Featured Destination: Hawaii Band Trip with Valley Christian ConservatoryBen Hilmer
Ever dreamed about a trip to the Pacific islands? Join Valley Christian Conservatory band on its journey to Hawaii! The Islands of Aloha are home to nature’s riches: snow-white sand beaches, breath-taking mountain views, volcanos, picture-perfect tropical rain-forests, sparkling waters filled with vibrant sea life and playful dolphins. These travelers enjoyed it all, including performances in the Pan Pacific Parade and at Pearl Harbor!
With a Music Travel Tour Director at its side, the band flew from San Jose International Airport directly to Honolulu. Arriving in just five hours, the group checked-in to their rooms, enjoyed a pizza dinner and briefing by local guides, covering rules, shopping and safety, and fell into bed for a good night’s rest.
Breakfast in paradise at Shorebird Restaurant greeted the group first thing on day two, followed by a snorkeling adventure departing from Waikiki Beach with Barefoot Beach Catamarans. After setting anchor just off Diamond Head, students and adults received fins and snorkel masks with which to explore the warm, crystal-clear waters. Up close views of sea turtles and brightly colored Hawaiian fish enchanted everyone! Returning to Waikiki Beach, shopping, snoozing and surfing made the afternoon fly by. Just prior to sunset, the group had a chance to get Wiki Wacky in Waikiki. Teams of chaperones and students got a treasure map, a clue sheet, and dinner money. Then they were off to scavenge Waikiki, learning about its history and culture in the bargain.
Day Three offered a chance to get away from the city and take an Eastern Shores Island Tour. Valley Christian was off to see the beauty of the Oahu. Beginning near Diamond Head, Hawaii’s most famous landmark, the group continued to the Beverly Hills of Hawaii, then to the Blowhole (where water can spout hundreds of feet in the air), and on to the spectacular view at Pali Lookout. Next up, Kualoa Ranch, for a Hawaiian Beach Bash at Secret Island. This three-hour experience included a private beach, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, a glass-bottomed boat ride and lounging in a hammock under a swaying palm tree. Returning to the hotel at the end of the afternoon, the band freshened-up for its Star of Honolulu Dinner Cruise, with great food, a live show, and beautiful ocean views. What a way to end the day!
In the morning, Valley Christian had breakfast at Giovanni Pastrami Restaurant before driving to Pearl Harbor. At the USS Arizona Memorial, the group learned the history of “The Day of Infamy,” December 7, 1941. After visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, Valley Christian drove to the “Mighty Mo” – the famous battleship, USS Missouri, to explore this historic vessel on a self-guided walking tour. After lunch under large Chinese Banyan trees, with a spectacular view of one of the country’s finest harbors, it was back to the USS Missouri for a safety briefing and group photo before the Valley Christian Conservatory Band’s concert, dockside!
Departing Pearl Harbor after loading instruments aboard its buses, Valley Christian drove on for a city tour of Honolulu, going first to the National Military Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Crater), The Hawaii State Capitol, Iolani Palace and the famous King Kamehameha Statue, always decorated with floral leis.
Back at the hotel, the band freshened-up for dinner at a Ho’olaule’a. In Hawaiian, the word Ho‘olaule‘a means “gathering together for a celebration.” That night, Valley Christian enjoyed an evening at the Pan Pacific Matsuri Festival’s Ho’olaule’a, featuring multiple stages offering cultural performances such as Japanese Taiko drums, Korean dance, Hawaiian music, hula, and, of course, delicious food booths offering ethnic cuisine and local fare.
It was now the fifth full day, and time to relax, Hawaiian style! Everyone had the chance to enjoy their own adventures: sailing, surfing, parasailing, rainforest hiking or hula lessons! That evening, the band went to an Authentic Hawaiian Luau where students showed-off their (slightly slow) dancing skills, enjoyed traditional Hawaiian music, entertainment, and gracious island hospitality.
After another delicious breakfast at Giovanni Pastrami, the group took an exhilarating hike up the 99 stairs to the top of Diamond Head for perfect 360-degree views over Waikiki, its beaches, and the ocean. Afterwards, the band enjoyed some downtime before preparing for its performance in the Annual Pan Pacific Parade!
After gaining an appreciation of the Japanese Culture that is so much a part of Hawaii, Valley Christian joined groups and bands from Japan and other Pacific Basin Countries to march down Kalakaua Avenue in the Annual Pan Pacific Parade! Beginning at Fort DeRussy and finishing at Kapi’olani Park, thousands of on-lookers enjoy the bands and the vibrant performers and shimmering dancers from around the Pacific world. Valley Christian put on a spectacular performance, a perfect ending to a truly wonderful trip!
On the seventh day, the band boarded its flight to California, cherishing its experiences and its extraordinary opportunities for personal growth. Troy Gunter, the band’s director, summed it up beautifully:
“Valley Christian’s experience teaming with Music Travel Consultants has been nothing short of spectacular. MTC has proven to be an invaluable partner in the planning and execution of our educational travel experiences. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and are dedicated to providing the absolute best customer service each step of the way. Quite simply…they get it!”
Contact Music Travel Consultants to start planning your trip!