Top Cities in the U.S. for Performance Tours: NYC, Washington D.C. & Orlando

High school bands, orchestras, ensembles, choirs and other student performance groups generally tour cities where they may perform in a public venue.   When arranging a band trip, I often recommend specific cities where musicians are encouraged to perform in some of the most visible public venues. Performance groups often travel to: New York City, Washington D.C., Orlando when traveling on the East Coast of the United States. Philadelphia and Atlanta are also popular choices for performing groups, however this piece will not offer an overview of these two cities.

I have selected the most current and popular performance venues in these cities. Adjudicated performance dates and parades for marching bands in these selected locations are also noted. Working with a student travel company with experience in performance is a must for a successful trip. Whatever need a performance group may have may be planned and adjusted by a professional. Band, orchestra and choir leaders can focus on preparing the group for performance through rehearsals, while the educational travel expert takes care of all of the necessary details for the trip.

New York City

Since many performing artists aspire to work on Broadway or in television or film, New York City is a premiere destination for student groups. Some of the most highly respected performance venues are located in New York City and available for booking public performances: the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations building and Lincoln Center are all popular choices for bands, orchestras and ensembles. Choir directors may also select The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. For performance groups that require adjudication (formal judging) the season for this type of festival runs from March 12-June 4.

Washington D.C.

Band trips headed to Washington D.C. will find a plethora of choices for performance venues. These include: The White House Ellipse, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Union Station, the U.S. Navy Memorial, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall. For more information about adjudicated festivals in Washington D.C. contact a student travel company experienced in performance booking. For bandleaders interested in participating in parades in Washington D.C., consider the National Cherry Blossom Festival or the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Both occur in early spring – a great time to travel to Washington D.C.

Orlando

Orlando, Florida is an excellent destination for a student performance group. Universal Studios Florida provides the Star Performance Program for concert bands, marching bands, show choirs, dance teams and other performance groups. Student groups may perform at one of the five themed islands at Universal Islands of Adventure.

In Disney World, student bands, choirs, orchestras and ensembles as well as dance troupes have a variety of choices, too. Here they may play publicly at: Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Center, the Disney-Hollywood Studios Theme Park and the Disney Village Marketplace.

For marching bands, Disney provides several different parades in their parks. Band trips can join the parade at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot Center and Disney-Hollywood Studios Theme Park. Marching bands may also end up on stage after a parade for a ‘stand-up’ concert.

 For band leaders, choir leaders and music teachers, having the band perform to a new public audience is a large part of the reason for traveling. Students are introduced to new cities and travel experiences with fellow musicians. They rehearse more vigorously for these performances, and learn to set-up and break down a performance in an environment outside of school. In some cases, where time and budget allow for it, an educational travel company may even be able to schedule master classes with professional musicians in conjunction with the tour.

To schedule a band trip or performance tour, email info@eudcationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.

Blended Learning About September 11th, 2001

By Howard Clemens

Visiting New York City for the first time is an exciting experience for student tour groups. Many students of junior high and high school age were quite young when 911 occurred. Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. also suffered casualties that day in separate strikes. Now it’s time for them to study the historical date and events that unfolded that day in the place that was the center of the world’s attention: New York City. On this hallowed ground in Manhattan, also known as Ground Zero, a rebirth of hope and prosperity has taken place during the intermittent years.

Before journeying to New York City, history and social studies teachers can prepare students with online lessons about 911. The websites for the National September 11th Memorial and Museum and the new One World Trade Center are a great place to start. Teachers may also ask students to research magazine and newspaper articles and television news clips of that time period- and present their findings to the class to share.

Ground Zero has changed immensely since 911. It took a long span of time to remove the rubble from the site of the former Twin Towers. The rescue workers and those who carried the rubble away were sensitive enough to keep some mementos of the building and the towers to memorialize the day and better explain the events to those who were not there.

New World Trade Center
One World Trade Center opened to the public in 2015. The project spanned many years in fundraising, planning and construction. One World Trade Center incorporates the materials and concepts of contemporary architecture and design. Best of all, the newly opened One World Trade Center’s 100th floor is designed as the main observatory. Students will love the glass elevator and the commanding view of New York City and New Jersey from the 100th floor. Groups who visit may step into the interactive Sky Portal, which offers remote real time street viewing of the neighborhood below. After finishing the tour, students may visit the gallery to purchase one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

National September 11th Memorial and Museum
Also known as the 911 Memorial and Museum, this site was developed prior to the opening of One World Trade Center, and has been on most student travel itineraries since its opening in May 2014. At the Museum, students will see the actual bedrock of the original World Trade Center and relics of the towers – such as the twisted piece of “impact steel.” Student tour groups will learn more about first responders and victims of the catastrophe on September 11th and examine some of the personal items left behind such as: shoes, glasses or a United Airlines lapel. Fragments of lives lost and stories about first responders heroism make the 911 Museum a must see for students.

The Memorial is arranged to celebrate each victim lost on 911 and on February 26, 1993, when the World Trade Center was bombed for the first time. The name of each person who died in these terrorist attacks is inscribed in bronze around the twin memorial pools. There is also a survivor tree, and a memorial exhibition made up of contributions from families and loved ones.

Post NYC Student Trip Chat Room
Teachers who want to create a true blended learning experience of the trip will want to start either a page on Twitter.com for sharing thoughts and photos during and after the school trip to New York City or a private room where the class may post such materials and thoughts. This activity will allow students to engage their thoughts and share videos and photos post trip – a vital part of any active learning experience.

New York City is a premiere destination for student travel. To learn more about a trip to NYC that incorporates a visit to the national 911 Museum, email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.

Student Travel Groups Visiting NYC: Include a Tour of the Most Magnificent Cathedrals in the World

by Howard Clemens

student travel nyc
Saint John the Divine Cathedral in NYC is a great place for student tour groups to visit.

When most people hear the word ‘cathedral,’ they generally think, initially of cities like London, Paris, and Rome. But it’s also true that many wonders of religious architecture are located in North America. And New York City, in particular, is home to some of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world. Which means that student travel groups headed to NYC looking to experience the full impact of architectural excess and Catholic iconography are in for a truly immersive treat.

Exploring all of the Big Apple’s cathedrals is a no small task. For Catholic school trip leaders, a full Cathedral Tour of NYC may be desirable. Other class trips may choose to incorporate a tour of one of New York’s cathedrals in a neighborhood they are visiting, or to expand upon the study of a historical period.

Consult with an educational travel company prior to building an itinerary that showcases some of the city’s most impressive cathedrals. So where is a trip leader of a student travel group to begin? This short list of cathedrals in NYC is a great place to start.

student trips nyc
Saint Patrick’s is a famous cathedral in NYC.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral: A NYC Landmark
With its spectacular Neo-Gothic architecture and interiors modeled on the ancient churches of Italy, the world famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a magnificent starting point for any student tour of NYC. The cathedral has over 65 stained glass windows, the most famous being its 26-foot rose window, a towering masterpiece made up of more than 10,000 pieces of glass in a dazzling variety of colors. Students can also see a statue of the Lady of Guadalupe at the Altar of the Sacred Heart, an awe-inspiring devotional site that’s lit by hundreds of candles. For student groups visiting other sites in Manhattan, St. Patrick’s location is perfect. It’s right in the middle of bustling midtown Manhattan, across the street from the Rockefeller Center and its ice-skating rink. A visit to Saint Patrick’s is worthwhile. After visiting the cathedral, student tour groups may want to cap off the day with a fun-filled whirl across the ice.

Saint John the Divine: The Fourth Largest Christian Church in the World
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, located in the Manhattan “college neighborhood” of Morningside Heights, has the notable distinction of being the fourth largest Christian church in the world. The church is known for its exquisite works of art, which include the Barberini tapestries, woven in the 17th century and inspired by the life of Christ. Saint John the Divine’s entrance is magnificent with its bronze doors, which were cast by Ferdinand Barbedienne of France, the same artist who cast the Statue of Liberty. The cathedral also has its very own cultivated Biblical gardens, which feature a wide variety of the plants and flowers that are mentioned in the Bible. Student travel groups may even take a guided rooftop walking tour, taking them up spiral staircases that wind up to the very top of the cathedral. Since Saint John the Divine is located in an academic neighborhood, groups can take the opportunity to spend part of the day touring famous nearby institutions such as: Union Theological Seminary, the Manhattan School of Music or Columbia University.

Riverside Church: History and Architectural Grandeur
Morningside Heights is also home to Riverside Church. As the tallest church in America (and the 24th tallest church in the world), Riverside covers two full city blocks and boasts a 392-foot bell tower. It is also known for its impressive stained glass apse dome, and for the labyrinthine “maze” inlaid on its floors. The church has a rich cultural and social history. Dignitaries such as Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela have spoken there. The Riverside Church has its own theater, which is has been host to many musical and dance performances.

New York City has many cathedrals in different neighborhoods, as well as churches with longstanding religious and political histories. These three itinerary selections were made because they are in Manhattan and all student groups visit this part of New York City. To further enhance the student travel experience, work directly with an educational travel company for even more ideas on cathedrals to visit in NYC.

Inquire about booking a cathedral tour that’s bound to be as spiritually enlightening as it is fun and educational: email Educational Travel Consultants at info@educationaltravelconsultants.com, or visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.