How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, practice, practice, then work with a great tour operator.

That’s just what Richard Prouty—choral director for Whitewater High School—is doing, and he can’t wait to arrive at the famed concert hall in March. Prouty and his students from Fayetteville, Georgia will make the trek to New York City for Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs, a two-day festival inviting some of the greatest choirs in the country to perform.

Prouty’s group is performing the world-premiere of a newly commissioned piece from conductor and composer Z. Randall Stroope. And the trip is possible in part due to the help of Super Holiday Tours and Prouty’s personal representative, Hilde Jones. They’ve been working together for over 10 years, with trips to the Disney Candlelight Processional, New York and more. When it comes to domestic travel, he won’t work with anyone else.

We sat down with Prouty for his thoughts on student travel, performing, and Super Holiday Tours.

Why do you value student travel?

The experiences provided for them on concert tour is unmatched at the local level, and Super Holiday has really helped with making sure that experience for my students is not only educational, but it’s the most unbelievable experience they could possibly have with all the opportunities provided for them at an affordable cost.

What makes Super Holiday stand out?

One thing nice about Super Holiday is that they don’t only think about the students, they also think about the adults. It’s customizable, too. They have a good package together, but it allows the director to customize the trip to the needs of their students and their clientele. I think that’s really important. It’s a template, then it’s, “How can we best serve the needs of your students in your community, to make this the best experience possible?”

What do you enjoy personally about the experience?

Seeing my students faces stand on the stage of the Carnegie Hall with a packed house, and looking at the sheer joy in the middle of performance with a world renowned conductor conducting them. It’s seeing that joy through music on their faces, and just the engagement they have on that stage. Not to mention, it’s Carnegie Hall. And Super Holiday Tours has helped me provide my students that unmatched experience. That’s why I do what I do for those kids.

Aside from delaying the Carnegie performance, how has COVID impacted your travel?

My drive this year was to give my students every opportunity possible to allow them to continue to perform and have as normal of a year as possible, even though it’s not going to be normal. I made the choice as a director and as a musician to move forward with this opportunity in New York, even though there’s a vaccine mandate and a mask mandate in the city. Even though I know there are some students and parents who are not going to be able to go for personal reasons, I didn’t want to take away that opportunity for those who would like to do it.

As a music educator, or any educator for that matter, I think it’s selfish for us to put our personal beliefs in front of what is best for everybody in the program. So for that reason, I’m a big proponent of travel, and I think it’s important to show that you can still do things safely and not live in a bubble.

It’s not the mask that makes the performance. It’s the person and it’s the conductor and it’s the choir.

Any final words of advice for fellow educators?

There’s no other company I would rather use than Super Holiday Tours for any domestic travel. I can safely say that they can put all their trust in Super Holiday, from the president to all the tour representatives to the people leading the tours at the actual destination. They’re extremely accommodating. They’re easy to work with. And I fully trust their professionalism and expertise in making sure it’s the best experience my students could possibly have.

Photo courtesy of Whitewater High School.