A group of UNA students performed at the Saarburg International Music Festival which took place this summer.

UNA Students Perform at Saarburg International Music Festival

Oct. 02, 2023

Ella G. Stephenson , at estephenson5@una.edu

The words summer, music, and festival are great individually but are even better combined. “Summer music festival” may bring to mind concerts such as Coachella that takes place in Indio, California, or Chicago’s famed Lollapalooza. Wearing trendy clothing and stylish jewelry, thousands of influencers gear up for these events each year.   

In contrast to these high-profile domestic festivals is the charming Saarburg International Music Festival in the city of Saarburg, Germany.  

The German festival is a two-week summer event that happens annually. Seventy to eighty participants, including advanced high school, college, and post-college musicians, rehearse and perform multiple times in the Saar/Mosel region.  

This year, University of North Alabama Assistant Professor of Horn Dr. Jordan Redd served on the festival’s faculty where he coached chamber groups, taught lessons, and performed with the faculty wind quintet. UNA horn studio members Connell Cornelius, Joshua Prestenburg, and James Falcón-Santana rehearsed, took private lessons, and performed at the festival.  

"Going to Germany was a very gratifying experience,” said Cornelius. “The department supported us throughout it all, and without them it would not have been possible. I am also very thankful for Dr. Redd who has pushed me to become a better person and a better player. Without him, I would not be the player I am or will become."  

While abroad, he learned and played new styles of music. Cornelius also said he enjoyed learning more about the culture of Germany, specifically Saarburg.  

As part of his experience, Joshua Prestenburg said he grew as a musician and person, adding that he was thankful for the opportunity to expand his talents and bring them home to UNA.  

“A big thank you to Dr. Redd for opening us up to new opportunities and furthering our education,” Prestenburg said. “Also, thanks to the Department of Music for allowing us to go. I was proud to represent UNA all the way in Germany, but it is good to be back. Roar Lions.”  

James Falcón-Santana said his time in Germany was something he would recommend to other students.  

“It was an eye-opening experience, and I am a very improved and inspired musician for it,” said Falcón-Santana. “Studying abroad with the UNA Horn Studio and Department of Music is something I would absolutely recommend to any prospective student if the opportunity arises. What you will find is truly a shift in perspective.”  

Dr. Redd said he is proud of his students. One thing he always talks about within the studio is culture, and he places emphasis on improvement.  

“How can we be better and how can we make each other better? Connell, James, and Josh really stepped it up over the past year, and I’m glad to see their hard work start to pay off,” said Dr. Redd. “While in Germany, they performed at a high level and represented UNA well.”   

The Department of Music Chair, Dr. Whitney O’Neal, credited Dr. Redd for helping the students participate and take part in this noteworthy international music festival.  

“The University of North Alabama Department of Music is committed to providing diverse educational experiences that focus on academic excellence, professional-caliber creative performances, innovative curricula and pedagogies, and community engagement,” said O’Neal.  

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. The first-choice University for more than 10,000 on-campus and online students, UNA is on a bucolic campus in Florence, Alabama, part of the historic and vibrant Shoals region. Lions Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/