Spain, 2011This page will be used to post important information regarding the February, 2011 Concert Tour of Spain.FEBRUARY 11th - 20th, 2011Please check regularly.
In the video above, the MHS Band participates in a parade in the town of Ecija that was held in our honor. The first band is our host band based in Ecija. Following, you'll see the MHS Band marching down the main street of the town which led to a central plaza. There were 4 Spanish bands in the parade and at the end of the parade, we all performed in the plaza together. Following the plaza performance, we made our way to the town's theatre where we all gave a sit down concert for the public.
The video above takes place in Ecija's town plaza at the conclusion of our parade. Each band took turns performing. The first band peformed the anthem of their town, Ecjia. The second performed the anthem of their region of Spain, Andulasia. The third band performed the Spanish National Anthem. When they finished, we performed our National Anthem followed by "The Impression that I get" to give them a little taste of one of the many styles of American music. Its a little difficult to see, but we are surrounded by pretty much the entire town's population. It was a fantastic level of energy.
Above is a video of the band performing, in concert, in the municipal theatre in Ecija. After our introduction, Mr. Kahalehoe leads the band in a great rendition of a very well known Spanish guitar piece arranged for band, Asturias. What you can't see on the video is that the theatre is PACKED with standing room only!
This is the same concert in Ecija with the band performing the last part of our national march, The Stars and Stripes Forever under the direction of Mr. Warshafsky. The audience gave such an ovation that we were compelled to perform an encore! Following this performance, our students and all of the musicians from the other bands that performed attending a reception together where they got to know each other and learn about each other's customs and music. It was a fantastic cultural exchange.
During our stay in Granada, we had an amazing opportunity to do a joint workshop and concert with a local high school for the performing arts in a suburb of Granada called Ogijares. This video is part of the joint rehearsal and workshop where we shared how the music education system in the United States, and more specifically, in Montgomery, works.
This video is from the joint workshop with the band in Ogijares, now with the Ogijares band on stage educating our students about the music of Spain and the music education system they use. The Ogijares band was an incredibly talented ensemble that treated our students as if they were family. It was a fantastic experience.
On the day after our joint rehearsals and workshops, the Montgomery HS Band and the Ogijares band performed a joint concert together. We were honored to perform with them! At the end of the concert, both bands came together and performed the Stars and Stripes together. There wasn't enough room on the stage for all of us with chairs, so we got rid of the chairs and just crammed on stage. It was a blast!
At the conclusion of our concert with the Ogijares band, they threw a fantastic reception for us. In this video you'll see the end of Stars and Stripes again followed by some clips from that great celebration. These types of interactions were the most valuable experiences on the trip. Our students really got to know the students from Spain and for a short time, truly become immersed in their culture. The memories the students take with them from interactions like this will last them a lifetime and make them more worldly citizens.
Spain Trip Progress!!Saturday, February 12th, 2011We have all arrived safely in Sevilla! It is 8:40 p.m. Spain time and we all just finished eating dinner. The flight went very smoothly and after a beautiful ride through the Spanish country-side, we arrived at our hotel in Sevilla. We are very excited for our performances tomorrow in Ecija. More to follow in a couple days! Buenos Noches.Sunday, February 13th, 2011We had a very exciting day in Ecija. The town held a parade in our honor that went down the main stree. Our band followed three local municipal bands and as we went by, the entire town emptied onto the street to follow us. At the end of parade, the 3 municipal bands each played a nationalistic song including the Spanish national anthem. We then performed our national anthem. Following that, we went to the town theatre where there were over 500 people in attendance. We performed in a concert with the other bands to packed house and received a standing ovation and request for an encore. The best part of the day was the reception afterwards where our students engaged fully in conversation with Spanish music students from the other bands. It was fantastic watching them laugh and get to know each other as they talked about the differences between their education and similarities in music. The language barrier quickly became a non-issue as the students figured out how to communicate. It was a fantastic day for everyone! We have hundreds of pictures that we can share when we get back. Tomorrow morning we will do sightseeing in Sevilla and then we are off to Granada tomorrow night.Tuesday, February 15th, 2011Today we had our first day in Granada. Despite some wet weather, we still had an amazing time touring one of the most impressive architectural accomplishments in the world, the Alhambra. Alhambra is a massive Moorish complex that was built in 1238 and conquered by the Catholics on January 2nd, 1492. The combination of Moorish and Roman styles of architecture is difficult to imagine unless you see it.Later in the day, our students had another chance to interact with student musicians. We held a joint workshop-rehearsal with a performing arts school band from a suburb of Granada and afterwards, had a pizza party together. It was fantastic seeing our kids interact with these students and learning the differences between the music education systems in our two countries. Tomorrow evening (wednesday), we will perform a concert together where we will all combine at the end to perform the Stars and Stripes Forever by JP Sousa.All students are doing great and having a wonderful time. We´ve been running them around a lot so we are going to let them sleep in a little bit tomorrow morning and then give them some time to explore the city center of Granada. More updates to come in a couple days!Thursday, February 17th, 2011On Wednesday morning, students had free time to explore the city center of Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After some shopping and lunch, we had an afternoon rehearsal to prepare for that evening´s concert. The concert was a HUGE success. The kids played incredibly well and were also treated to a great performance by the Ogijares Band. At the end we all combined to perform Stars and Stripes Forever and were given a standing ovation when we finished. After the applause died down, Ogijares presented us with some heartfelt gifts and the mayor, who was in attendance at the concert, came to congratulate us. The concert was an amazing musical exchange that has broadened our students´ musical and cultural horizons.One of the highlights of the trip so far was the reception that followed the concert. Some impromptu music making took place by some of the Spanish students and an evening of dancing and singing to traditional Spanish songs ensued. I cannot even begin to describe the fantastic time that was had by everyone. This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that the kids will remember forever. Our students now have friends across the Atlantic with whom they can share a common bond.Today (Thursday) we checked out of our hotel in Granada and drove to Toledo. On the way, we stopped in Cordoba where we were treated to a tour of the incredible Mezquita. The Mezquita was a Mosque built in the 8th century that was conquered by the Catholics in 1236 and now serves as a Cathedral. It is an incredible structure ingrained in European history. After the tour, students had some free time to explore Cordoba´s beautiful shopping district. We then got on the bus and continued to our hotel in Toledo.Tomorrow, we will spend the day in Madrid and visit the Prado Museum.Saturday, February 19th, 2011The students had a great day sight seeing in Madrid yesterday, including a visit to the Prado Museum. After some time to explore La Plaza Mayor for some shopping and lunch in Madrid, we were treated to fantastic a private flamenco show and dinner.Today (Saturday), we spent the day in Toledo and saw the incredibly cathedral in the middle of town. Unfortunately, the weather was a little bit wet so we had to move the concert indoors, but the venue was beautiful with amazing acoustics. The kids plays great and the audience loved them. Afterwards, the students had some time to explore the fantastic city of Toledo, a true example of a small European city.Please remember our flight tomorrow (information listed below) is scheduled to land at 3:15 p.m. We should be arriving at Montgomery HS around 7:30, but will have the students call home once we are on the road. It has been an INCREDIBLE trip and I´m sure the kids have lots of stories to share with you.We´ll see you tomorrow evening!The following document is part of the Spain student-parent handbook. This book contains almost everything you need to know about the trip. There are some sections missing that we will go over in more detail at the meetings on February 3rd and February 7th. Please review these materials carefully!MEETINGSThere will be two mandatory meetings for all traveling students and their parents before we depart. These meetings are:February 3rd: 7:00 p.m., MHS MPAC (NOTE THE CHANGE FROM FEB. 1st!!)February 7th: 6:30 p.m. MHS MPACAt the February 3rd meeting, we will be asking all students for evidence that they will have a working cell phone while in Spain (print-out of plan update, print-out of rental receipt, etc.). We would also like to see actual passports (not just photocopies) on either February 3rd or 7th.TRAVEL INFORMATIONWe will be flying USAirways from Philadelphia to Madrid on February 11th, 2011 and Madrid to Philadelphia on February 20th, 2011. Students will be transported to and from Philadelphia International Airport via coach bus.February 11th:USAirways Flight # US740, depart PHL 6:35 p.m. arrive MAD 7:55 a.m.February 20th:USAirways Flight # US741, depart MAD 12:30 p.m. arrive PHL 3:15 p.m.CELL PHONE COVERAGEEvery students MUST have a working cell phone while we are in Spain. You should contact your cell phone provider immediately to figure out how to do this. We do not want any student to be without a cell phone in the event of an emergency. The week before we leave, we will ask for verification from all students that they have a cell phone with coverage in Spain.Note to Verizon Customers: Verizon phones will not work overseas. However, for a minimal charge, Verizon will ship you a rental phone that can be used. Please contact Verizon and ask for details.LUGGAGE ALLOWANCESEach student will be allowed 1 piece of checked luggage that cannot exceed 50 pounds.For carry-ons and personal items, it depends upon what instrument the student plays. Each student will be able to bring at least a personal item (purse, bookbag, small computer bag, or something that fits under the seat in front of you). Some students will be able to bring a carry-on as well. For most students, their carry-on item will be their instrument. An exact list of which students will carry-on instruments and which students won't will be available at the beginning of February.SHOPPING/PACKING LISTThe weather in southern Spain is similar to early Spring or mid fall. Normal temperatures range in the upper 50's to low 60's. Of course, an ill tempered cold or warm front can change all of that. We would suggest students pack mostly long pants and long sleeves with a couple shorts/short-sleeves just in case. Dressing in layers is highly suggested!Some items to keep in mind while preparing to pack:
DIETARY RESTRICTIONSWe understand that some students have dietary restrictinos due to allergies, religious beliefs, or health reasons. So we can plan for these accommodations, please fill out and return the sheet listed below. ALL students must fill one of these out even if you have no restrictions. Simply check "no restrictions." Thank you.
- concert attire - we will be doing 4 performances while in Spain. Students will need black shoes, black socks, black pants/skirt, white button down shirt/blouse, solid black tie. I would recommend 2 sets of this clothing (aside from the shoes and tie)
- dinner attire - we will be attending a couple of receptions for which we would like the students to dress nicely. Formal attire is not needed, but we would appreciate at least one set of clothes with no sneakers, no jeans, no t-shirts (button down shirt). Concert shoes can be worn for this so you don't have to pack a 3rd set of shoes
- travel attire - on Feb. 11th and Feb. 20th we will be asking students to dress comfortably but appropriately. Jeans/sneakers are ok.
- MHS Band windbreaker - thanks to the generosity of the Montgomery Rotary Club, students will all be given a Montgomery Bands wind breaker to use while in Spain. This is a light nylon shell which is perfect for dressing in layers
- plug adapter - For students bringing computers, hairdryers, phone chargers, camera chargers, and any other electronic device, you will need a plug adaptor. The outlets in Europe use a different plug shape than those in the U.S. These can be purchased in Best Buy or radio shack.
- Power Converter - On any electronic device that needs to be plugged in, please check the voltage requirements. Spain runs on 220V. The U.S. runs on 110V. You may or may not need this converter. For example, my computer charger says "voltage input between 110 and 220." So it does not need a converter. Please check anything that needs to be plugged in!