Welcome to New Orleans
Located in southeastern Louisiana where it straddles the Mississippi River, New Orleans was founded in 1718 and named after Philippe II, Duc d’Orleans, Regent of France. Best known for its annual Mardi Gras celebration, New Orleans is a vibrant city with a rich, multicultural heritage. The city is home to outstanding cuisine, beautiful architecture, and a vast array of wonderful museums. The city welcomes visitors and presents a broad variety of festivals throughout the year.
Music has always been an essential part of the fabric of New Orleans. Through a unique blending of European instruments and traditions with African rhythms, jazz was born here and continues to serve as the pulse of the city. Your ensemble can contribute to the creative atmosphere by performing at local venues such as the stunning St. Louis Cathedral and by sharing your music with the city’s youth as well as elder generations. A jazz workshop with leading jazz educators from the University of New Orleans or in cooperation with local arts institutions will immerse you in this unique American art form.
Enjoy an introduction to the “Big Easy” on a guided tour of New Orleans. Admire the Garden District, home to some of the city’s most opulent and elegant residences. Get a hopeful glimpse at the city’s rebirth as you travel through neighborhoods touched by Hurricane Katrina.
Conclude your tour in the iconic French Quarter, the largest and best-preserved district of 19th-century architecture in the United States. Check in to your hotel, and take time to relax and refresh. Rehearsal can be arranged this afternoon.
Tonight, a welcome dinner of local specialties is served as your tour manager previews the days ahead.
Your first full day in New Orleans begins with a visit to Mardi Gras World, where a taste of New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras celebration happens all year long. See the massive studio in which artisans create parade floats, get a behind-the-scenes look at costumes, and sample a slice of traditional king cake.
The afternoon is yours at leisure. A visit to one of the city’s fine institutions, such as the National WWII Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, or Audobon Aquarium of the Americas, can be arranged. We recommend you make your way to the famed Café du Monde to try their iconic beignets!
Later, perform a friendship concert alongside a local ensemble. The bustling and centrally located Washington Artillery Park is a potential outdoor concert venue.
This morning, embark on a guided boat tour of Manchac Swamp. Ride a boat through the moss-draped trees and bayous of the Louisiana Wetlands as your local guide provides insight about the swamp’s inhabitants, the most notable of which is the American alligator!
Next, transfer to a local community center or retirement facility such as Poydras Home, and perform an outreach concert for the appreciative audience members.
Culminate your tour of New Orleans with a festive farewell dinner jazz cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. Cruise along the Mississippi River on a paddle-wheel steamboat as you dine on traditional Southern fare and enjoy music from the Grammy-nominated Dukes of Dixieland.
Today starts with church and singing for the morning worship service at St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the United States. Situated in Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most recognizable sights in New Orleans.
Before departing New Orleans, a jazz workshop led by a skilled faculty member at the University of New Orleans can be arranged for your group (supplemental price applies).
Return home with wonderful memories of your concert tour.
Additional days, destinations, and activities can be added to customize this tour for your group.
Concert Tour Highlights
ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL
The St. Louis Cathedral, dedicated to King Louis IX of France, is one of the most iconic landmarks in New Orleans and the oldest operating Catholic cathedral in the United States. New Orleanians have worshipped in churches on its site since 1727; the present structure was completed in the 1850s. The building, with its three steeples towering above its historic neighbors, the Cabildo and the Presbytere, looks over Jackson Square and the heart of the French Quarter. The St. Louis Cathedral hosts ensembles to sing for concerts and masses; its extraordinary interior, with its stained glass windows and Rococo-style gilded altar, is a magnificent backdrop for performances.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN NEW ORLEANS
Friendship concerts are a featured experience on our tours and are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Your singers will have the opportunity to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time is planned around the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.
POYDRAS HOME & WASHINGTON ARTILLERY PARK
Poydras Home, a nonprofit retirement community located in New Orleans' Central Business District, celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017. As part of its resident enrichment and activities program, the facility welcomes visiting ensembles to perform in the parlor of its historic Oak House, featuring a grand piano and ample, open space for any desired performance configuration. On weekends, residents are often joined by their families, who enjoy visiting ensembles together.
WASHINGTON ARTILLERY PARK
Perform in the heart of the French Quarter! Situated just steps away from the famed Café du Monde and directly across from Jackson Square, Washington Artillery Park offers a view of the iconic St. Louis Cathedral to one side and the Mississippi River to the other. Visiting ensembles are permitted to perform informal, outdoor concerts for both
tourists and locals alike.
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION
Known as the “Grande Dame" of the Great River Road, a series of roads that follow the Mississippi River across ten states, Oak Alley Plantation sits between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Built in 1839, this Greek-revival style antebellum mansion and its surrounding lands were used primarily for sugar cane crops. The highlight of Oak Alley Plantation is its quarter-mile canopy of oak trees, each over 250 years old, which lead to the mansion. The plantation has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and it draws visitors from all over the world. Oak Alley welcomes visiting ensembles and hosts a cappella concerts in its bustling Visitor Pavilion or against the stunning backdrop of its famed oak trees.