Director John Moon recently returned from his 7th trip with Encore Tours, having traveled to Spain with the St. Stephen’s Global Ensemble – comprised of members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School's orchestra and percussion ensemble, and a professional world fusion band, Atash.
Read our interview with John about his ensemble’s experience on their most recent international performance tour!
Encore: What were the top three highlights of your tour?
John: “Our performance at Teatro Municipal Isabel La Católica in Granada as part of the Andalucia Music Festival, our performance in Salamanca, and visiting Ronda and Segovia.”
Encore: What were the most rewarding parts of the trip for you and your musicians?
John: “Performing on stage together for the people of Spain and the standing ovations and calls for an encore. Three encores were requested at all four concerts!”
Encore: How did having an experienced Tour Manager enhance your tour experience?
John: “[Our Tour Manager, Sonia] met us at the airport and saw us through the whole trip. Her vast knowledge of language, country, and customs made everything run more smoothly. She helped with everything from sore throats to redirecting our route in one potentially exhausting travel day.”
Encore: On your, did you see examples of your passengers coming together as friends or as a close-knit ensemble? How do you feel that your performance tour fostered this?
John: “One of the reasons we take performance tours is because the ensemble experiences tremendous growth and development over the run of four concerts. We know it and they feel and hear it. They come back to school a stronger ensemble with new friendships. Riding on a bus, exploring new places, and making music together builds closeness and friendships.”
Encore: Now that you’re back home, what have you heard from your passengers about their experiences on tour?
John: “Best trip ever! [My students loved] the thrill of performing for large audiences, being in a beautiful country and using their language skills, and experiencing the beautiful culture of Spain.”
Encore: What was your top takeaway from this tour?
John: “Spain was a perfect place to take our music. The audience response showed that they were deeply appreciative of our program. The students felt this connection with the audience at every performance.”
Encore: What would you tell a music director who is thinking of taking their ensemble on a performance tour, but isn’t quite sure?
John: “After a great performance tour, your kids will talk about it as a highlight of their high school experience. And before you return home, they will be asking where the next one will be. The benefits don’t stop at the end of the tour. Your program will grow and will continue to reach high levels of accomplishment.”
John Moon is an Encore Group Leader and the Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. He holds his master’s degree in classical violin performance from the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music. In addition to teaching, John serves as the executive director of Global Harmony productions and is executive producer for Atash recording projects.
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