Band trips are invaluable

Surrey – The Editor, Re: “Consult parents on costly trips,” the Now, Jan. 30. I am writing in response to Harvinder Sandhu’s column about school band trips and the costs of doing so.

Firstly, I would like to say that I am a parent of a child involved in a very busy music program. I have seen the amazing experiences that he has had from working hard with his fellow bandmates, the value of money learned as he worked to fundraise and the lifelong positive memories of going on the tours themselves.

It seems rather hard to believe that there was little information disclosed to parents about this tour as there are protocols of information that all teachers must follow when tours of this magnitude are offered. Usually, something this big is planned for at least a year in advance.

Once a potential tour is selected, the information then goes out to the families to see if in fact it is a viable option. No band teacher ever wants to see any student left behind, so this family feedback is very important and a big part of the process. Yes the students do get excited, but the tour is not definite yet. Should it turn out the trip is not feasible, there is a level of disappointment, but this is just another opportunity to prepare our children for real world situations.

Though I cannot speak to what fundraising is available at your school, my son started fundraising in Grade 8, knowing that the program he is involved in does a lot of travelling in grades 10 to 12. Most music programs are designed this way, so I would imagine, unless your son just stepped into band, he has been aware of these large tours for some time now. I am not denying that it is challenging to afford these trips even when fundraising is done, and you seem to already understand the benefits that can enhance their perspective and last a lifetime.

I also cannot comment on your destination concern but I can tell you that our senior tour last year was considered “exotic” as well, but the final itinerary showed the time spent fully booked in a learning environment and the reflection showed in all the students upon their return.

I thought my son would not care about the museums and monuments too, but a visit to a major landmark memorial of a world changing event had a massive impact on him for the better that I did not expect.

I am so thankful for my son’s experiences in band and hope you will trust in your son’s band teacher as I do in mine. Teachers want the best for our kids and all they need is the benefit of the doubt.

Stacey Marton