Picture your band marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Dublin and Limerick.
You really can’t imagine a more exciting experience.
James Smith, Regional Director/West for Encore Tours, wore a huge grin as he talked about his clients’ St. Patrick’s Day adventure.
“These are some of the most incredible parades a band director can provide for their high school and college bands,” exclaimed James. The St. Patrick’s Day package is a great value, and was designed for band directors who are eager to provide an experience that is guaranteed to change the lives of their band members through international travel.
When asked about his clients’ experiences in Ireland, James gave an account that is certain to be music to a band leader’s ears:
Let’s start at the beginning, James. How were the flights?
Dublin is an easy trip from anywhere in the USA and Canada. The airlines we chose were top-notch. Everything went like clockwork.
What kind of support was available to the band directors in Ireland?
Encore provided a great support team in Ireland, with fantastic tour guides on each motor coach and drivers who also doubled as back-up guides. Our experienced Encore tour guides were with the bands 24/7.
How about hotel accommodation?
We at Encore provided a pre-tour inspection for the band directors, so they had a chance to experience the same hotels that were reserved to accommodate their bands. That element of the pre-trip planning was invaluable. As with all hotels that Encore chooses, the best hotel for their needs was several steps above your average hotel in quality and amenities. We chose Bewley’s Newlands Cross– and it was perfect for our marching bands: spacious and elegant accommodation at a very practical price.
Meals, touring, sightseeing?
The bands loved the city tours. Our St. Patrick’s Day Package packs a lot of adventure into every day. For example, Glasnevin was a favorite site for all the bands. Meals were fantastic, and the restaurants were top-notch. Everyone agreed: the food was delicious.
How about the parades?
What I heard back from all of the marchers was essentially this: the parades were the greatest, most emotion-packed musical experiences that they had ever participated in. Half a million people lined the streets of Dublin, 8-10 people deep for two miles. Band Directors were reportedly high-fiving the people along the route. It was a tremendous thrill for the bands, the directors, and the crowds.
In Limerick’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival Parade, most of the marchers said they loved the laid-back atmosphere of that region of Ireland, and everyone wanted to stay longer in Limerick than time allowed. They’re already planning for next year and some bands have said they wanted to start their tour in Limerick and travel up to Dublin for a different shape to their adventure.
What else did you plan for them besides the parades?
We at Encore booked additional concerts in Belfast at the Titanic Museum, both inside and out. Inside the atrium is always spectacular, with crowds of people leaning over the railings to cheer enthusiastically for the bands. The Irish people, as always, are respectful and appreciative. The musicians are always absolutely astounded at the warm and energetic reception they receive at every venue.
Any other thoughts?
Yes. The words that come from a trip like Encore’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Package are: fabulous, super smooth, well beyond what they imagined. The directors are already planning for next year because it was well worth the money – great value and more exciting than words could convey. A life-changing experience.
Parents who traveled on the tour loved every minute. The memories were priceless and the experience was far beyond what they had envisioned.
What’s the approximate cost of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Package?
Check out the Pot of Gold page for details. You will find the cost so affordable, you won’t be able to resist signing your band up for 2015.
About the Author
Ward Dilmore is a recently retired music teacher from Wilmington High School, MA where he grew his string orchestra from 12 students to over 450, in large part due to his incorporation of foreign travel into the program. Ward initially traveled with other companies, but once he found Encore, he never looked back. He has taken his ‘Strings Attached’ orchestra overseas with Encore 7 times, in total taking over 1,200 students abroad during his years at Wilmington.More Content by Ward Dilmore