Shadow Tour: a trip conducted in parallel with a student performance tour that lets family members enjoy student performances without impinging on the independence of the students.
Imagine your child’s high school choir is going on an amazing tour of Europe. Just like you wish you could have when you were a student oh so many years and economic strata ago. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could also go on the tour – but without crashing your student’s party? Enter the “shadow tour.” As run by Inside Europe Tours – sister company to Incantato Concert Tours for students – we got to do just that. Higher class hotels, excursions more aligned with adult interests (winery anyone?), better restaurants, shopping opportunities and more flavor the journey as our tour followed respectfully behind our students.
Why go on a Shadow Tour? Let me count the reasons:
- Seeing your child perform in amazing venues with audiences that truly appreciate the music. On our trip to Spain, the choir performed at high mass in Madrid, in a 12th century octagonal church in the world heritage town of Cuenca, at the Montserrat Abbey, in Sagrada Famila (complete with construction noise in the background), at a Music Conservatory in Valencia, and in a majestic gothic cathedral in Barcelona.
- Gaining a finer appreciation for the repertoire. Each venue our students sang in brought out something special in the music: the piercing pain of “David’s Lamentation” in Cuenca, “Unclouded Day” soaring in the cavernous Santa Maria del Mar, the atonal “Suite Delorca” in the Valencia Conservatory recital room where every note and run was heard with distinct precision and clarity. I don’t always “get” a choral piece on the first listen. Hearing the same pieces multiple times and in so many different environments educated our ears. Over time and repetition, the songs unwrapped themselves like birthday presents – surprising us even as we gained familiarity with the works.
- Semi-sharing experiences. Because we visited many of the same places, but at different times, we both shared the experience with our daughter and had different adventures. My experience in the marketplace in Valencia as the Fallas celebration literally exploded around us was different than that of a gaggle of teenagers bargaining their way through the stalls. Having seen similar sights, the stories we shared afterwards were richer and more meaningful.
- Spending quality time with other parents. Travel occurred out of the regular time stream. The stresses of work and home and schedules were magically suspended. It was possible – no, required – to sit in a café overlooking the sea for a long, leisurely lunch. Even bus rides were an opportunity to share stories – the museums visited, the soccer match, the bull fight, the accidental dinner of roasted goat in a grotto restaurant. We lie to ourselves and say that we’ll get together back home, do this more often. But all the good intentions in the world are powerless against the pressures of daily life. So once we return it will be quick hellos at the supermarket or chatting during intermissions at a school concert. The Shadow Tour offered a precious gift: time and place and people.
- It was a lot of fun!