Boston band trip – May 2017

In May 2017, I was delighted to act as tour director for an Oakville high school music program. I organized a five day road trip to Boston for 57 students and 5 teachers/parent chaperones.

The itinerary:

  • a tour of the Harvard University campus
  • a walking tour of the Boston Freedom Trail
  • a workshop at Boston Symphony Hall with the principal French horn player (a Canadian!), plus a backstage tour of this lovely historic building
  • a baseball game at Fenway Park
  • a half-day workshop with Professor Charles Peltz at the New England Conservatory of Music – the highlight of the trip
  • a workshop with Professor Mark Olson from Harvard at a local high school
  • a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • performing in competition at the Great East Music Festival, and winning their first-ever Platinum award!
  • an afternoon of bowling in a very retro small-town bowling alley

In surveys completed after the trip, students gave the following ratings:

  • 98% of students surveyed ranked the trip as amazing or great
  • the workshop with Charles Peltz was the favourite activity at 97%, followed by 94% for the Boston Symphony Orchestra performance
  • 84% enjoyed the music festival
  • the average amazing or great ranking was 79% for activities, 70% for our dinners and 78% for our hotels

Comments from the students included:

  • “So much fun!”
  • “Lots of fun, loved all of the activities and time spent with friends!”
  • “I had an amazing trip. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a great experience! I especially loved the bus ride.”
  • “The trip was very full. We probably would have had to give up something to get something else and I can’t pick anything to give up. The music experience was exceptional.”
  • “Charles Peltz will remain among one of the best life experiences I have ever had. Truly an exceptional speaker.”

We also made the teachers and chaperones happy:

“Boston was amazing!  We were exposed to a diverse spread of opportunities from baseball to orchestra in our five day adventure.  The best part was having confidence in our tour director to know our needs and desires for our ensemble.  If there were ever a request, it was fulfilled immediately.  If there was ever a complaint  (which was rare), it was remedied expediently.  Being able to relax with our favourite 57 teenagers was all due to the organization and planning process that had been taken with true dedication. Thanks so much to Lisa for all of her hard work!”    

~ Amy Abbott, Music Teacher, T.A. Blakelock High School

“I want  to make a special mention of Lisa Michaels, who planned our school’s music department trip to Boston.  I signed up to serve as a parent chaperone and driver, and I was a little concerned that a trip with 57 teenagers might unravel pretty quickly.  When I met Lisa for the first time, she immediately put me at ease. She had already meticulously planned and organized our itinerary literally down to the minute.  Our whirlwind tour of Boston was full of constant activity and not without its challenges but Lisa was always there to help resolve any issues, always calm and confident whatever the challenge.  I noticed also that Lisa had made a special effort to establish relationships ahead of time with the many people that we met on tour, which made for easy communication and helped keep us on schedule.  Our trip to Boston was a resounding success and it couldn’t have happened without Lisa’s enthusiasm and eye for detail.  The kids came home full of great memories, happy and safe.  Thanks, Lisa!  I can’t wait until next time….. just as long as you’re in charge!”

~ Kyle Dadd, parent and chaperone

“I completely enjoyed the trip you planned to Boston this past May and felt very privileged to join as a parent chaperone. The trip was well planned; the hotels were very comfortable; the food was excellent which is no small task for a group of 60; the events were exciting, plentiful and varied; and musically, the trip was stellar.

The students were able to have a great Boston experience with the visits to Harvard, Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall and the guided walking tour as well as the most high calibre musical experiences including the Boston Symphony, the music festival performance and outstanding guest conductors.  The highlight, of course, was the morning spent with Charles Peltz from the New England Conservatory of Music. Listening to him and watching him conduct the band was like poetry in motion and an experience I won’t soon forget. The band was so engaged and you could hear the change in their music as they responded to his feedback. I cannot imagine how that event came together, but the experience was second to none.

You planned a trip full of events and experiences that had depth to them and clearly you enjoyed the job. Thank you for your effort.”

~ Catherine Schnarr, parent and chaperone