Tag Archives: high school band trip

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, 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.

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.

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.

Billie Shay and Her Choir from Saint Patrick School Travel With ETC

For the past eight years, Billie Shay has taken her Junior High choir from Saint Patrick School in Decatur, Illinois to Washington D.C., Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta on performance trips to sing at these destinations. Her student travel company of choice is Educational Travel Consultants.

Student Groups Attending Music Festivals

In the beginning years, Shay’s groups were traveling to attend America Sings, a national event that is held in different cities each year. But since the cost of attending America Sings increased, Shay is now taking her groups on performance tour to different cities each year — and still happily traveling with Educational Travel Consultants.

A Flexible Itinerary for a Student Trip
Shay says, “What I like most about Educational Travel Consultants is that they are not just selling trips with definite itineraries. They give me a tentative schedule, and they work with me to adapt the schedule to our preferences and needs.” This flexibility is valuable to an educator who is tasked with tailoring the trip into a learning experience and adding a service component. “We don’t just perform at the main venue selected, the choir also goes to other places to sing when we travel,” commented Shay. “We sing at nursing homes and we also sing at a church on each student trip.” Shay’s group even sorted clothes at the Salvation Army one year. At one nursing home where the choir sang, the students played bingo and musical chairs with residents.

Students Take a Trip to Atlanta to Sing

The student performance trips are filled with entertainment and educational activities, some free and some low cost. Shay recalled Atlanta as a destination with a selection of interesting things to do, “Some of the activities we’ve done in Atlanta that are free are a shopping trip to underground Atlanta, a visit to the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a visit to the Coca Cola Museum, where students sample Cokes from around the world.”

A Performance to Remember in Nashville

One of the most memorable performances over the years occurred when the student choir sang onstage at Nashville’s Opry Mills mall. “It was quite an experience,” remembered Shay. “They patched us into the sound system of the mall and no matter where you went in the mall – they heard us. Many people stopped in the mall to hear us sing. People love the kids no matter what they do.” The visibility impressed the students and they were enthusiastic to find they were so well received.

Keeping Student Trips on Budget

According to Shay, Educational Travel Consultants also strive to keep student trips within budget. Shay has called several student travel companies to compare pricing and tours. Her groups have performed at the same events as school groups who attend with other companies. She has noted the differences in price and service. For example, some student travel companies provide box lunches, while she requests that Educational Travel Consultants book her choir at sit down restaurants. Other travel companies offer pre-packaged trips with little, if any, wiggle room. Shay needs more than that to accommodate the needs of the school and the students.

A Student Trip Closer to Home This Year

With the economy in a slump, budgets are a main concern this year, but Shay is still committed to taking her choir on performance tour, and ETC is working with her existing budget. In years past the student trips were partially funded by bingo held at the church, but bingo was closed down six months ago due to lack of participation. “So, this year, we are working with a slashed budget,” said Shay. They only have 21 students traveling, and that represents about half of the normal number of 45 or more. Saint Patrick School Choir is traveling to Saint Louis, Missouri this year, because it’s a closer destination, and that reduces costs.

ETC’s Customer Service

Shay says the customer service at Educational Travel Consultants really is the best. “The whole staff works around me, my parents, students and what we want,” she acknowledges. “We’ve always stayed in nice hotels. I’ve never had any major complaints. I have a cell phone number so if there is a snafu, 9 times out of 10 the tour guide will handle it. If they don’t for some reason then I can phone someone at Educational Travel Consultants and they respond to my request.”

This personal service is unique, and is one of the main reasons that Educational Travel Consultants is a leader in the student travel industry. The quality of tour, price point, and flexibility keep teachers returning to do business with Educational Travel Consultants. For more information about Saint Patrick School visit the school website. To request a quote for a student performance tour either fill out the request a quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Performance Cruise Field Trips for Music, Band, and Drama Students

The next time you consider taking your high school band or drama students on a road trip or educational field trip, especially to Florida, consider taking them on the high seas. Performance and festival cruises have been growing in popularity over the past several years. A performance cruise as a high school band trip may seem more extravagant than other field trips but the benefits of such a student trip make it worthwhile.

Many performance and festival cruises depart from Port Canaveral, Florida on four-day/three-night cruises in the Caribbean and include stops in the Bahamas, usually at Nassau and another port. There are other performance cruises that leave out of ports in California, Texas, Alabama, as well as other Florida ports. One cruise out of Tampa is a five-day excursion in the Western Caribbean and includes stops in Key West and at Cozumel Island, Mexico. Whichever cruise you decide on, with expert advice from an educational travel service, it will be memorable, fun, exciting, and an educational trip for your students.

Performance Education on a Ship
During a performance cruise, students will have an opportunity to showcase their talent in a performance aboard ship or at a port of call or both, depending on the cruise. Additionally, some cruises offer workshops, specialty clinics, seminars, and adjudication. Thus allowing student musicians, singers, and actors to gain confidence, assess their own skills, and learn new techniques.

Student performers will also have an opportunity to interact with a variety of theater and music professionals in an educational setting and learn about performing arts careers. Through critical feedback and instruction from performance clinicians, students will be able to identify their strengths and areas in need of development and improvement.

Students will also have plenty of time to socialize and make friends with peers in other performance groups who share their passion for music or drama. And if their performance is adjudicated, their efforts and talents will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. At the very least, they will get immediate feedback and encouragement from their audience as well as experience performing somewhere other than their high school football field or auditorium.

Performance Cruises for Students are Packed with Fun, Excitement and Educational Opportunities
A typical cruise leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida will sail through the eastern Caribbean to the Bahamas. This English-speaking commonwealth is an archipelago consisting of hundreds of islands and many ports of call north of Cuba and south east of Florida.

Most cruises make a stop at Nassau, the capitol, on the island of New Providence. Students can spend the day exploring this sub-tropical island city known for its sunny days and balmy breezes. Students can take a water taxi to Paradise Island for a day on the beach or to see the underground aquariums at the Atlantis resort. Students can also wander through local markets like the Straw Market, sample island delicacies such as conch fritters, and admire the architecture which is a colorful blend of colonial and old world styles.

The mix of African and European cultures in the Bahamas has resulted in a unique culture and one that is rich in various musical styles that are indigenous to the Caribbean. Students may be surprised to learn that marching bands are central to Bahamian life. Marching bands play at weddings, funerals and many other events rather than at football games or in holiday parades as in the United States. They may hear rake, scrape, calypso, or Junkanoo music in person while they are in Nassau. Hearing these different forms of music may inspire students to learn a new style or incorporate new techniques and sounds into their own musical performance.

Performance Cruises for Students: Field Trips Made Simple

Like other cruises, most everything is included, even meals and some port excursions, too. That means the cost is comparable to a traditional student or band filed trip. The ship board activities and entertainment will leave Chaperones with little to organize once they get their group to the port and aboard the ship allowing them to have as much fun as their band, music, and theater students. Many packages include one free trip for every 15 or 20 passengers in a group. It is always best to work with an educational travel consultant or expert to select and plan the best trip for your high school student performers. For more information about performance and festival cruise packages for student groups, Request a Quote and a professional travel consultant will respond to your inquiry.

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