December 16th, 2014
Are you considering a first tour for your chorus? Here are more tips from tour companies and choruses for making it the best possible experience for your members and your organization.
- Consider starting small with a shorter, domestic trip for your first venture.
- Choose your tour destination at the leadership level, rather than putting it to a vote of the full choir and disappointing those who vote for another destination.
- Have a strong tour committee plan the tour and coordinate with members, but don’t make the committee too large.
- Secure the support of the artistic director, but let someone else be the tour manager so the artistic director can focus on musical aspects of the tour.
- Begin planning early: one to two years in advance.
- Don’t try to cover too much ground in one tour. Consider time spent on buses vs. in concerts and activities.
- Keep in mind that smaller towns and venues often offer better audiences than famous cathedrals full of tourists.
- Bring some memorized music so the group can break out into song on the street or at a historic tourist sight (but research whether you need permission to do so; some countries are strict).
- When working with a tour company, find the right company that will listen to you and plan the tour that’s best for your choir. Ask colleagues for recommendations.
- Some ideas for fundraising:
- Give a “departure concert” with ticket sales offsetting tour expenses.
- When asking businesses or organizations in the community to be sponsors, be specific, e.g. ask for an exact amount to sponsor one singer’s travels.
- Hold a raffle or auction.
- Use social media to reach out to the community and publicize the choir’s planning and travel.
- Some tips for traveling with youth choruses:
- The right chaperone/student balance depends on the age of the singers, but be sure to have a manageable ratio of children per adult, especially when in transit.
- Consider bringing non-parent chaperones or not having parents room with their own children, because parents are more likely than their kids are to bend the rules and stretch curfews!
- Before the trip, teach children to be situationally aware – to pay attention to their surroundings and their belongings, especially passports.
Kathryn Mueller is a writer and freelance soprano. She lives in Raleigh and is on the voice faculty at East Carolina University.
This article was adapted from The Voice, Winter 2014-2015.