Parents attend son's Paris concert before father deploys to Iraq

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By Robert Villanueva



ELIZABETHTOWN — The timing was unfortunate.

Col. Mark Rado of Elizabethtown was about to be deployed to Iraq for a year about the same time his son — Mark Rado Jr. — was about to come home from a European concert tour.

“We didn’t know if Mark was going to see his father before he deployed,” Eden Rado said.

Mark Jr. had been selected as one of 200 student band and choir members to be part of the 2008 Kentucky Ambassadors of Music group. The group performed concerts in seven European countries: England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany.

As part of the choir portion of the ambassador group, Mark Jr. performed traditional and spiritual music at churches throughout Europe, finishing up in mid-July. His father, who is stationed in Washington, D.C., was slated to report to Fort Benning, Ga., on July 18.

Having a sister who lives in Munich, Germany, made it easier for Eden to arrange a trip to Europe while her son was still on tour. In fact, Eden said, that sister had lived in Paris for 20 years before moving to Munich, Germany, so she was familiar with the area.

Through some careful planning, the Elizabethtown parents got to meet July 5 with their son in Paris. They — and Eden’s sister — were able to watch young Mark’s performance at the Church of Saint-Séverin, one of the oldest churches in Paris.

“It was very significant for the whole family to be able to be together,” Eden said.

Because they performed mainly in churches, much of the music the choir performed was sacred. They performed music not only in English but in other languages, such as French and Latin.

“The performance was like a professional group,” Eden said.

Afterward, she said, members of the audience told the choir how much impact the music had on them.

The experience also had an impact on the family, particularly Mark Jr. who got to perform with his father watching before thousands of miles and a span of a year would separate them.

“It meant the world to him,” Eden said. “There were very few children who had parents who were able to see the performance.” To see a performance of the choir from the 2008 Kentucky Ambassadors of Music tour, visit the YouTube Web site at www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2w8k2W3RJI.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.