Enumclaw High School Band and Orchestra Produce a CD/DVD to Raise Funds for a Student Trip to Orlando, Florida

By Howard Clemens

Many high school bands, orchestras, and choirs have to raise money in the fall and spring so they may travel and perform in cities across the U.S. such as Orlando, FL, Washington D.C., and New York City. This year, I was particularly impressed by a story one Band and Orchestra Director, Lynda Alley, of Enumclaw High School in Washington, told me about her successful fundraising efforts. By recording and selling a fall concert CD/DVD, the school group was able to raise $15,000.

From April 5-9, 2010, Enumclaw high school band and orchestra will travel to Orlando, Florida to perform at Disney World. On April 6th, the high school band will perform in the Future March at Epcot Center and the symphony orchestra will perform on the Waterside Stage in Magic Kingdom. Both groups will partake in the “You’re Instrumental” workshop, a real recording session where students will underscore an animation of choice with their own soundtrack.

The story of how this particular high school band and orchestra raised funds for the trip to Disney World is heartening, and shows real drive and enthusiasm on the part of the band director and the students. Lynda Alley, Band and Orchestra Director at Enumclaw High School, said, “We engaged the services of the RM Project, a company that specializes in making films and soundtracks of student performances. RM Project made a soundtrack and film of our band performance during our fall 2009 concert.”

Alley says the high school band was so enthusiastic about the project they rehearsed and successfully recorded material that would normally be presented in June for the October 21st and 22nd concert.

The RM Project did not require upfront fees for production, but took a percentage of the proceeds as agreed upon in the contract. The production company recorded the fall concert and within two weeks presented master tracks for review. Once these were approved, the final CD/DVD was delivered in two weeks. Alley said, “The final project was packaged completely professionally, as if it rolled off the shelf at Best Buy. The DVD/CD’s are printed in full color, with a 24-page color companion booklet. The back and front of the jewel case is in full color featuring the artwork we requested, and the CD includes a bar code for retail distribution.” Alley added that the sound quality is perfect, as if it were recorded at “Carnegie Hall.”

Freshman through senior aged students were asked to sell the CD/DVD to parents, relatives, friends and associates. Students were actually relieved that they did not have to sell wrapping paper and magazines. Instead they were asked to do something that dovetailed with their musical work. Alley commented, “In many ways, students are more sophisticated than when I was in high school. I think most high school students find it demeaning when they are asked to sell items that have no connection with what they are attempting to achieve as students and musicians.”

Students who were motivated to sell more CD/DVDs were rewarded with an incentive based program. If they reached certain sales levels they received items aligned with their interest in music such as: music notation software, Apple Computer music products and music download gift cards. Students’ ultimate reward was attending the trip to Orlando in the spring and performing at Epcot Center or Magic Kingdom.

Parents were especially receptive to the program because it yielded $15,000 in funds in just six weeks. This took pressure from the booster organization to raise the funds. In previous years, the booster organization ran all of the concessions at the home athletic events, and was still unable to raise this much money.

In addition to student sales of the CD/DVD, the RM Project put up a website to generate more retail sales and as a place to sell digital downloads. Alley indicated, “This was a great way to sell the product to out of town friends and relatives of our program. The RM Project also contracts to coordinate uploading the CD/DVD on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other online services where music downloads can be purchased.” Even though Alley declined the second option for online sales, she intends to incorporate this into the spring 2010 recording project. She said that Enumclaw High School will produce two recordings per year for the foreseeable future.

From a fundraising perspective, the recording and distribution project was a great success. The project also garnered student musicians and the band director exposure in CD/DVD format as well as online. With Educational Travel Consultants as their chosen tour company, students will have access to all four parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom between April 5-9th. A security guard will also be provided for the group from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m. everyday.

To book a student performance tour or any other type of travel trip email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online.

Booking Large Student Groups on Airlines

Sometimes it is not always crystal clear to student travel organizers such as teachers, school board members, and parents — what function or role an excellent student travel company can fulfill when taking a group to a destination. There are many roles that student travel consultants play in planning and executing a trip. In this blog, I will focus on one important aspect of student travel planning that takes up a great deal of time and even requires a financial commitment early on. Booking large student groups on major airlines to high traffic destinations is not an easy assignment. It takes an experienced student travel consultant to pre-plan this aspect of a trip.

The Student Travel Deposit for Airlines
There are several key requirements when making airline reservations for student travel. The most important is that a deposit of $50 per passenger must be paid in advance. If as many as 50 students attend, this deposit could be $2,500. The required deposit is held by the airline company until 30 days after the trip is completed.

How Does Educational Travel Consultants Assist Student Travel Partners?
Here is the part where a qualified educational travel consultant’s services are needed. Instead of billing the student travel group for this fee and reimbursing the group one month after the tour is complete, Educational Travel Consultants covers this deposit. Why? ETC does not see it as necessary to task students, parents and teachers to raise additional funds that will be repaid at a later date.

ETC’s decision to cover student deposits does tie up valuable company resources during the height of the busy student travel season. But ETC sees this as a trade off. We see this as just one more way we can serve student travel groups better, by stepping in and taking responsibility for the deposit to provide adequate advance reservations for groups booking airline passage. We realize it is a risk for airlines to book large groups, since numbers sometimes go up and down. Yet this deposit is not applied to other types of air travel. It still remains a mystery to me as to why it is strictly required for large student groups.

Serving Students, Teachers and Chaperones Better: Less Fundraising Needed

The most important thing is that our policy to cover the airline deposit serves the school, teachers, and students by allowing them more flexibility with their fund raising efforts. If student groups had to raise an additional $2,500 to fund a trip to Washington D.C. it would put increased stress on them during the busy school year. Educational trips are designed to enhance learning, not detract from it. By giving student groups and those who organize them a break, we help students and teachers who are busy during the school year to free up time for the important things like preparation, study, performance, and intramural sports. Students and teachers who travel with us have enough to do!

Leave the Student Travel Details to the Experts
At Educational Travel Consultants, it is our job to make the student travel experience easier, and more enjoyable. That’s why we encourage student groups to leave the details to us. Our student travel consultants work diligently behind the scenes to ensure that deposits and reservations are made in a timely manner, and that the best possible price for air travel is obtained. As many know, air travel, like any kind of travel, is most likely going to continue to increase in cost. There is not much that ETC or other student travel companies can do about this. Yet, we try our best to keep costs as low as possible so student groups can continue to travel to major destinations like New York City, Washington D.C., and Orlando.

Always work with a qualified student travel expert, such as Educational Travel Consultants, when you want to avoid headaches and unexpected costs. In order for a student trip to go smoothly advance planning and follow-up is necessary. Make sure you have a student travel expert on your side. Request more information by emailing info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or request a quote for your upcoming student travel trip by filling out a brief online inquiry form.

Teachers and Tour Escorts: A Working Relationship Can Produce Fun and Educational Student Trips

by Howard Clemens

When planning and executing student trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, FL or other U.S. destinations one of the primary components for a smooth and fun trip is good communication between a tour escort (also known as a tour director) and the teacher who is sponsoring the class trip.

Some student trips can be quite large, with groups ranging from 100 to 150 students, while other class trips may number between 40-60 students. No matter how large or small the group and how many buses are needed, a trained tour director is a necessary part of the journey and can make the difference in whether the student trip is well managed or not.

An educational tour company with experience in taking school groups on tour will always provide a tour escort as part of the overall cost of the trip. The tour escort is the representative from the educational travel company whose main task is to keep an open dialogue with the teacher when schedule changes or deviations in the itinerary are suggested or needed, among other things.

A tour director is not in charge of the trip. The teacher is the person who fulfills this role and takes ultimate responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the student group. The tour escort’s role is to assist the teacher when a decision needs to be made, and to inform him or her about any potential charges which may be incurred for making decisions that do not coincide with the planned itinerary.

Here is a breakdown of the role a tour director will play on a class trip and the responsibilities of the teacher or school group leader:

Tour Escort
• Introduces him or her self to the teacher before the trip via a personal telephone call.
• Uses the itinerary as a guide for the entire class trip.
• Keeps the group on schedule and manages any issues that may arise that will affect timeliness in attending scheduled events, destinations, eateries, etc.
• Acts as a liaison between the attractions, hotels, restaurants, bus driver, and other stops on tour.
• When requested by the teacher or group leader the tour director may assume more control of the group. For example, a teacher may be away on a personal phone call, trip to the restroom, or overseeing a problem with a student or group of students. The tour director will act as a temporary group leader when the teacher’s attention is elsewhere.

Teacher
• He or she is the group leader of the class trip and maintains control of the students.
• The educator dialogues with the tour escort and makes final decisions on adjustments to the itinerary or schedule.
• A teacher will consult with the tour escort on any potential or actual financial changes that may occur due to modifications of the itinerary.
• When disciplinary problems arise with a student or group of students, the teacher takes the lead role in intervening and correcting the problem.
• If there is a problem with the venue or schedule, the teacher is informed by the tour escort how the issue will be resolved and makes final decisions on the outcome of the situation.

The teacher and tour escort relationship is always more effective when both individuals keep the lines of communication open. An adept tour escort is a proficient communicator. An educator has to have excellent speaking skills to manage a classroom on a regular basis. When both of these key roles are working in unison, a student trip to any destination is a quality educational experience remembered fondly by all.