June 2, 2006 – As part of the new Cultural Exchange Program for the Performing Arts between Denmark and the U.S. Virgin Islands, The X-Zecutives Quintet is heading north for the summer, with tour dates in Denmark from June 23 through July 4.
Eugene "Doc" Petersen and the X-Zecutives Quintet comprises Marsvyn Davis, Elvis Pedro, Elroy Simmonds, Dimitri Vopeman and Michael Belgrave, and they will play at the July Fourth celebration at Rebild Hills in Denmark.
They will play the U.S. and Danish national anthems and entertain a crowd of as many as 10,000 people.
Stanley & the Ten Sleepless Knights went to Denmark in August 2005, and a classical group from Copenhagen performed in the Virgin Islands late last year, according to Leif Pedersen, chairman of the Cultural Exchange Program.
It's very rare for a group from the Virgin Islands to play at the July Fourth celebration at Rebild Hills.
"Normally they have one of the military bands from the Army or Marines in Germany come up for it. It's quite an honor," Pedersen said. "It's a special invitation, a special event and a special occasion."
Although several band members individually have been to Europe and one, drummer Simmonds, has been to Denmark, this is the band's first group trip there.
Everyone is very excited, Petersen said.
The July Fourth celebration – traditionally an American holiday – has a long history at Rebild Hills. In 1912, Danish-American Max Henius and others gave the deed to Rebild Hills to King Christian X.
At the time, Henius said he wanted the hills to be a place where Americans and Danes could celebrate together because the United States had welcomed so many Danes to its shores.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and former Gov. Melvin Evans have attended the celebration in the past, as well as former Sens. Fritz Lawaetz and Victor Borge. Other nationally known figures, such as Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite and President Ronald Reagan have also attended the event. This year is the first that a music group from the Virgin Islands will be at the American Independence Day celebration.
Petersen said, "An exchange such as this is definitely beneficial for the exposure of their population, especially with the children. We're really looking forward to it so we can carry over the message of the Virgin Islands – the land of music."
Petersen said St. Croix has become a center for performing arts in the territory. The island hosts the Sunset Jazz series, the Caribbean Dance Company, Music in Motion and several other performing arts companies.
"Doc" Petersen and the X-Zecutives' Denmark tour will start June 23 with a performance at the Riverboat Jazz Festival in Silkeborg. They will play in Aabenraa, Graasted and Tunoe before going to the Nibe Music Festival, the "Open by Night" Street Fair in Holstebro and playing for the Danish Moravians in Christiansfeld.
They wrap up with the July Fourth event at Rebild Hills.
The tour is funded by the U.S. Virgin Islands Dept. of Tourism, Island Center, "Doc" Petersen and the business community. It is further supported by the Cultural Exchange Program for the Performing Arts between Denmark and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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