Meet MTC Tour Director Chris TaylorChris Forsythe
Most Music Directors love it when there’s a Music Travel Consultants Tour Director at his or her side, 24/7 during the trip, to handle the details and rescue the group from the unpredictable! Luckily, many Music Directors make a great impression on us! Meet MTC Tour Director Chris Taylor. With a welcoming, warm personality and quick wit, client-turned-MTC Tour Director Chris Taylor is ready to tackle the unpredictable and bring you the best trip possible!
Since the turn of the century, Chris Taylor has been teaching high school band. Beginning as an assistant director at Highland High School in Anderson, Indiana, for the past 11 years, Chris has been the music director at Pendleton Heights High School in Pendleton, Indiana. Chris has traveled with his groups to New York, Philadelphia, Florida, and Hawaii. His students have marched in the Macy*s Thanksgiving Parade, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade, and Hollywood Christmas Parade.
“Chris Taylor and I were fortunate to teach together for a couple of years, and I still enjoy helping his bands when I have the opportunity! Chris’ dedication to his students, passion for music, appreciation for the opportunities travel presents to any group, plus his attention to detail, make him a valuable part of the MTC tour director team!”
In addition to teaching full-time and Tour Directing whenever he has a spare moment, Chris is President of the Indiana Music Education Association (IMEA). He serves on the state board of the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA), and as if that wasn’t enough, he runs a big band of (mostly) music teachers – Directors’ Jazz Orchestra – and also plays in a brass group.
Beyond music, Chris is active in his church, singing in choirs, playing handbells, and running a jazz group (ok, more music). He also leads a community café team. Chis married wife Sarah in 2012, and they have a darling daughter, Caroline.
Music Travel Consultants ran its popular MTC Tour Director questions past Chris to get his take. Enjoy!
How long have you been a Tour Director for Music Travel Consultants?
Chris: My first trip was around 2006. I traveled with Gibson Southern to Chicago followed by Center Grove High School to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade and New York.
Do you have any background in music/music education?
Chris: Duh! I am a high school band director.
How did you get started tour directing?
Chris: I started as an assistant director and MTC’s Mark Harting worked with us on our trips. As I changed schools, he discussed tour directing with me and I’ve been involved ever since.
How many total trips have you tour directed?
Chris: About 8. Being an active director and young parent, now I can do about one a year. I truly enjoy it and plan to be more involved as my time opens up.
What is the hardest part of being a successful MTC Tour Director?
Chris: Being prepared for anything. After traveling with Mark Harting for many years, I saw what you need to do to make a successful trip. It is seeing problems before they happen, of which he is the master.
What is the largest group you have tour directed for?
Is there something you wish travelers knew before the trip departs?
Chris: I actually created a Microsoft PowerPoint® of travel tips and travel things that I used for my own group’s last trip. There are so many little things that can make a trip much more successful, but I think the biggest thing is knowing your itinerary. I’ve been on many trips when people didn’t know they were going to walk somewhere or couldn’t bring a bag or didn’t even know what was happening that day. Of course, it is all written down for them, but if they become more familiar, everybody has a better time.
What’s your proudest moment or a time when you being there made a difference/impact?
Chris: I’ve done a couple of major parades with groups and the excitement from the students and parents is a really cool thing to see. You know it’s all been worth it.
What is your favorite place to travel/visit with and without groups?
Chris: I love New York and someday I will visit it without a group! I also just did a trip to Hawaii and it is certainly high on my list.
What does it take to be a successful MTC Tour Director?
Chris: Patience and preparation. About 99% of the kids and 95% of the parents I’ve worked with have been great. It’s those few who were unprepared that make things hard. Most of the time, they didn’t know what was happening or how to travel well and that causes the issues. I try to give a ton of small bits of information in preparation for everything a group does. It doesn’t matter if they were told before they left, they are now on their trip and it’s a whole new game.
What are the benefits of having an MTC Tour Director at your side?
Chris: As a band director, when I take my group, I am busy with performance details and making sure kids are doing what they are supposed to do. Sometimes it’s preparing for a performance. The tour director takes care of so much, that I can actually do my job and enjoy the trip.
Any advice or things you want to share with groups considering performance travel?
Chris: At my current school, we wanted to try a trip immediately. It didn’t get off the ground and it was a big blow to have to cancel. In hindsight, I believe travel is great for all groups. You just have to find the right trip. We started too large. MTC Travel Designers are very good at giving options that will fit your group. Once you get them hooked, even with the smallest of trips, you can have a successful travel program. It is work, but it is a big reward in the performance opportunities and things many students will never get to do on their own.
Do you think you have what it takes to wear the cape and be an MTC Tour Director like Chris?
Contact Music Travel Consultants to start planning your trip.