Choosing the right venue for a school music tour is really important. As Guildford High School found out, Barcelona and Catalonia tick all the boxes. Historic and varied performance venues, great food, lots to do and sunshine. Lots of sunshine......
The Catalonian Capital, Barcelona, is one of the most vibrant, lively, culturally rich and architecturally splendid cities in Europe. Boasting a profound artistic history, stunning architectural wonders such as Gaudi’s modernist masterpiece Sagrada Familia and a sparkling coastline lined with delicious Tapas bars, it is no wonder that thousands flock to the city each year to bask in its beauty.
It’s hardly surprising then that Barcelona is such a popular destination for school music tours. This summer the city played host to a group of young musicians from Guildford High School. Not only were the performers from Guildford High School able to appreciate the beauty of Barcelona in July, but they were able to make it their stage. The group flew to Barcelona, instruments in tow, for a five day tour featuring four concerts, visits to nearby attractions and time for rest and relaxation on the nearby beaches.
Their first performance took place at the Maritime Promenade in Salou, a beach town located south of Barcelona. Seats were soon filled by passers by who were able to enjoy both the stunning sound of Guildford High School and the beautiful views of the Mediterranean surrounding them.
“Excellent venue,” commented party leader Grayson Jones. “After initially worrying that we wouldn’t gather a crowd – as we were at the very end of the promenade – our fears were dispelled as a large crowd gathered and sat on the seats put out by the organisers. Lovely spot, with the sea to the side and behind us.”
The band’s second performance took place at Placa De Catalunya in a small village called Cunit. This provided the band with an opportunity to experience playing to a more intimate crowd before the tour headed back to central Barcelona for performance number three. This took place in the courtyard of the Seminari Conciliar and was a performance to remember. Teacher Grayson Jones commended the ‘excellent venue. Large crowd, super setting and the courtyard allowed the sound to reverberate well!’ This historic and tranquil setting provided the players with good lighting, seating, and most importantly refreshments!
The final performance for the musicians at Guildford High School took place in Paisos Catalans Square, a seafront setting that is popular with skaters and more modern than any venue that the musicians had previously played at. A large crowd gathered and danced for Guildford High School band’s final performance in Barcelona – a truly magical way to end the trip.
With a sandy beach just a few minutes walk away and an eclectic array of Spanish eateries serving food to please everyone, the ‘super resort’, Hotel Natura Park, catered to all of the group’s needs. Between exploring Barcelona and performing, the group was able to enjoy some well needed downtime, predominantly spent relaxing by the pool. For teacher Grayson Jones, the resort was busy enough to entertain the pupils without being too busy to worry the staff”!
Whilst one could spend a lifetime exploring the animated streets of Barcelona, the Guildford High School musician’s time was limited. However, with the help of their “fabulous” tour guide, the group did manage to squeeze in a few visits to some incredibly spectacular sights. The Roman Amphitheatre in the nearby town of Tarragona impressed the group, making a few curious about what it might be like to perform in a space so vast and steeped in history. The city of Girona and its Cathedral, proved to be a particularly good day trip for the group, who enjoyed seeing the beauty of the Girona up close as well as “exploring the town and soaking up the ambience”. While back in central Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia left the group in awe, whilst the cable car to Montserrat provided impressive views over the city.
With its combination of performance venues, beachside accommodation, great food and array of places to visit, Barcelona really is the perfect location for a band, choir or school music tour. Grayson Jones summed it up best: “A superbly organised tour. Very grateful to Gower for putting together such a well-balanced and interesting itinerary, for helping with queries at all stages and responding to any requests.”