and the kids learned so much — and not just musically: culturally, things that you don’t experience in a classroom or see on television. The kids had an amazing learning experience, as they always do when we travel. Since then, we’ve been to the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, Calif., twice, we’ve been to Japan several times, and we also have taken our Wind Ensemble to an international wind festival in Hamamatsu, Japan. That performance was with the top bands in the country, ensembles selected through their national finals. It is an amazing event. Our students there got to hear some of the best bands in the world, and they got to know other students and play with them. It has been a priceless learning experience. The Symphony Orchestra has also been to Carnegie Hall twice.
The next item we look at is the location and time — is it possible? Do we have enough time to fundraise and prepare? Is it during a time of year when it’s possible for the students to go if they have to miss some classes? That is heavy in the consideration. After that, we look at the location as far as what other value there is for the students. For example, when we went
to Paris and London, we looked at the educational value outside of the parade itself. We ask ourselves, “What can the students bring home with them outside of what they can learn in a textbook, or read about on the Internet, or see on television or video? That is all taken into account, but it is mostly based on the performance — what we are being asked to do.
SBO: Is it further for you to go to New York or Japan? ES: [laughs] I’m not sure in terms of distance. However, it’s very far to go to Japan, culturally speaking. On the other hand, if you compare the culture of New York City to that of Hawaii, that can be pretty shocking, too. I don’t mean to say anything bad about New York, it’s just very different. SBO: Do these travel opportunities come through invitation or application or some other method? ES: Both. Usually, my philosophy has been to apply once we’ve been invited. I don’t usually pursue travel opportunities unless I get the feeling that the festival or parade really wants our band to come and play. I only take the time to do an application when I know that the people on the other end have interest in us. That way, the trip becomes something that the students have already earned. SBO: So what are the kinds of things that you look for when researching performance opportunities? ES: I’m not looking for necessarily the highest level, so much as the best learning opportunity for the students. We always look at the performance first — what it is, what the students are going to be doing.
SBO: What about as far as preparSchool Band and Orchestra, June 2008 25
SBO June 2008