About the Program
The Music Bus Tour program is a national summer tour that brings classical music to new venues and new audiences. A team of musicians begins with a week of intensive preparation for the tour, which launches in May and lasts two to three weeks in duration. This time frame allows for concerts in venues such as parks, churches, libraries, bars and summer camps. The team creates the tour roadmap with the goal of playing primarily for people who aren’t usually exposed to classical music. At each destination, the group will give as many performances as possible in both conventional and unconventional venues. These community-building, outreach concerts will be affordable to people in all communities, using engaging performance techniques.
The ensemble in residence is selected and notified in the beginning of January, well before the launch date so that they will have an opportunity to begin programming and start talking with presenters and chambers of commerce. The first checkpoint is the end of January, where the group must have a program set up and some venues in their hometown in mind. In March, the musicians spend a weekend being coached by experts in outreach performances, including musicians who are experienced in connecting to audiences, outreach specialists, or experienced chamber music coaches.
Finally, in May, the ensemble in residence is flown down to Houston where they will have one week of intensive tour preparation including coaching with Houston musicians, business consulting with administrators from the Houston Symphony, voice coaching, early childhood training, special needs training, body movement coaching: everything that the chamber group will need for their tour and a solid foundation for the rest of their career.
The tour length, depending on the availability of the artists, will consist of at least one week touring Texas and, once the musicians return home, they will have at least three performances in their hometown. The actual length is up to the performers as they will be intricately involved in the business and planning elements of the whole tour.
After completing The Music Bus Tour residency, any chamber group will have the skills they need to have a career in chamber music by creating their own audiences and making their own opportunities. Whether they choose to stay together in the long term or split up, the skills learned are essential for the 21st century musician and are valuable any way their music manifests itself.