On Tour

European Concert Tour
The European portion of the tours are three or four weeks depending on the ensemble.  Each ensemble visits six to seven communities throughout two to four countries.  The touring ensemble performs at least one concert in every community visited.

Concert Halls
Blue Lake International Ensembles have appeared on some of the finest and historically relevant stages in Europe.  At the same time, smaller ensembles such as the Blue Lake Jazz Bands have been featured in countless jazz clubs, music festivals, and community celebrations.  It is not uncommon for Blue Lake groups to perform in front of sold out, ticketed audiences in large concert halls.  European audiences are extremely interested in attending American youth concerts.

Domestic Tour
Blue Lake International Groups perform brief tours within the Midwest.  Communities invite Blue Lake to their local performing arts center or festival to perform and share an experience with an American host family for two to three days.   

Homecoming Concert
The summer wraps up with an energizing performance at Blue Lake for more than 1,500 campers faculty, staff family and concert goers.  The performance is also broadcast on Blue Lake Public Radio which covers a ten county radius in West Michigan and streams all over the world from the Blue Lake website.  Students in the audience offer encouraging applause and are motivated to join next year’s International Program.  The homecoming performance is the perfect way to end an incredible musical journey and say farewell to new found friends.   

Host Families
Community leaders and educators serve as chairpersons for our groups.  These chairpersons coordinate the Blue Lake tour locations by organizing special events, performances and most importantly, host families.  One to three Blue Lake students are housed with each host family.  Host families are selected from the hosting organization such as a school, community music or dance ensemble, or church.  Personal data is collected from Blue Lake students in order to make an appropriate host family assignment based on age, gender, instrument, and personal interests.

Every summer, lifelong friendships are created between host brothers and sisters and Blue Lakers.  Blue Lake students essentially become a member of the European family for three days.  Host families plan for months in advance of the arrival of their new American friends.  Sightseeing, shopping, home-cooked meals, and community parties are part of a Blue Laker’s schedule in each host community.  After a three day visit, tears are common as the Blue Lake motor coach departs for the next community.

The Blue Lake International Program holds several rehearsals throughout the year.  Rehearsals take place for one Sunday in November, one Sunday in April, one weekend in May, and one week in early June.  All rehearsals take place at Blue Lake.  Students are encouraged to practice regularly on their own to master their music before arriving at rehearsals.  Orientation, mini language classes, recitals and camp fun are all part of Blue Lake International rehearsals.  

What is it like to stay in a host community?
Here is a nice video from the Lions Club in Figeac, France, which has hosted many Blue Lake groups in the past and also co-sponsors the Blue Lake in France program. The video captures the 2015 Blue Lake International Jazz Orchestra’s visit to Figeac this past summer. While the dialogue is in French, the video offers a glimpse of what a typical tour stop will be like.