Harlan grad heading to study music in Latvia through UNO program

Fay Porter, a 2018 Harlan graduate and drummer, is taking his music studies abroad — to Riga, Latvia — starting in February and returning in June.

In Latvia, Porter will study jazz, attend master classes, composition, arranging, jazz improv classes, along with playing with one of their big bands and one of their combos.

Porter and another student were chosen by UNO faculty to study at the European Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music.

“It was cool to be chosen because the faculty thought we were a good representative of the school and of the U.S.,” he said. “We didn’t have to audition. The second I was told I said yes. No hesitation.

This is not Porter’s first time to Latvia, after traveling with a UNO group in 2019.

Porter will be completing his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance.

As a student in Harlan, Porter was involved in as much music as he could become involved with — participating in marching band, concert band, jazz bands, pep band, and more — as a drummer, with one year of vocals.

He plans the same sort of immersion in Latvia.

“My mindset going over to Europe is to mark myself in the Latvian culture as if I have already lived there for several years,” he said.

Porter said as a high school student he knew he wanted to continue to play and perform music and try to make it a sustainable lifestyle for himself.

“I never would have considered expanding outside the United States,” he said. “As soon as I got into Omaha and be a part of the music program, one of their draws as a college is their study abroad opportunities.”



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