Regarded as the most prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, The Daytona 500 is commonly referred to as “The Great American Race.” Over 100,000 people come to see the best in racing travel a 2.5-mile track at speeds regularly exceeding 200 mph.
This year, the race isn’t the only thing to see and hear at the Daytona 500. With the help of Super Holiday Tours, NASCAR is putting on the Daytona 500 Mass Band Performance, giving bands across the country a chance to perform at this massive event on February 20, 2022. The mass band performance will take place on the infield of Daytona International Speedway, situated between pit row and the finish line on the track. Each participant will receive access to the UNOH Fanzone and Pre-Race Concert, as well as a Daytona 500 Race Ticket.
To learn more about this event, we talked to those helping put it together: Erin Whited, director of bands at Ardmore High School in Alabama, and Alexandra Snyder, group sales executive for NASCAR. Here’s what they had to say:
Erin Whited, Director of Bands, Ardmore High School
Tell us a bit about your history working in education.
This is my first year teaching! I was a graduate assistant for University Bands at Jacksonville State University from 2019-2021 and began my first year of teaching here at Ardmore High School in June 2021.
And what’s your history with student travel?
This is my first group trip and I am so honored to be bringing my group! I travelled with college students to Honolulu and Indianapolis during my graduate studies, but this is my first trip with high school students.
Why is student travel important to you?
Student travel is so important foremostly, because of the exposure and growth that it provides for students. Band in general—but especially large trips with band—allows students to gain experiences through an opportunity they may have never had. Trips for students are also fantastic for the development and recruitment of your band program. Students love to go and just make music!
What’s it been like working with Super Holiday Tours?
Working with Super Holiday has made my job as a first-year band director so incredibly smooth. Every detail of the trip has been ironed out and I felt so confident in everything we planned together. Super Holiday Tours is fantastic at communicating and they understand exactly what band directors need.
Tell us all about the Daytona 500 performance!
The Daytona 500 performance is new for my group and for me personally as well. We are so excited to join ranks with other participating high school bands to create a mass band experience for our students! We will be performing on the track before the race starts to get fans fired up for race day! This will be one of the largest and most energetic crowds that many of our students will ever play in front of. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Any thoughts for fellow educators?
As a first-year band director, I have a LOT to learn, but this year has definitely been a year of growing and learning for me. Jump in headfirst and enjoy the ride! We do it for the kids, and that’s why I’m here doing what I love.
Alexandra Snyder, Group Sales Executive, NASCAR
What is the Daytona 500 Mass Band Performance?
The Daytona 500 Mass Band Performance is an exclusive opportunity that is given by NASCAR & Super Holiday Tours to perform at the Superbowl of Racing every February in Daytona. This experience gives band members the chance to show off their skills on the ballfield in front of over 100,000 people at the race.
What do the students get from this experience?
The exposure opportunity for both students and their schools by playing in the Mass Band Opportunity can open doors for them in the future; it’s another tool to add to their wheelhouse. And, of course, they get the chance to travel to a bucket list venue and the headquarters of NASCAR.
Any recommendations for traveling groups while in the area?
For Daytona specifically, I’d recommend doing a track tour to expand their knowledge of the sport. I’d also recommend a beach day, especially because you can drive on Daytona Beach!
Do you have anything to say about Super Holiday?
Super Holiday Tours offers a unique opportunity to students that I never had as a teen. They open doors for advancement in the field by providing such a unique opportunity to these band members. Not to mention, they are so knowledgeable about the entire greater-Orlando area; the experience even becomes a mini vacation! I wouldn’t book with anybody else.
Anything else you want to say about this year’s Daytona 500 and the performance?
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform at the World Center of Racing—people would be crazy to pass up this experience.