This trip was phenomenal!  Hands down, this was the best trip, and I thank the MCI staff for all of your work to assist in making it so!  The guided sightseeing was great!  The visit to the Sheep Dog Demonstration was AMAZING and for many, the favorite part of the trip!  The pacing was PERFECT!  It had the perfect blend of varied sight-seeing, interactive activities, and free time.  Our audiences were very appreciative!  After every performance we had people come up sharing how much they enjoyed our performance.  I plan to return to Scotland again with a group in the future!

This marks my 10th year of trips with MCI (eleven if you count the planning)! Music colleagues often ask me two questions about my travel adventures: first, how do I plan it all and feel comfortable doing international travel with students, and second, who do I work with and why?

The WHY I travel with students is easy! I believe that traveling abroad and performing in such venues is a hands-on educational experience. It opens the students’ minds to understand the history, culture, and customs far beyond their own and helps shape who they become. They grow musically having to listen differently in various acoustic environments, prepare music for different concert purposes, and come away with a new appreciation of their craft. Consistently, I have former students reach out to me asking about places we went, recalling the acoustics, the historical significance, or the connections made.

The HOW I travel is easy! Music Celebrations International takes the guesswork out of the equation and provides clear possibilities, itineraries, communication, and opportunities to make it all happen! I really appreciate that MCI is willing to work with me, the director, to create a product that best meets our needs and yet, with expert knowledge, make suggestions that go beyond my knowledge. Having worked with other music travel companies I can say that this is not the norm. With other companies, I felt forced into a “cookie cutter” trip, with no transparency on the costs, a lack of communication, and a severe lack of performance quality. The performance venues, expectations, and quality took a back seat to the fun/tourist activities. MCI does not sacrifice the quality or quantity of performances, yet they plan itineraries with a perfect balance of non-performance activities. I always recommend that colleagues take advantage of the MCI Director Preview Tours. These opportunities put the music director “in the know” and helps them know how to best plan. Finally, it has been my experience that MCI takes care of its clients. Having to cancel a trip during the pandemic brought a new view of MCI. When other travel companies were folding, MCI remained, worked to get as much money back to trip participants as possible, and for three and a half years after, assisted trip participants with using their airline credits. I cannot begin to thank the MCI staff enough!

Katrina Rooney
Kelley Walsh High School Choir