Our Nation’s capitol – can there really be a better time to visit than near Memorial Day? People will say – the cherry blossom festival or Fourth of July. And true enough those are impressive times in DC, but Memorial Day is something quite different. First off, and for those of us in the travel industry, very important. Lots of people LEAVE DC this weekend. Creating, by comparison, an easy commute around the city. At the same time lots of people COME TO DC this weekend. Most of them are Veterans who are coming to pay their respects at various memorials and services. Rolling Thunder, the Vietnam Veterans motorcycle event is aptly named and breath taking in it’s scope. So it was with great enthusiasm that I waited at the Navy Memorial for my band from NJ to arrive.Performance tour, music trip, performance opportunity, band trip
And arrive they did – right on time and ready to go. This group turned out to be one of the most supportive and disciplined groups I have every had the pleasure to work with. The director is a woman of vision and confidence and has created a group that truly functions from top to bottom with shared responsibility. The Navy Memorial was the site of their first performance, and if you haven’t been there – you really must go. It is beautifully constructed and makes for a wonderful outdoor performance space. The band played a series of patriotic numbers and in the audience were many WWII Veterans. It was a magical moment to see them appreciate the efforts of these kids and see the kids and chaperones appreciate the sacrifices and service of these soldiers and their families. From there it was off to the Smithsonians for lunch and exploration followed by dinner at Buca di Beppo – where there is never a shortage of food and fun! We were joined by a step-on guide who proceeded to lead us on a tour of the Korean, Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr and WWII memorials. Her knowledge and passion were infectious and even though they had had a very long day, the students were attentive and engaged throughout.
Day 2 dawned crisp and cool with the promise of a beautiful warm day. We began at the Capitol for a guided tour and then had time for visiting another of the Smithsonians before heading over to the Jefferson Memorial for the second performance of the trip. They played with great enthusiasm and respect and drew quite a crowd and wonderful applause. From there we jumped on the bus and headed to the Spy Museum to don new identities and enter the world of espionage! A few air ducts and lip stick guns and shoe phones later it was off to Toby’s dinner theater for Shrek the musical. This is an intimate theater in the round and the cast was top notch and the production entertaining from beginning to end. A well fed, tired and happy group of people boarded the bus at the end of the performance ready to hit the hay when we returned to our hotel in Alexandria.
Day 3 proved to be another beautiful day! We arrived at Six Flags America in time to prepare for a parade through the park just as it opened. Three very different performance opportunities, all executed beautifully and with precision and enthusiasm. The quickest change known to man was followed by re-entry into the park for 6 fun filled hours of riding the rides and playing games of chance! I waved goodbye to a happy bus load of people ready to take a nap as they made their way home to NJ. A great band performances, great trip, with great kids and great chaperones in a great city – one of those trips that makes working for Peak Performance Tours such a great job!