As a tour project manager for nearly 10 years, I have assisted many choirs as they plan trips abroad. As a singer, I have had the opportunity to sing with some of the groups as they experience the joy of taking their songs outside the sanctuary. There are many benefits of traveling abroad with your choir. Here is a list of some of them.
• The opportunity to explore new cultures and the history of other countries.
• The choir has the opportunity to share their faith through music.
• It builds teamwork within the sections and strengthens bonds among the choir members. These strong relationships improve musicality as well.
• It adds excitement to your music program and helps your music program to grow. It’s a great recruitment tool for new members!
• Choir members will find the reception to their music in other countries to be an encouragement to them and they will gain confidence as singers.
• They perform in some amazing cathedrals and churches.
• When there is an opportunity to share a concert with a local choir, they have the opportunity to meet and interact with singers from other cultures. This is often rated as the highlight of an international trip, surpassing visits to iconic sites.
• Your singers experience an audience response in different countries. For example, Europeans LOVE spirituals and gospel selections. Even if they can’t understand the words, the language of music reaches them.
• Expands your singers’ knowledge of musical history. There’s nothing more rewarding than singing a Handel composition in Dublin where the Messiah was composed! Each country you visit offers an opportunity to explore its musical heritage.
• Often concerts and performances in other countries are arranged as benefits for a local charity. Your singers will enjoy the opportunity to give back and to learn about the needs other countries and cultures face.
• Traveling as a group provides a safe environment for those less daring. Even the most timid traveler will find comfort in traveling with people they know and as a group. For some of your singers, this may be their first time traveling to another country.
• Music is the universal language. We’ve heard that phrase many times, but when singing in different countries among people from difference cultures, your singers will learn just how much they have in common with other singers.
Many of the tours I have managed have been hosted by Joseph Martin as part of his “Journeys with Joe” offerings. Singers find it quite thrilling to spend a week with one of their favorite composers and to perform his music under his direction. Some of the most successful and popular musical selections sung on “Journeys with Joe” tours include:
• A Prayer for Our Time, by Joseph Martin – was especially meaningful when performed at the American Cemetery at Normandy, France.
• Bless This House, arranged by Joseph Martin– was performed at an opening of a new mission in Belfast, Northern Ireland and at numerous cathedrals.
• Come to the Music, by Joseph Martin – always an exciting way to open a concert.
• Song for the Unsung Hero, by Joseph Martin – performed at the American Cemetery at Normandy, France.
• The Journey, arranged by Joseph Martin – takes on special meaning as the singers reflect on their choir journey and when performed at the final concert on a tour, the “Going Home” section rarely leaves a dry eye.
• Until We Sing Again, by Joseph Martin – a beautiful benediction for a service concert and to bring a successful tour to a close.
Whether you travel with Joseph Martin on a “Journeys with Joe” tour, or with your choir alone, you will find it a thrilling experience. Bon voyage!