Loma Linda Academy Symphonic Band 2011 Concert Tour of France
It is always exciting for ACFEA when we work with a group for the first time, but there was an adrenalin rush added to the excitement when we received this email from Giovanni Santos, the director of the Loma Linda Academy Symphonic Band, at 9:40 am on Friday, September 24, 2010:
“This is my last hope, before having to cancel an international tour. Would it be possible to have a tour planned for June 2011 for 11-13 days, to France, for $2,850 per person? I need to know ASAP, before this Monday. You probably can’t answer, but I thought I should give it one last shot.”
The company with which he had been working had just told him that it could not deliver the tour that it had been promising, and he was faced with having to tell his many high school students that the trip to which they were so looking forward was cancelled. ACFEA loves a challenge, so with some hard work over the weekend and some serious arm-twisting of hotels and airlines, Gio received the proposal he needed at 11:40 am on that Monday.
Just under nine months later, 129 members of the band, their families and supporters enjoyed a varied and rewarding tour of France that encompassed Normandy, Orléans, Chartres and Paris. They performed at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy, the cloisters of the Abbaye de la Trinité in Vendôme, Chartres Cathedral and in Paris on June 21 as part of France’s annual Fête de la Musique, an astonishing day on which thousands of performances of all types of music take place around the country.
Loma Linda performs an outdoor concert in the cloisters of Abbaye de la Trinité in Vendôme, France
In addition to sightseeing tours of Orléans and Paris, the group enjoyed visiting the Château de Chambord, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Being a Seventh-day Adventist school, they had some dietary restrictions and limitations on what they could do on a Saturday, and ACFEA was pleased to respect those requirements and help the group adhere to them. We have never before had the opportunity to tell restaurants in France that we needed 129 vegetarian meals: there were some raised Gallic eyebrows, but we’re told that it all worked out very well!
Only a few weeks after this tour, the group was back in touch with us to talk about its 2012 tour, so the effort that we put into saving the 2011 tour has led to a repeat client and a cherished ongoing relationship between ACFEA and the Loma Linda Academy.