Many of my fondest memories of teaching have been related to the band trips that I have taken students on. My first trips were simple, and safe, venturing to the recreational capital of the USA, Disneyworld. Over the years I matured a bit and left this comfort zone to do plan trips to more significant locales, starting first in Philadelphia for the 4th of July parade, then later moving on to New York City and Toronto, Canada. On another trip a performance in Niagara Falls was one of the highlights of a very busy, yet satisfying week with my students.
Tonight on the way home I heard on the radio that one of my all time favorite destinations is going up in smoke as I write this. On my last band trip to California I took a suggestion and booked a side trip for my students to Catalina Island, off the coast of California . We boarded a large ferry boat along with hundreds of other visitors, many of whom were also students from other schools around the country. As we left the harbor that morning it was grim and dreary, overcast with a fairly thick fog. I, being the stout hearted band director, got sick as a dog during the one hour ferryboat ride. But as we approached the island it was as though the skies parted, the sun shone brightly, and an almost pristine landscape came into view, Avalon harbor on the island of Santa Catalina.
Tonight, Catalina is burning . They are evacuating the residents of Avalon to the mainland, probably on the very ferry that took my group to this miniature island paradise. Granted, Avalon is the purist form of a tourist trap, but if I had to be trapped in any one place that would be one of the better ones I can think of. I would be interested in hearing about anyone elses experiences on this or any other memorable band trip they have taken with their students. What are the most memorable destinations and events that you have had the blessing to take part in with your students? Please join the discussion!