The Trip of a Lifetime – Traveling with Indiana Musicians Abroad

The Trip of a Lifetime – Traveling with Indiana Musicians Abroad

Eight countries. Sixteen days. Musicians Abroad celebrated its inaugural international performance tour in June 2023, leading 109 Indiana Musicians Abroad student performers — plus faculty, educators and family members — on a thrilling adventure across Europe. Three travelers share how this experience shaped them, how performing internationally affected their students and what to expect from a Musicians Abroad tour.

I am grateful… to have my students engage in such a truly life-changing experience that you simply cannot teach within the walls of a classroom.” – Katy Briel

International performance trips are an incomparable way to help students grow and connect to other cultures.

“Indiana Musicians Abroad provided an unforgettable experience not only for me and my family but also for my students. As an educator, it is inspiring to watch young musicians grow as people, musicians and global citizens through travel.

I got a front-row seat to watch the students have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that changed their perspective and created core memories for them. One of the greatest parts is that music is the vehicle for this experience and creates a bond that students and educators alike will always treasure.”

Musicians Abroad selects events and destinations that let you uniquely experience the best of what Europe offers — even if you’ve visited before.

“I have had the opportunity to visit some of the sites on our trip in years prior, but my experience in London on this trip sets it apart from any previous visits. From stumbling upon seeing King Charles, seeing the musical Six, and in London no less, and introducing my husband to some of my favorite European places, it truly was a highlight for me.

Switzerland has always held a special place in my heart and Lucerne, Switzerland did not disappoint. The beauty in the Alps creates a peace that feels like a home away from home. After the exciting hustle of London and Paris, it was a welcome change of pace that our students enjoyed.”

“Music is truly a universal language and being able to tour and share a love for music is even more meaningful than just traveling and touring.”

“A music performance tour is a way for us to give back to the communities we visit and have a shared international experience in each of these countries.

I am grateful not only for the opportunity to be part of Indiana Musicians Abroad as an educator and director but also to have my students engage in such a truly life-changing experience that you simply cannot teach within the walls of a classroom.”

Katy Briel – Band Director, Clark-Pleasant MS, Indiana MA staff member, band faculty

“I came home from this trip a better person than when I left.” – Caren Whitehouse

Musicians Abroad carefully selects historically significant performance venues that connect students with local audiences.

“The 2023 trip to Europe with Musicians Abroad was a trip of a lifetime! To have well-planned experiences in eight different countries over a period of 16 days was incredible.

The students performed in a variety of locations including churches, auditoriums, elegant gardens and outdoor bandshells overlooking Lake Lucerne which encouraged local people to attend the concerts. Watching the adults and children experiencing the students’ musical talent enabled me to see the joy on their faces that music universally brings.”

You might discover your new favorite place.

“Personally, Lucerne, Switzerland was an extraordinary experience. The quiet city, the beautiful Lake Lucerne, the flowers and the Alps all made me realize that this is a place I would return to see. The students especially enjoyed an unexpected swim in the lake to cool off!”

Travelers learn so much more than musical skills.

“The return on a traveler’s investment in this trip is far greater than the cost. Throughout the Musicians Abroad experience, a traveler learns music, social skills, budgeting, history, geography, patience, responsibility, new languages, different cultures and foods, courtesy, self-reliance and adaptability.

I came home from this trip a better person than when I left and I am confident that others would say the same thing. I highly recommend the Musicians Abroad once-in-a-lifetime trip!”

Caren Whitehouse – adult traveler

“Each day of the trip had a pinch-me-moment.” – Scott Bradford

Musicians Abroad tours capture everything that’s magical about performing overseas.

“I was honored to be part of the staff for the Indiana Musicians Abroad Tour. Every aspect of the trip was amazing: the itinerary, the performance venues, the overseas accommodations, the passionate students, the international tour guides and the talented and caring staff.

When I arrived home the question, “What was your favorite part of your trip?” continually came up. Well, that’s a hard question to answer because my camera is now filled with breathtaking views and phenomenal architecture as well as musical and cultural highlights of our tour.”

Iconic performance venues and international destinations along the tour bring history and music to life.

“I remember being awestruck by visiting Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey just weeks after I watched the coronation of King Charles III on TV. Then, in Paris, the choir and the orchestra were fortunate enough to perform in La Madeleine Church. This became one of my favorite concerts as the acoustics were terrific and I knew that we, as performers, were actually singing in the same sanctuary where Chopin’s funeral took place and where both Saint Saëns and Fauré served as church organists.

I could easily pick Switzerland as my favorite part of the trip since we visited Mount Pilatus, attended a traditional Folk Swiss Dinner performance that had everyone laughing, dancing and clapping and jumped into Lake Lucerne after the band performance at Weggis Bandstand.

My mind-blowing moment however, came when I was shown a picture of me conducting Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem at the Mirabell Gardens while in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace. In the photo, I’m shaping the vowel for the final “Amen,” and when I look at this photo, I still get chills.”

Music Travel Consultants takes care of the logistics so you can fully enjoy an immersive European musical and educational experience.

“I would highly recommend traveling with Indiana MA. As a student musician, you’ll get to make music alongside incredible singers and instrumentalists from all over the state, work under the direction of some of Indiana’s best music educators and create memories that will definitely last a lifetime.

For parents wavering on whether to allow their child to participate in Indiana Musicians Abroad, don’t hesitate. Music Travel Consultants puts together well-organized and varied experiences, hires personable local guides and staff and even provides wonderful concert swag! Their itinerary is top-notch, allowing plenty of time to shop and explore. Information is communicated efficiently prior to departure and the use of the app kept parents engaged in day-to-day events while offering a platform for continuous communication.

Trust me when I say each day of the trip had a pinch-me-moment. I hope you can join the Indiana Musicians Abroad 2025 Tour!”

Scott Bradford – ISSMA State Choral Education Director, Indiana MA staff member, choir faculty

Click here to access the Indiana Musicians Abroad 2023 trip photo gallery!

Share this post