From the local school stage to the big lights, travel and music are a potent learning combination for performance groups. Each year school choruses, bands, and orchestras can select from a host of exciting music festivals held throughout our nation and at exciting international sites. Each festival offers ample educational training combined with a memorable performance opportunity.
In the southeast, the All American Music Festival has been offering middle and high school bands, orchestras, and ensembles some of the finest musical competition for the last 27 years. The first music festival ever held in Orlando is host to hundreds of young musicians each season. Visiting troupes get to perform on a professional stage before an audience of their peers, and before a panel of experienced, professional adjudicators.
In 2008, the All American Music Festival will be expanded to include two Orlando performance venues: Hard Rock LIVE at Universal Orlando Resort and the new Arabian Nights Theater. Hard Rock Live is a 3,000-seat professional concert hall, which showcases music from national acts to emerging artists. Designed as a retro interpretation of the Roman Coliseum, the venue opened in 1999 and allows performance groups an authentic concert experience.
Following the performance, student group travelers can enjoy one of Universal Studio’s exciting parks including: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens, and the Kennedy Space Center. In the evening, students return for the All American Music Festival Awards Ceremony held inside Universal Studios.
The festival’s newest venue, Arabian Nights Theater, is designed as a Medieval, fairytale palace equipped with the latest in modern sound and technology. Following their performance, students are invited to enjoy a private awards banquet and the equestrian show.
Another popular Southeastern USA music festival is the Disney Youth Group Program, which provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for instrumental, choral, and dance groups. Students can perform for international audiences in a park, compete in Festival Disney, or participate in the invitation-only Disney Honors.
Groups interested in travel to this region of the country can also head to New Orleans for the Festival of Music, or to Myrtle Beach, S.C. where there are amusement parks and theme restaurants available for a quality performance. Student group travelers to South Carolina can also see how stars learn to shine at the Carolina Opry, which offers Broadway-quality variety shows.
Out West, marching bands are always eager to visit Pasadena, Calif. for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade held on New Year’s Day. This elite parade showcases high school marching bands from throughout our nation.
A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without a stop at nearby Disneyland, for a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Those interested in international travel might want to consider the Montreal Heritage Festival which brings groups to one of the oldest cities on the continent. In addition to gaining beneficial performance experience, student group travelers also enjoy the city’s rich history and multicultural life. Old Montreal features beautiful churches and squares, while new Montreal is a modern mecca and home to the famous “underground.” Groups participating in the Montreal Heritage Festival can also take a guided city tour or walking tour of Old Montreal.
Travel to London, England for a performance at the Royal Academy of Music would be the pinnacle for any student performer. Located in the heart of London, the Royal Academy of Music has produced some of the world’s finest musicians. Performing on this prestigious stage is an unforgettable experience for any ensemble. Groups can also soak up the excitement and culture of London with tours of Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Big Ben. Tours can also be arranged to include a trip to the West End for a theater performance and a spectacular awards ceremony.
Whether your group travels to perform in the US or abroad, there is no better educational opportunity for student musicians than attending one of the world’s top musical festivals.
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