Touch of Class Goes to Scotland


Jeriah Paulson, Student of Journalism

Touch of Class members have the opportunity to tour Scotland in the coming 2020 summer and perform at the Sterling Bridge music festival.

Touch of Class (TOC) is a string ensemble group at NHS that focuses on alternative, upbeat music and instrumental choreography. July 2020 the group intends to travel to Scotland to emote as one of the few Midwest string ensembles attending, senior TOC member Paris Schafer said.

The Sterling Bridge music festival is a celebration of music and art, where groups around the world come to play in esteemed venues. The festival encourages international relations and helps embrace the world’s unanimous love for music.

Similar to its China tour 2 years ago, TOC will be performing outside of the country once more.  This foreign experience may have never presented itself to the students if not for the director of the group, Philip Smyth. 

“China was the first time I traveled out of the country,” Schafer said.

Being in musical groups like TOC provides much fortuity for students with travel and performing. Smyth having experience in groups similar to TOC has been able to travel places such as Asia, Europe and Central America.

Using its musical talent and other skill sets, TOC members play gigs, sell CDs, and various merchandise in order to pay for trips such as to Scotland. The 20 members continue fundraising more than $3,000 per person as well as needing to put money back into the group.

Along with the assorted gigs and paid performances, Neenah TOC sold scrunchies at the annual Helping Hands Craft Fair Schafer said.

Tuesday night at Neenah High School’s “Opener” performance, TOC played and danced on the stage to promote the trip to Scotland and sell CDs. The music played was a part of its itinerary for the upcoming tour, including awesome choreography.

Smyth says the students in TOC are required to have a musical proficiency when it comes to their instrument, which pushes the students to work extremely hard and expand their already exquisite talent. It also requires students to have confidence while performing and to be able to perform a solo. According to the audience’s response, Mr. Smyth chose well.

The members of TOC continue to put themselves out there and perform to prepare for its Scotland tour.