One of the extra things we are happy to provide through the orchestra is opportunities to travel. Trips can be a great way to build memories, expand your cultural frame of reference, engage in additional musical opportunities, build relationships with people in the program, and build independence skills that help you prepare for life beyond FMHS. I have travelled with high school groups/ensembles over 20 times, and it is always wonderful to see friendships being forged, and memories being made. I have been very impressed with how FMHS students have represented the school and themselves on trips at FMHS. It has been an absolute pleasure. Traditionally, the orchestra alternates in state travel with out of state travel. This is an out of state year. Trips are absolutely optional, open to all orchestras/students, and are in no way required. If you are interested in traveling with the Orchestra to Disney/Orlando this April 5-8, attached is the information discussed in class. The first deposit (check made payable to FMHS OBC), along with form/contract are due this coming Monday, October 2nd. Please note that the form must be notarized outside of school (not at the school) at a location such as a local bank, or AAA branch. Unfortunately, there is not a credit card option. In a second e-mail, I will send an itinerary. Keep in mind that this is not a finalized itinerary, as it is dependent on when Disney schedules our Disney Plays workshop. The sequence of events may change, but it should give you an idea of what experiences will be available.
Are trips required?
No, they are optional.
What at some of the highlights of this year’s trip?
We will play for Disney Plays (a Film Music Workshop where we work with a clinician and record live music to a Disney Film), experience two Disney Parks, and Universal Studios. Accommodations will be Hyatt Place Universal, and we will fly from DFW to Orlando.
What is your relationship to the company?
FMHS has worked with US Integrity Touring for many years, and I also worked for a youth orchestra program in the Northeast that used them. In addition to many other clients across the country and TX, they have supported travel opportunities for fine arts students/ensembles at Martin High School, and Marcus High School. They organized our most recent out of state trip to NYC, and parent/student feedback was excellent. It was one of the most seemless trips in my recent memory. People generally had a great time, and felt as if they received what they invested in.
All students will be in Quads. You may room with students from other orchestras. Details and sign-ups for roommates will be discussed in the Spring as we approach travel.
Meals and Spending Money?
Generally, breakfast is included and lunch is on your own in the parks. Dietary concerns/needs are passed along to the tour company and they work with all restaurants to ensure everyone is accounted for. Specifics on what is included is in US Integrity’s contract/form. $20-$25 per day is recommended for meals/souvenirs dependent on how many souvenirs/what kind of meals you want.
How does “free time” work, what do I bring, how is medication/dietary needs handled, etc.?
There will be a meeting in the spring where we discuss specifics such as these. There will be times when we are all together, and times when you have independent time to explore the parks. On independent time, the district policy is that students are in small groups of 4, boundaries are establish, and students have check ins in with chaperones. This will give you plenty of time to explore the parks, enjoy rides, and also ensure you are supported in the way you need. It always great to hear about the individual adventures and experiences you have! We collect dietary needs, and medical information and this is accounted for. Our goal is for students to be comfortable, safe, and for all of their individual needs to be supported.
May I provide my own transportation?
No, we travel together as a group. Questions about airline employee discounts, etc. should be directed to the travel company.
We take three school chaperones (Mr. Clink, Mr. Gemoets, and a school administrator). Traditionally we do take 4-8 parent chaperones based on the number of students going. We want to ensure that as many students have the possibility to attend as possible (I.e., we cannot have a plane of 50 parents, and 50 students). If you are interested in chaperoning, e-mail Mr. Clink and we’ll let you know how many we will be able to take once we have a list of what students will be traveling. You do not need to turn in your initial deposit/form on Monday’s first due date. We will contact you with further details.
You may bring one checked bag, one carry on, and one personal item that can be placed under your seat (small bag). Violin/Viola players will take their instrument as their carry on. Instruments for Cellos/Basses will be rented in Orlando and delivered to our workshop at Disney (no additional cost to you).
Will it be fun?
Yes!!! I’m sure many memories will be made, many pictures will be taken, and many great experiences will be had.
Director of Orchestras
Flower Mound High School
Here’s the link to our trip this year.