Hop on the bandwagon — the Olivet College Marching Comets are heading to Italy on Dec. 28, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020. This remarkable experience is available to both band members and alumni.
The opportunity comes through Youth Music of the World, an organization that focuses on performance travel programs. Excursions will allow travelers to explore Rome, Pompeii and Frascati with stops at the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican — just to name a few. In addition, students will perform in the Piazza de Poppolo and Santa Maria Compatelli.
“This trip is by invitation only; it is a great honor that the Marching Comets are able to perform here,” said Director of Bands Jeremy Duby. “The New Year’s Day Parade is an event best witnessed in person. We are one of only seven American bands to be performing among Italian bands and other international treats. To follow this performance tour and watch our students absorb another culture — one of the oldest in the world — is always rewarding and inspiring. There is no better travel companion than the Marching Comets!”
Exiting Comfort Zone
Members of the Marching Comets match Duby’s enthusiasm for the trip. Olivet College emphasizes the importance of “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,” and many students are already eager to take on the challenge.
“I was very excited to learn that the band was going to Italy!” said senior Ashton Osborne, a member of the color guard. “I was unable to travel with my band in high school, so the opportunity to go halfway across the world to perform is very exciting!
“I think that any type of travel impacts a person’s educational experience a lot. It opens your eyes to a different culture and way of life. You get to learn about the world around you in a way that you can’t in a classroom. It’s so valuable because not many people make it a priority to experience the world.”
Senior Abigale Smith, the Marching Comets drum major, has taken on leadership roles across campus, but she’s never had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States. In addition to experiencing a new culture and lifestyle, Abigale knows the trip will also expose her to new challenges and growth opportunities.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how traveling to Italy will impact my educational experience. I’m going into this trip completely open minded with no expectations because I want to be in the moment and take in each and every second,” Abigale said. “Having never traveled outside of the U.S., I know it will definitely be a culture shock and an eye-opening experience, but it’s a change that I think I desperately need!
“This trip will surely get me out of my comfort zone, and that’s something President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., always encourages us to do, so I’m more than ready. The thought that I’ll be the one leading the band through the streets of Rome on New Year’s is an unbelievable honor and something I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do. I know the experience will be life-changing.”
Join Fellow Comets for the Trip of a Lifetime — Register Now
“I always most look forward to observing the students react to the culture and history of the city and venues in which they get to perform, and I know alumni would enjoy the experience as well,” Duby said. “I also love interacting with the local people especially during performances. They appreciate the arts so very much and love American marching bands.
“It is very important for everyone to travel the world when they can. It opens our minds to all perspectives and allows us to see things from different angles, and reminds us just how small the world truly is. It is easy to be caught up in our daily lives. It is important to acquaint with new people and other cultures to enhance our own. Experience the history and talk to those who live there daily. This really gives us a true worldview, which helps us make more positive impacts back home.”
The cost of the trip is $4,050 per traveler. To register, a $150 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler. The remainder of the trip balance is due by Sept. 1, 2019.