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The Band Trip

April and May are traditionally the time of year many music programs take their Spring Trip. It’s the perfect time. Assessment/Festival is behind us, things are winding down, and it’s nice to reward the students with the opportunity to enrich and educate while taking them to perform in prestigious or exotic locations.

I will never forget the first overnight trip I took with my band. I was the Director of Bands at King George High School. It was my first year there – in fact, I came into the program in February after a director had been asked to step down after the winter concert. The band program had suffered for over two decades from a succession of directors committing only one or two years before moving on after “paying their dues.”

The program was decimated with less than 25 students in the whole band. The band parents (who were really sustaining the program) had planned a modest trip to Williamsburg.

I was young and I was nervous.

I’ll never forget the first night. I didn’t sleep.

The thought of me being responsible for these young people scared the daylights out of me!

I want to take a moment to share with all the young readers:

“Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.”

Here are a few highlights and anecdotes of some of my travels with the band.

The Producers

My first trip to New York City was a huge experience for the students in rural King George. We had a great performance and a wonderful clinic.

In planning for the trip, I asked my concert tour specialist, Owen, to suggest a Broadway Musical to take the students to. I really wanted to take them to see Wicked, but it had just come out and there was no way I was going to get tickets for the show so I asked for suggestions.

OWEN: You should take them to see The Producers.

ME: The Producers? Isn’t that Mel Brooks? Do you think it’s going to be appropriate for a high school group?

OWEN: Oh yeah! I took my daughters to go see it. It’s phenomenal. The kids are going to love it!

ME: I’m not sure but I’ll trust you.

Opening scene dialog:

MAX: …he was saying when you're down and out and everybody thinks you're finished, that's the time to stand up on your two feet and shout: "Who do you have to &$%@ to get a break in this stinking town?"

Immediately, I had saw 40 pairs of eyes snap in my direction. Chaperones wide eyed. Students with the biggest grin imaginable.


I felt six inches tall.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the musical. The acting and performance were superb! But I knew I would hear about it when I got home.

But, I didn’t.

Don’t worry. “It’s going to be okay.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I always preferred concert performances and clinics for the spring trip. I’ll never forget the time I took the band to Cleveland. Owen (yes, I still went with him for our concert tours – he did a fabulous job of creating custom tours!) booked an opportunity for the Jazz Ensemble to perform on the stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

My students never forgot that experience. When they realized they were performing on the same stage as everyone who had been inducted into the Hall of Fame, they were mesmerized.

They talked about for the next year. And they would even bring it up when they came back to visit after they had graduated.

Don’t worry. “It’s going to be okay.”

Fire Trucks

Later in my career, the music department travelled together. We were performing in the historic square of Williamsburg, VA, that afternoon. I had arranged a few classical pieces to suit our instrumentation for the trip. And as I was preparing to head out that morning in the hotel, I was excited to conduct the group in the performance.

Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off.

The hotel is evacuated.

Kids in half pajamas and half concert attire flood the parking lot as the sirens of two large fire trucks announce the arrival of the first responders.

Apparently, one of the orchestra students discovered her dress was severely wrinkled from the suitcase.

Steam is a good way to de-wrinkled an outfit.

So she hung her dress in the bathroom and turned on the hot water in the shower as hot as it could go and closed the door behind her.

20 minutes later, she opened the door and a flood of steam billowed out of the bathroom and triggered the sensitive fire alarm in her room.


Fortunately, everyone was okay and we had a wonderful performance that afternoon.

“Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.”

There are hundred of stories involving national championships, superb performances, and amazing clinics. The Spring Trip was always a wonderful experience for the students and for me.

Find a good concert tour specialist.

Tailor your travel to meet your goals and the needs of your program. Perform in a festival or custom tailor a concert tour.

Your students will love it and they will be forever grateful for the experiences you give them for traveling with the band.

Don’t worry. “It’s going to be okay.”

Want more information about concert festival travel and custom concert tours, contact me or visit

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