You know how part of the stress/excitement of going somewhere new is that it’s all fresh and every thing you see, you are seeing for the first time? When you are responsible for yourself, or maybe your family, that’s part of the adventure and completely expected. But when you are the person who is responsible for 100+ other people, the majority of them children, it’s not nearly as exciting and frankly just plain worrying.
So, when the boss sent me an email that requested (strongly) that I go on a special trip in advance of our scheduled tour to Italy in the summer, the thought that I was the advance guard was the first thing my mind jumped to. I could take pictures of EVERYTHING I thought might be of help to chaperons and children. I could be familiar with the airport and hotels. I could get the skinny on social and religious expectations since we will be performing in many a religious venue. True, I have to go by myself, which is a little daunting to me, but honestly, I’m ok with going to observe.
This trip is for the leaders of various musical groups that will be touring Italy in the near future and is designed to give them a taste of what their group could expect. It’s an interesting promotion idea to get directors fired up about international travel in a time when maybe they hadn’t been considering travel. Since we are already committed to a tour, for us it’s a useful tool, but I’m certainly not the leader of a musical group in the traditional sense of things. Sure, you could line up the 384 students we have and I’ll know all of them by name with the exception of a handful. And I can probably tell you their mom’s name and what campus they go to and just about any other functional or logistic fact about them. But ask me about a composer, or a style of teaching or anything else along those lines and I’m going to smile and nod.
I love music. In fact, music is probably the one thing I’m most passionate about. (aside from my children and my cat) My entire being responds to music, but ask me about the way music is made or who makes it, and I’ll stumble. It’s ok that I’m not educated to the extent my boss is.. I can still appreciate music, and I definitely hear things that have merit when I figure out how to express them, but I don’t express that very well verbally. So, the thought of sitting on motor coach or at the dinner table with directors has me a little daunted. I want to make a good impression on behalf of the group I work with. I’m going into this with the thought that even though I’m not formally educated in music, I love it and this is an excellent opportunity learn more about how it all works.
Italy in February. Wow.. better step up those Italian lessons!