Once a week rehearsal, once a term concert, once a year Christmas ‘special’... Do you ever feel that you need something exciting to liven up your season and boost your membership?
Many ensembles consider a foreign tour as an integral part of their annual or bi-annual programme, but some shy away from such an undertaking: We’ve never done it before, we’re too small/big, we’re not good enough. Here are just a few things to get you thinking about how it could work for you, and to take away the worry factor!
Every company wants to tell you how different they are, and how they offer the best service, but here are a few things that you’re encouraged to think about.
It’s all about the music: it’s a concert tour after all. Make sure your tour quotation includes a good publicity budget, that there are no hidden venue hire charges, and that you are being provided with venues that are suitable for your ensemble. They should of course want to discuss appropriate repertoire and advise you musically, and even suggest destinations based on your planned programmes back home. Elgar symphonies don’t work on town squares, and Rhapsody in Blue can’t be done on a battered upright piano!
We’re often amazed by what touring ensembles will ‘put up with’ when on tour. These can range from having to pay on the spot to enter your own concert venue, to turning up to find the venue locked and the wrong date on the poster. We also hear of pre-tour inspections involving lost drivers, language barriers, and closed hotels!
It doesn’t have to be like this!
Your tour company should really have all this in hand, and should make a point of visiting you and your ensemble, maybe more than once. And don’t accept the cheapest price or feel that you have to pay more than necessary: it’s perfectly acceptable to obtain price quotations from different agents, and then set the budget you want with the company that you ‘feel’ best about. And it can be quite daunting, but quite exciting.
So although no company can guarantee audiences, they should be able to guarantee that your ensemble returns revitalised, reunified, and ready for greater musical challenges! So get out there,
find a company that will get on with the tour arrangements and let you get on with the music making (abroad)!