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Augustana band group, including west central Minnesota students, get out of chaotic Egypt

Augustana College officials confirmed Monday that everyone on the Augustana Band's Egyptian tour had been able to leave the country. Seventy-one members of the Augustana Band, along with 19 faculty, staff and friends, have been in Egypt since ear...

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Augustana College officials confirmed Monday that everyone on the Augustana Band's Egyptian tour had been able to leave the country.

Seventy-one members of the Augustana Band, along with 19 faculty, staff and friends, have been in Egypt since early January on a 25-day, five-concert tour of the country.

Anti-government pro-tests that arose last week caused the band to cancel its final concert on Friday night and move to a hotel that was far away from the protests.

Air travel in and out of the country was disrupted, and college officials spent the weekend making alternate travel plans when their original flights were cancelled, according to information from the Augustana website.

Two groups were able to leave Cairo International Airport for Amsterdam on Sunday, and the last group flew to Amsterdam on Monday morning.

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The first two groups returned to Minnesota Monday afternoon and were to fly on to Sioux Falls, S.D., where Augustana's campus is located.

The second group is scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis at 12:15 p.m. today and then fly on to Sioux Falls to return to campus.

Band members from west central Minnesota include Thomas Alexander of Belview, Michelle Erhardt of Benson, Kelsey Hansen of New London, Allison Michaelis of Canby, Devon Ratcliff-Crain of Benson and Ashley Teichert of Montevideo.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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