A High School Band Trip to Orlando FL

Performance trips are a great way to showcase a marching band, orchestra, ensemble or choir. This type of trip always includes a public appearance of the band at a desirable venue. For Kris Parish, Performing Arts Chair at Santiago High School in Corona California and his co-director, Joe Dudek, historic venues are preferred.  “We played at Pearl Harbor twice and Carnegie Hall,” says Parish. They have been bringing their high school band on a trip each year for many years. “The band has been to Hawaii, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C.” recalled Parish.

Band Trip to Orlando Florida Includes Performance at Kennedy Center

This past spring, Parish and Dudek brought their band to Orlando, Florida, where they spent six days and five nights exploring the theme parks and sites. This particular band trip included a performance at Kennedy Space Center. Other high school bands have performed in Magic Kingdom or other Disney parks – so there are many options open for student musicians bound for this destination. The band performed at an outdoor stage.  “It was a great location to perform,” said Parish. “Kennedy Space Center enjoyed having us and the crowd was very receptive,” he added.

Students Raise Funds to Travel
Parish and Dudek direct a 210 piece marching band (recently selected to perform in the 2013 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade), three jazz ensembles and three concert bands for Santiago High School.  The marching band prepared for this trip with extra rehearsals.  About 100-130 students attend these performance trips each year.  Students fund their trip a variety of ways.  “They have all kinds of fundraisers: selling candy, entertainment books, and holiday greenery,” said Parish.  And, parents make contributions to the band trip as well.

Disney Performing Arts Workshop a Memorable Part of Student Trip
One of the highlights of the trip was attending a Disney Performing Arts Workshop, “You’re Instrumental.” This interactive learning experience put the band in a real Disney recording studio, where they were asked to sight-read music in preparation for a recording.  A Disney clinician who watched their performance and commented on their skills and attitudes critiqued band members.  Finally, the band was asked to perform music along with a Disney animated feature film. “They got to see the performance DVD playback,” said Parish, who retained a copy of the DVD for the students.

High School Band Performance at Magic Kingdom Rained Out!
There was a minor disappointment for the group. They were slated to play in the “Celebrate a Dream Come Tru” parade in Magic Kingdom, but were rained out.  “The park was absolutely swamped,” said Parish.  The itinerary was packed with plenty of activities that eclipsed this minor disappointment: Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, Universal Islands of Adventure, and the Kennedy Space Center.  The group also visited Cocoa Beach and had a cookout.

Orlando is an excellent choice for a marching band trip because of the obvious draw of Walt Disney World and Universal Islands of Adventure.  Disney does a great job of incorporating active learning programs alongside the exhibits and invites students to participate in park performances.   Other cities, such as New York City and Washington D.C., also have a great deal to offer in terms of performance venues and entertainment.

To request a quote for a band trip to any city in the U.S. take a moment to fill out the inquiry form.  Or, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.

Student Tour of San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay area is a treasure trove of educational experiences waiting to be explored by student groups.  The West Coast is so different from the East Coast because the history of its settlement started in the Nineteenth Century, instead of the Seventeenth Century.  The landscape and coastal regions of California are a contrast to East Coast geography.  Opportunities for learning about California history include: the Gold Rush, Indian removal, urban activism, marine life in the Pacific Ocean, the transcontinental railroad and more.

I have developed a list of destinations for this tour of San Francisco Bay with commentary on the educational benefits for each place.

Alcatraz Boat Tour
Student tours will visit Alcatraz Island, the famous prison island off the shores of San Francisco. Alcatraz housed some of America’s most dangerous criminals.  The National Park Service now maintains Alcatraz Island as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Alcatraz Island is only a ferry ride away from San Francisco, and includes a historical tour.  Alcatraz was once a military installation, then a federal penitentiary.  Nicknamed, ‘the rock,’ the National Park Service collection illustrates its vivid history, even as it relates to Native American culture.  Student groups will visit and tour Alcatraz Island and the education center to gain a greater understanding of this notorious prison.

Guided Tour of San Francisco

This bus tour will include a local guide narrating the history of San Francisco.  Groups will visit sites such as Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fort Mason, Nob Hill and more on this historic tour of San Francisco. Students and chaperones are given a general overview of the City of San Francisco and its rich and diverse history.

Ghiradelli Square
This contemporary shopping and dining destination offers one of the most scenic views of the San Francisco Bay and plenty for student groups to do.  Once the flagship factory and headquarters of the Ghiradelli Chocolate empire, today this area of San Francisco is a national historic site that was revived in the 1960s by the Roth family.  Some of the buildings which were saved and renovated include:  The Chocolate Building, Mustard Building, Cocoa Building, Apartment Building, Power Plant and the Clock Tower.

Monterey Aquarium
A short bus ride from San Francisco is Monterey Bay. This scenic and famous stretch of rocky coastline is a stunning example of the natural beauty California has to offer.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers student groups a deeper look at aquatic life found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay. The Open Sea Exhibit is now open again to visitors after a short period of renovation.  Students can see Green Sea Turtles, Hammerhead Sharks and other species native to the California coastal waters.  Sea otters are plentiful in this climate and captivate students with their adorable faces and interesting personalities. Groups should plan to spend time in the Aviary, where they can see birds that either use the California coast as a flyway, or make their homes there year round.

Big Sur
Big Sur State Park is a rich a varied forest (with Redwood Trees) that leads to rocky cliffs overlooking a wild Pacific Ocean.  In 1884 John Pfeiffer homesteaded a piece of the Big Sur River canyon then later donated it to the state in the 1930s.  Just off Route 1, Big Sur offers breathtaking views of the rough California coast. Student groups can see the 50-foot waterfall that drops into the Pacific Ocean. If there is time, tour groups can take short hikes on 1800 acres of ridges and uplands.  Majestic Redwood trees thrive in areas of the Big Sur forest. In addition, a 1,680 acre underwater reserve allows for exploration of marine life by snorkeling or diving. The park offers Junior Ranger Programs and Nature Walks for school groups.

Great America Theme Park
To add some entertainment to the mix, a trip to California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California is sure to please students.  Students can take thrill rides, such as Invertigo, Vortex, or Flight Deck to get their adrenaline pumping.  Loggers Run, Rip Roaring Rapids and White Water Falls are also popular with student groups. The Great America Theme Park also provides special concerts and themed events.  Trip leaders can secure specific days with enough advance notice.

This tour of the San Francisco Bay area in California encourages students to explore the great outdoors, urban life and marine life of the Pacific Ocean and Bay. For some students, this may be their only visit to the West Coast. They will have a chance to see Redwood trees, and visit San Francisco, one of the largest port cities in the United States, while they explore a history of settlement that helped define this country’s vastness and ability to expand.

Request a quote for a student trip to San Francisco or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.