Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

2020 WWU Symphony Orchestra Vienna-Prague Tour

Raised toward our $100,000 Goal
62 Offline donations and ticket revenue
Project has ended
Project ended on May 01, at 12:00 AM PDT
Project Owners

WWU Symphony Tour Postponed

April 08, 2020

I hope this message finds you staying safe and healthy. Thank you so much for your generous support of the WWU Symphony Orchestra's European tour this summer. Sadly, the global COVID-19 situation has forced us to postpone our tour for June, 2021. Fortunately, Music Celebrations International (our tour management company) is arranging a nearly-identical itinerary for next summer, and will be rolling forward every dollar of our monies raised without any loss or penalty. 100% of your gift will still go in support of giving these terrific young artists the travel opportunity of a lifetime, albeit a year later than planned.


If you have any questions at all about the the logistics or updated timeline of the tour, please don't hesitate to contact me by email at


If you have any questions at all about your gift, please contact Angie Vandenhaak at the WWU Foundation. Her contact information is below:


Angie Vandenhaak

Director of Development, Annual Giving and Alumni Memberships

360-927-0457 (cell)

360-650-3274 (office)


Thank you again for all your generosity and support. All of us at Western wish you and your families safe and healthy passage through these turbulent times.


Gratefully yours, Ryan Dudenbostel

Spring Update

March 16, 2020

Thank you so much for lending your support to the WWU Symphony's 2020 European Tour! Below are some updates on what we've been up to and what lies ahead over the coming months.


Winter Quarter in Review


The WWU Symphony has had an incredibly active winter quarter, including:

  • February 8, 2020: A trip to Vancouver, BC, on February 8 to play for a conducting masterclass with Maestra Sarah Ioannides for the College Orchestra Directors Association annual plenary conference.
  • February 12, 2020: The Pacific Northwest live premiere of the landmark Gil Evans/Miles Davis collaboration Sketches of Spain, featuring trumpeter Kevin Woods, alongside guitarist David Feingold and mezzo-soprano Melissa Plagemann, performing works by Juaquín Rodrigo and Manual de Falla.
  • March 9, 2020: A performance of Tchaikovsky's electrifying tone poem Francesca da Rimini, scheduled to be shared with the public that evening. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the College of Fine and Performing Arts decided to cancel all performances through the rest of the quarter. In a surreal moment, and one I will certainly not soon forget, Dean Kit Spicer and I arrived to the Symphony's dress rehearsal at exactly the same time (he had generously elected to deliver the news in person). After dealing with the initial shock of that evening's concert, we decided to rehearse for an hour, then perform the piece for whoever was around. Thanks to the quick action of our student recording engineers, that afternoon's impromptu performance was recorded on video here. While it might not come through on the screen, the energy in the room from the student audience and the orchestra--who channelled their frustration directly into the music--was absolutely breathtaking. And even though it was not how any of us imagined the day would go, it was a moment of magic I wouldn't trade for anything.

Tour Update


As of this moment, we are moving forward with plans for this summer's concert tour in the spirit of cautious optimism that the coronavirus crisis will have run its course by late June. That said, I am in continuous conversations with our tour organizer to come up with possible contingency plans, and will keep you updated if we have to postpone as the situation evolves. But again, at this point we are full steam ahead with our current plans.


Fundraising Update


As you can see from our total fundraising numbers above, we have made incredible progress this year thanks to you! Over $52,000 has been raised from a combination of individual giving and ticket revenues, and our student-run DRAC (Department Related Activities Committee) board, which oversees a substantial portion of WWU student activity fees, awarded a whopping $20,000 in reserve funds for our tour. A special shout-out is owed to the Symphony's student manager Ashley Curtin for her role in successfully pitching our project to the committee.


Looking ahead, in addition to our ongoing efforts via this platform, we have two large fundraising events planned before the tour:

  • WWU Give Day on May 28
  • A ticketed family concert on June 5 (originally scheduled for May 1, but now postponed)

Because so many scheduled events over the next six weeks have been canceled, we have had fewer opportunities to engage with the public about this tour and our continuous fundraising efforts. We are so close to achieving our goal! If you have friends or family who value the work we do, and see the value of experiences like this for young artists, please share our project with them. As we have seen over the past year, every little bit helps!


Again, thank you so much for all your support. Please stay healthy and take time to enjoy the sunshine as spring rounds the corner.


With deepest gratitude,

Ryan Dudenbostel 

Exciting News + Halloween Bash

October 15, 2019

Fall is here, and the school year is in full swing. The WWU Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for its first concert of music by Sarah Kirkland Snider, Claude Debussy, and Gustav Mahler on November 15, 2019, and everyone is excited for our travels abroad next June.


An Exciting and Impactful Development


One of the items on our tour itinerary is a visit to Terezín, a concentration camp outside Prague that was used as a sort of "model" to show the Red Cross how well imprisoned Jews were being treated. In reality, of course, it was just a Potemkin village and a waystation on the route to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Many prominent artists and musicians were held there, and the Terezín had a remarkably thriving cultural life.   Months ago, in preparing for the tour, I was looking for a piece by a Terezín composer to perform at our concerts in Prague and Vienna, and came upon the work of Gideon Klein, a brilliant Jewish Czech musician who spent three years at the camp before being murdered in 1944 at the age of 25 (this coming December, he would have turned 100). He wrote no known music for orchestra, but composed a Piano Sonata at Terezín that is utterly captivating and rich with orchestral gestures. As a shot in the dark, I reached out to the Gideon Klein Foundation in Prague asking their permission to arrange the piece for orchestra and perform it on the tour. After months of silence, they finally responded on Friday, giving their blessing for this project!   What this means is that the WWU Symphony will be giving the world premiere of a work by a major composer who perished in the Holocaust. Also, according to our current itinerary, the students will be visiting Terezín the very day before they give the first performance of Klein’s "Chamber Symphony" in Prague, his hometown. This is the opportunity of a lifetime in two ways:

  1. Western is in a position to make a significant contribution to the discourse on music from the Holocaust.
  2. Our students will have the chance to not only present this important new work, but to visit the very place where he wrote it.

I couldn't be more excited about this development, as it gives this tour an entirely new level of purpose in addition to the already wonderful opportunity for our students to perform together. If anyone you know values this work as much as we do, please share this news with them and encourage them to lend their support!


Halloween Bash on October 26


The WWU Symphony is hosting a fundraising Halloween party and silent auction on October 26, 2019 from 7-10PM at the Bellingham Yacht Club. Please come join us for a hosted bar, costume contest, dessert dash, great auction items, and more! For more information and to reserve seats, please visit our registration site here:


Thank you for all your support!

Ryan Dudenbostel

Summer Update

July 18, 2019

Happy Summer!


Thank you so much for lending your support to the WWU Symphony Orchestra's 2020 European Tour! I'm just writing to give you a quick update on the progress our project has made since we officially launched in May.


On Western Give Day, we raised over $20,000, outpacing nearly every other WWU campaign both in terms of dollars raised and number of donors participating. The response was nothing short of overwhelming! Combined with other individual donations, ticket revenue from our film music concert in May, and bake sale proceeds, we currently have over $29,000 raised!


Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go to meet our goals. We have a number of projects and special events in the works for 2019-2020, but in the meantime, if you have anyone in your life who might be interested in supporting these students in this incredible international educational opportunity, I encourage you to please pass along the link to our VikingFunder website:


Thank you again for all your support in helping to bring this opportunity within reach for our students.


All best wishes for a warm and relaxing summer,

Ryan Dudenbostel

Choose a giving level


Court Musician

Every bit helps in bringing us closer to our goal!


Court Composer

An invaluable contribution toward making this incredible trip possible.



Provide airfare for a WWU student musician.



Send a Western musician on a once-in-a-lifetime artistic journey.



Make it possible for two members of the WWU Symphony to travel to Europe.



Send at least four WWU musicians to the birthplace of classical music!

Our Crowdfunding Groups