When I was in high school (a long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I had the great privilege of participating in music tours organized by the school’s vocal and instrumental directors. Lucky enough to be based in London, these tours took us to Germany, Spain, Denmark … They are undoubtedly among my favorite teenage memories. I can’t tell you much about the performances, what we played, or where we played – my memories are of the social times with friends in hostels and on trains, searching for restaurants, and flirting with strangers. Important learning experiences for a teenager.
Fast forward many years … I just returned from a week in the UK where I organized a music tour for a group of students from the School of Rock. Several kids are seasoned world travelers, but many obtained their first passports for the trip. They performed 7 gigs in 7 days, were treated like “real” rock stars, and had the chance to see quite a few towns and cities in England – not to mention make friendships with local musicians and truly experience another culture.
It was a great experience for the kids (their travel blog here), and one I’m glad to have helped provide. I relied heavily on friends from the past who helped with coordination and logistics. But in the end, all I can do is sigh with admiration for Georgia and Richard Bassett – my music directors from high school who did this every year with over 100 kids and a full orchestra (yes, we traveled with tubas). Now that the exhaustion and jet lag have begun to wear off, I am left with true awe for their dedication to students.
Here’s to the teachers who make a difference in our lives ….
And PS – if anyone knows how to forward this to the Bassetts in England, I’d appreciate it.