Study abroad to France inspires band

Fan Xinyu

For some people, the outcome of studying abroad is more friends, improved language skills and deep understanding of another culture. But for others, souvenirs are the best outcome.

The band “Karl and Steve, In Your FACE!” was inspired by Karl Fundenberger and Stephen Mitchell’s one-semester study in France. Their band is somewhat of a spokesband for the modern language department. They were invited to give a performance at this year’s award banquet for the department.

“I first heard Steve and Karl play at the French Club holiday party last December and found them to be very entertaining, and it was really impressive that the French in their

songs was so good,” said Courtney Sullivan, assistant professor of French at Washburn.

The idea of organizing a band came a few weeks before they returned to America. Their Czech friends, who admired their musical talents, pushed them on the stage for the first time.

“They went to the owner of a café to ask for a chance to perform there. They didn’t even ask us,” said Fundenberger. “The day before the concert we only had one song, but when it came to the day to play we had already composed four songs.”

They received a round of applause and cheers after the concert. People really liked the funny lyrics in their songs. The stories behind the song added more fun, such as “La Vache De Ménage (The Cleaning Cow),” which is about the cleaning lady in Fundenberger and Mitchell’s dormitory in France.

“She was very rude and always threatened to lock the kitchen if we didn’t clean it up,” said Mitchell. “She was known through the dorm. That’s why everyone thought it was funny.”

Their French songs conveyed the memory of their experiences in France. The leisurely ambiance in France gave them the inspiration for the original ideas for songs.

“There is so much free time in France. Not much homework. No job. And you only have 15 hours of class,” said Fundenberger. “That’s different from the students in America. Each of us has to work up to 20 hours per week, plus classes.”

Their participation in the student exchange program not only promoted their interest in music, but also transformed their viewpoints.

“After going to France, I tried not to assume anything, because making assumptions is usually wrong,” said Fundenberger. “Keep open-minded, so that you can learn a lot more.”

Fundenberger and Mitchell have put their videos on For more information, log on to