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. It hosts a 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 elder generations. A jazz workshop with leading jazz educators at the University of New Orleans will submerge you in this unique American art form.
Enjoy a concert tour of New Orleans, and let yourself be immersed in all that the city has to offer as you share your music with local people.
Welcome to New Orleans!
Enjoy an introduction to the “Big Easy” with 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.
Begin your first full day in New Orleans with a visit to Mardi Gras World, which offers a taste of New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras celebration 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.
Midday, perform an a cappella concert at Oak Alley Plantation, a Greek-revival style antebellum home whose most striking feature is its quarter-mile canopy of oak trees. Following your performance, enjoy a mansion tour led by a costumed guide and time to explore the estate.
Later, perform a friendship concert alongside a local ensemble.
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 retirement home and perform a community outreach concert for the appreciative residents and their visitors.
Live jazz at the legendary Preservation Hall can be arranged this evening. A cornerstone of New Orleans music and culture, this unique venue offers nightly performances by its world-famous house band that has epitomized the city’s sound for generations.
Perform 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.
This afternoon, a visit to one of the city’s noteworthy landmarks can be arranged. Choose the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Zoo, or the National World War II Museum.
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.
Enjoy a jazz workshop led by a skilled faculty member at the University of New Orleans.
Return home with wonderful memories of your concert tour.
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.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN NEW ORLEANS
Our 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' experience 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 chance to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time usually follows 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.
Preservation Hall is a historic music venue in the New Orleans' French Quarter. Founded in 1961, Preservation Hall's mission is to "protect, preserve, and perpetuate" traditional New Orleans jazz. The building began as a tavern, then became a photography studio, and later was converted into an art gallery. The gallery's owner held informal jam sessions for his musician friends, and the concept of Preservation Hall grew from these sessions. The venue presents intimate, acoustic jazz concerts over 350 nights each year; each concert features a small ensemble taken from a collective of over 100 local musicians. The venue's exterior is weathered, and its interior is simple and bare; audience members flock to concerts here to enjoy jazz music in its purest form, unmarred by any distractions.
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 worshiped 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.