Disney Imagination Campus Update

Dear Forum Friends,

Applications are now open for Disney Imagination Campus programs. This is the newly re-named program (formerly Disney Performing Arts) for performances in the park and performing arts workshops. They are also offer education workshops as well.

To apply, visit https://planears.disney.com to submit an application. To combine a workshop or performance in the park with a Forum Music Festival, you must submit your festival registration through Forum AND an application for the Disney Imagination Campus portion of your trip.

Tickets and “experience fees” must be purchased through Forum Music Festivals. For more details, contact us at office@forummusicfestivals.com.

Thank you. We’re so excited to welcome you and your students back for a great year of music!

COVID 19 Festival Policy

As we plan our Forum Festivals Spring 2022 season, we have developed guidelines for participants regarding our safety plans regarding COVID 19.

  • We will follow both CDC and State of California guidelines governing requirements surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Each festival venue may establish requirements relating to events and gatherings.  We will update our participants of those changes, accordingly.
  • Because circumstances change very rapidly, we will notify directors about any policy changes closer to each festival date.
  • Changes to our normal festival format may occur. As we get closer to the actual festival dates, we will have a better insight of changes at the festival.
  • For overnight travelers, our hotel partners are dedicated to the highest protocols. These protocols may include increased frequency of cleaning in public spaces, disinfecting surfaces in guest rooms, etc.  Charter bus companies have also implemented advanced sanitation protocols which include enhanced air filtration, hand sanitizers, and daily disinfection.
  • Revised itineraries may be necessary as sites and attractions update rules for social distancing, masks, etc.  We will continue to monitor how these updates may affect your trip.
  • The safety of our participants and staff members remains our primary concern.  If you have any questions about our COVID 19 Festival Policy, please don’t hesitate to email us directly.

We are working remotely, so email is still the quickest way to reach us. Our Facebook page and our e-newsletter provide timely updates, so we encourage you to sign up for those. As we navigate through extraordinary times, we appreciate your patience and support. As we await young musicians’ return to a Forum Festival, we envision that each festival will be great day of music! That’s our goal and our focus.

San Diego Dates Added to 2022 Season

So much to do. So much to see.

Forum Festivals has added San Diego dates to our 2022 festival schedule. Join us in San Diego for a morning festival with the remainder of the day or weekend to enjoy all the sights!

Fabulous weather aside, San Diego offers historic, cultural, and fun things to do! Check out the following options as you consider your festival trip to San Diego.

San Diego is a perfect first overnight for So Cal festival participants because it’s easy to get there and easy to enjoy.

Festival dates are posted on our website. Choose all-in-one-day packages or contact us for an overnight itinerary chock full of fun & education. They don’t call it the City in Motion for nothing! Join us this spring!

Growing Your Program

Rebuilding & Recruiting in School Music Programs

It’s time to consider the next steps to grow your program.  The world of remote learning was tough on everyone, but particularly on music teachers.  Student music programs that, by their very nature, are designed to teach a performance art had to test the boundaries of creativity and resourcefulness. As a student music festival company, we want to be part of the solution.

As we all re-start, here are some tips for building or re-building a school music program.

  • Don’t be afraid to start small.  Make it matter to the students and watch it grow.
  • Be visible to the students who will feed into your program. 
    • Visit your feeder school to introduce yourself to those students. 
    • Take your musicians to perform for the younger students.
  • Invite the younger students to join you at the high school. Your students can teach a pep song to play at football games.  Assume that they are part of your program, so they will assume that too.
  • Plan some experiences just for the upper-level students.
    • (A Forum Festival trip?)  The younger students will have something to work towards as they build their skills.
  • Guest conduct at your feeder school
    • Remember an encouraging word!
  • Swap places with the feeder school director for a day (if admin agrees)
  • Gather statistics for school counselors about the advantages for music kids.
    • Higher GPA overall for music students
    • Successful alumni who performed in the band/orchestra/choir program
    • Quality colleges that pursue students from your music program
    • Access and visibility to college-level professors at music festivals
    • Better attendance and lower drop-out rates among music students
  • Open the band or choir room doors before school, at lunch, and after school.
    • This is the place for your students. Make it their home away from home – a safe haven and their “special place.”  New students & friends welcome!
  • Enlist the support of the whole community
    • Enlist the local newspaper as your group performs at a student music festival or other events.
    • Perform at local events, store openings, concert halls.
    • Invite community leaders to your concerts. (A boost for fundraising, too.)
  • Music students must perform
    • The word is out – the band or choir is going somewhere!  Building your program will be the result!
  • More recruitment tips are available through the following links:

At Forum Festivals, we welcome music students from throughout the country.  These music programs are moving and growing and making things happen.  It is time for all of that to happen again. Contact us for details.

You must promote your music program and students.  It may well be that no one else will.

Forum Festivals & Disney Imagination Campus!

Graphic for Disney Imagination Campus

At Forum Music Festivals, we’re delighted to highlight Disney Imagination Campus. Our friends at Disney have re-imagined their iconic workshops and performance opportunities. These beloved Disney programs mesh perfectly with your Forum Festivals weekend – fun, learning, and enthusiasm!

The popular vocal & instrumental Soundtrack Session workshops & performances are back and even better! Young dancers or musical theatre students may choose Dance Disney and Disney Broadway Magic workshops. Or showcase your Marching Band with the enduring tradition of a march down Main Street.

New to Disney’s impressive workshops are…

Designed for students of every ability and interest., creativity and imagination should be part of each student’s educational experience!

Can we coordinate your Forum Music Festival with your Disney Imagination Campus event? Absolutely! Let’s partner to bring the excitement of a festival with the magic of Disney. We’re raring to go! Let’s get started with an eye for spring 2022.

Look for pricing & applications to come in the next few weeks. Applications are accepted starting August 2, 2021. Programs commence in January 2022. Head over to www.disneycampus.com for more details. Or better yet, sign up for our e-newsletter and Facebook page here so you don’t miss a thing. Contact us here for an “At-a-Glance flyer” for your administration or booster clubs, Request DisneyCampusFlyer in the comments.

Linking a festival with an Imagination Campus package means that Forum Festivals coordinates your schedule. Request a quote with lodging, festival, workshops, and more! . Or give us a call at 1-888-76-FORUM. We’d love to hear from you.

Imagination. Learning. Inspiration. – the best educational experience for your students!

Traveling Green

10 Ideas for Sustainable Student Travel

As we wait for a green light to student travel, let’s consider the impact our travel has on our students, the destination, and the planet. Our teens live in a world where reducing their footprint on our planet is incredibly critical.    To promote sustainable travel, meet your students’ ideas with your own tips.  Together, you can incorporate these ideas into the fun of planning your next trip.

Go lightly! 

Ask students to assemble a packing list that includes only the essentials.  By packing light, you avoid burning resources with heavy baggage.

Explore public transportation

Feel adventurous?  If your group is small enough, you can do it!  Trust that your entire group can fit on one bus, subway, or train, but chat up a Plan B if your group gets split.  Until the next bus or subway comes along, a couple of chaperones can stay with students. Then you can all meet up at the next stop.  Is public transpo the answer for the entire trip? Maybe not, but in many destinations, it’s an easier way to get around.

Walk On!

If your hotel is near your sites, walking saves money, is healthy, and makes the planet greener.  Before you go, decide whether your group can handle short walking trips. Talk to your travel planner about the proximity of sites to your hotel.

BYOWB

That is, bring your own water bottles. Clearly, buying disposable beverage bottles is a problem for a green-loving group. Ponder other ways to reduce plastic use.

  • Bring reusable bags for shopping and laundry.
  • Sidestep one-use straws when eating out.
  • Avoid plastic utensils, if possible. 
  • Leave recyclable trash in the proper container. 

Note: Plastic takes between 100 and 400 years to break down in a landfill. 

RIP Hotel Toiletries

Once considered a luxury, these cute little bottles often go half-used before being tossed and ultimately living in a landfillBring soap and shampoo in reusable bottles.  To avoid plastic waste, bring your own.  Many hotel brands are cutting these items to reduce their clutter footprint. 

Tip:  If you must use the hotel toiletries, take the balance to finish off the shampoo and to re-use the container for your next trip.

Power Down

Turn off lights, TV, and electronics to conserve energy.  Close the drapes to keep out the heat or insulate from the cold.

Go paperless. 

Technology, (with which your students are quite familiar), is an obvious starting place.  Encourage electronic notetaking.  When corresponding with parents, use email or text message – far more effective than the bottom of the backpack notice. 

Re-use towels and bedding! 

Most hotels encourage this – hang the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door or use the folded sign the hotel provides.  For just a few nights, this is a no-brainer and minimizes water and energy used to launder towels and sheets. Easy, but key way to promote sustainable travel.

Enlist your travel planner! 

At Forum Festivals, we can suggest many green travel ideas.  We’re happy to inquire about the hotel’s recycling policies.  We can book local eateries that are walkable from the hotel.  As we design your itinerary, we’ll explore transportation options that can save you money AND save the planet.  

Enjoy the green journey! 

Students will likely be one step ahead of you, but when you incorporate sustainable travel in your planning as a challenge as well as a fun, educational experience, it will add to the journey.  We’d love to help!

Bon voyages!

Just a Note About Appreciation

Well, 2020 is over and there’s probably no one on Planet Earth that wants to re-visit that year.  As we dust off those cobwebs, I can’t help but start 2021 with a spark of hope and a bucketful of admiration.

Although we missed you in 2020, there’s no doubt that music teachers have really stepped up to the plate to show grace, flexibility, and creativity for their students.  Pretty sure that none of you went to college or conservatory to learn how to teach via Zoom or to teach a socially distant performance group.  As a business that supports music education, we admire all of you out there who are making music happen in your students’ homes and schools.  You are heroes!

Essential workers – how familiar that term is to us now.  Having spent months in quarantine depending on those who make our society plug along, let’s give a round of applause to those who fall under that huge umbrella of work deemed essential.  Of course, this includes health care, but it also includes those in retail grocery chains, agriculture, childcare, plumbers, mechanics, transportation, first responders, and the list goes on and on.  Can we ever say thank you enough to those who keep us going? 

Finally, we must admit that we all have a much more expanded appreciation for time – time by ourselves, time with those we love, and time spent discovering new talents and re-visiting old interests.  For music teachers (and those of us in that world), that can also mean the simple pleasure of practicing and enjoying music.  We look forward to the time when we can welcome you and your wonderful students back to a Forum Festival to enjoy, support, and encourage young musicians.

So, What’s Happening with Forum Festivals?

2021 is finally here and it is only natural that questions arise about what is going on with Forum Music Festivals.

We are here and we will be ready to go when you are.  However, let’s be realistic about the possibility that 2021 might not look like the Forum Festivals of previous years. Right now, California is in a dark place with ever-rising COVID 19 infections and deaths.  As of this date, we are less than 60 days from what would normally be the first festival of our 26th festival season.  Truthfully, that’s probably not going to happen.  But we are holding out hope that we will be able to welcome groups late May or June.  We simply must wait and see.

Meanwhile, a couple of things for you to know for the future…

  • Safety is our main concern for teachers, students as well as our staff.  We are taking steps to create a safe and healthy situation for groups to perform, once we’re all back together.
  • Money is going to be tight, so we will encourage groups to enjoy Forum Festivals on a local level with budget-friendly, yet fun alternatives for students.
  • Festivals may look a little different. We’ll follow CDC and State guidelines to keep gathering to a minimum, so we’ll pay attention when scheduling awards ceremonies.
  • Forum Music Festivals has always offered a “comments only” choice as well as a rated festival.  We understand that your ensembles may not had much classroom or rehearsal time this past year, so this may be a good option for your students.  Recruitment and retention, though, is also important. The opportunity to perform for adjudication and enjoy some camaraderie is a huge part of that.

Teachers and students want to travel when districts give them the green light.  We are hearing that from you, and we will be here when that day happens.  Our 2022 festival dates will be posted on our website very soon.  Please keep in touch (office@forummusicfestivals.com) and know that we are wishing the very best to you and your students as we all begin the journey of moving forward.

Great News from A Friend!

A familiar face (and voice) from Forum Music Festivals shares some very exciting news, particularly for students of Big Band Drumming! Matt Johnson, longtime announcer at Forum, has published a new book. Check out details below – you’ll want to have this important resource in your educational tool box!

DRUMMER/MUSIC EDUCATOR MATT JOHNSON ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF BIG BAND LOOPS VOLUME 1 – AN INSTRUCTIONAL PLAY-ALONG BOOK FOR DRUMMERS 

Drummer and music educator Matt Johnson announces the release of his new instructional play-along book for drummers, Big Band Loops Volume 1, containing 13 fully-orchestrated big band play-along tracks by renown composer and arranger Tom Kubis and over 30 chart-specific practice loops with performance insights designed by Johnson for drummers with novice to advanced jazz drumming experience.

Big Band Loops Volume 1 will help any drummer expand their ‘fill’ and ‘setup’ vocabulary while they simultaneously practice solid timekeeping with the aid of recorded looped big band figures and full-song play-along tracks,” says Johnson, an accomplished studio drummer and the Instructor of Drum Set Studies at Fullerton College since 1993. “The book also provides drummers with the thrill of playing in a big band outside of the classroom or live performance setting, which makes it a very timely and effective teaching solution during this unprecedented era of remote learning.”

The downloadable eBook – available at www.drummermattjohnson.com/loops –  includes full drum set charts, notated loop examples, instructional text and high-quality sound files for every featured practice loop and song, providing a totally immersive play-along experience.

Johnson tapped his longtime friend Tom Kubis to provide the music for this fun and practical instructional play-along book. Since the 1970s, Kubis’ arrangements have been a popular staple in the music libraries of the top high school, college and university jazz programs, as well as professional big bands around the world, and have been featured on hundreds of CDs.

Adapting the Kubis library for a play-along experience felt natural to Johnson, the original drummer in the Tom Kubis Big Band. “Tom’s music is so fun to play and his charts are so well prepared that I have been using them for years when teaching my college and private students the fundamentals of big band drumming.” This book puts into writing those time-tested concepts and techniques for learning the traditional responsibilities of a big band drummer while reinforcing all-around fundamentally-sound drumming skills. 

Beyond his expertise in the big band arena, Johnson is versed in all forms of jazz, pop and world drumming styles. A founding member of the Tony Guerrero Quintet, they currently tours with Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning actress/comedienne Jane Lynch. He is an artist/clinician for Mapex Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads, Roland US and Vic Firth Drumsticks. 

Big Band Loops Volume 1 by Matt Johnson, with music by Tom Kubis, is available as an eBook download for $35 at www.drummermattjohnson.com/loops

Great moments over 22 years…

We’re launching our 22nd season this year.  Lot of years, lot of directors, lots of kids, and lots of stories.  Middle School students who started with us at age 12 would now be 33 years old.  Yikes!  Some bring their own ensembles to a festival.  It’s a sobering thought, but a very gratifying one.

I remember the director who answered his ringing cell phone while onstage directing his band, then ran down the theatre aisle mid-performance to hand his phone to me.  On the other end was a mom looking for her daughter at the festival.  Wouldn’t you know the daughter’s name was Katie?  There were probably 45 Katie’s at that festival that morning.  Yes, we found Katie.

Then there were directors who arrived at the festival teary-eyed because they were retiring and this was their last outing with their students.  They cared so deeply for their students over a lifetime of teaching.  Forum Festivals played a part of their programs for so many years.  I was honored that we were friends and partners.  I shall never forget them and I think of them quite often.

One school’s entire clarinet section forgot their instruments at home a few years ago.  One adjudicator was on the faculty where the festival was scheduled that morning. “Wait just a minute,” he said and he left the theatre.  He scrambled around in the college band room and found clarinets for most of the section. (Yes, they had their own mouthpieces with them – go figure).

I’ve observed many acts of generosity between music students of different schools. It’s so heartwarming when kids just stand up spontaneously to applaud another school’s performance with no nudging from adults.

Last year, in the Bay Area, we welcomed a wind ensemble with a very talented young oboe player.  He really was quite phenomenal which became more and more apparent during the performance.  No surprise to anyone that he was awarded an Outstanding Student Musician award.   Following awards, the other students emptied the theatre and formed two lines in the lobby (no prompting from the adults). As the oboist left the theatre and walked between his classmates, they broke out in spontaneous applause, clapping him on the back as he passed.  It meant the world to this young musician. He will never forget it and I was thrilled to be there to experience it.

So, on the eve of our 22nd season, I’m pondering the stories along with the music that I’ve been privileged to witness.  Over the past 22 years, we think we’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the less-than-graceful.  But most of it has been good – and that is for sure.

Becky