I would not be able to go on this trip,” she said. “I just want to thank everyone so much.”
If you would like to contribute to the effort to send Lizbeth Garcia-Galvan to Europe as an Oregon Ambassador of Music, contact Oregon Pacific Bank at 541-997-7172.