Carlmont Instrumental Music cruises abroad


Brian Switzer

Rory Snyder conducts Symphony Orchestra on board the cruise ship.

Mandy Hitchcock, ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief

Sunny blue skies and solid ground greeted all 108 Carlmont music students once they disembarked the Carnival Inspiration cruise ship.

Every other year, the Carlmont Instrumental Music program books a tour for their advanced music ensembles: Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Symphonic Band.

Contrary to the previous Seattle tour, the spring 2018 schedule was able to secure a trip journeying along the southern coast of California and northern Mexico.

“I was extremely excited for such a wonderful opportunity to explore a different part of the world participating in something that can bring so many diverse people together,” said Emily Kim, a freshman violinist. “I also really looked towards visiting the clinics at UCLA and CSU Long Beach because we would be able to learn from experienced professors and college graduates about music.”

Founded 12 years ago by Doug Minor, the music director at the time, the tour program has since been supported by John DaBaldo and Brian Switzer, the current music directors at Carlmont.

The students received clinics from talented, passionate, and successful college professors in some of the best music schools on the west coast,” Switzer said. “Everyone was able to bond and share in this once-in-a-lifetime event of being with your close friends for an extended period of time, which doesn’t happen very often.”

Lori Moon, who headed the 15 parent chaperones on the tour, made sure parents would have nothing to worry about while their children were out of the country.

“Our tours involve parent and director planning as well as the blessing of school and district administrators, so you know safety is the top priority,” Moon said. “My concerns were always about the safety of our students and that every student was accounted for at all times.”

According to Moon, one of the biggest challenges was collecting the necessary documents required for visiting a foreign country.

“Not many students will be able to say they went on a trip with a hundred plus friends while in high school. I did not want my student to miss this,” Moon said.

Apart from the sightseeing, exploring, and furthering their musical education, the tour also helped expand the students’ friendships.

“This trip has allowed us to become a tighter knit group. If you spend five days with your bandmates, you are going to be better friends and you are going to be closer than you were when you started,” DaBaldo said.

Furthermore, the tour abroad provided a variety of hidden discoveries, ranging from coming face-to-face with tiger cubs to visiting the building where the first margarita was created.

“My overall experience on the spring tour was eye-opening. I saw different parts of the world that I had never imagined and met so many different people who taught me vital lessons from how to bargain a better taco price, to the fact that we should be very grateful for what we have — some kids in Mexico can’t even afford a shirt, much less an education we complain so much about.”

The Spring 2018 tour was able to further the students’ musical abilities and introduce colorful aspects of the Mexican culture often unbeknownst to the country’s northern neighbor, all the while classmates were made into friends.