ToM Merrill

Travel Consultant

Meet ToM

Your travel partner.

Tom’s 20 years of experience in the performance travel industry is rooted in over a decade of music education and a lifetime of performing. A wind musician and vocalist, Tom’s personal love of music inspired him to pursue an undergraduate degree in music education and then a Masters in conducting and clarinet. He taught middle and high school band in Colorado and Iowa for ten years before launching a new career as a performance travel consultant and festival event organizer. Since 2000, he’s been working with fellow educators to create impactful performance travel tours for students. He believes the opportunities for growth outside the walls of the rehearsal room can be students’ most meaningful performance experiences.

Tom Merrill

Tom Merrill

Travel Consultant

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My favorite travel memory

One of my favorite memories would be visiting Ellis Island in New York for the first time. My grandfather arrived there from Denmark in 1908; I remember standing in the Great Hall trying to imagine what it must have been like for him. He was a 7 year old boy from the tiny town of Tylstrup who only spoke Danish, and had just gotten off of a boat that sailed across the ocean and walked into a building where he was surrounded by hundreds of people speaking strange languages. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t comprehend how frightening and disorienting that must have been. That experience gave me a real appreciation for what my ancestors had been through and how fortunate I have been in my life.

My hobbies and pastimes

My wife Jen and I play in an adult community wind ensemble and I sing in my church choir. One of the things I promised myself when I started teaching was that I would keep playing or singing in groups because being on the ‘other side of the podium’ would help me be a better conductor. And it did – because I didn’t forget how it feels to be in the ensemble. Recently I had the opportunity to guest conduct a couple of bands and it was wonderful rehearsing a group and bringing all the parts together.

My favorite destination

Believe it or not – Washington, D.C.. It has everything that appeals to me: I’m a history nerd, a news and politics junkie, an aviation and space exploration enthusiast, and with the top military ensembles in town it even satisfies being a band geek. When we were there a few years ago on a family vacation, I got up early one morning and walked a few blocks from the hotel to see John Philip Sousa’s birthplace.

Moments that Matter …

 

The personal touches that BRT provides. Your company gets to know the people they work with. I have never felt like a "number" with BRT.

Leslie Schmidt
Class Trip, 2018 DC tour
Columbia Central Junior High School

 

I appreciated the flexibility Bob Rogers showed us with the billing and various payments we had to make. We thought we were adding more and ended up not but you were great about giving us extra time to work out what we needed to on our end.

Loraine Wistrom
Band, 2017 Chicago tour
Plum Grove Junior High School

 

BRT is always on top of all details. Even when something has slipped through the cracks, changed, or something unexpected comes up, BRT is flexible enough to make the changes needed to make everything right. We have always been so well taken care of and the personal attention is what makes your company special.

Dameon Place
Band, ’18-19 Orlando tour
Pella Community High School

 

This was my 5th trip with Bob Rogers, and I appreciate the professionalism and also the willingness to work with me and my students to make each trip the very best it can be.

Trey Jacobs
Choir, ’18- 19 Atlanta &Tuscaloosa Tour
Nashville School of the Arts

 

You make the process so easy - step-by-step of what needs to be done, guidance along the way, available (and quick) to respond to questions and making me feel like me and my students are your priority.

Beth Vaughn
Choir, ’17-18 New York City tour
Bowling Green High School

 

The quality of service that you provided us with was second to none. The organization and communication were exceptional and we always felt we were in “the loop” on things both before and during the trip.

Bob Mecozzi
Band, ‘17-18 Orlando Tour
Amos Alonzo Stagg High School

 

BRT hands down has been the absolute best travel company I have worked with in my 18 years in education. My interactions with BRT have always been so much more than just traveling from one destination to another...the focus has always been on people and providing them with experiences of a lifetime.

Barry Houser
Band, ’17-18, Ireland tour
University of Illinois

 

From the scheduling, to planning, to overseeing, to leading, to customer service, everyone involved was courteous, prompt, and hospitable. Everyone did their jobs well and turned the trip experience into something better than we had anticipated.

David Dvorak
Band, ’17-18 Nashville Tour
Lakewood Middle School

 

Very Organized - even when problems develop. We've gone on enough trips with Bob Rogers to know how BRT operates - always first class, always prepared.

Joe Carl
Band, ’17 Los Angeles Tour
Sumner High School

 

The whole BRT team was extremely attentive, accommodating and reliable. Every detail was attended to and my stress level the entire trip was at an all-time low.

Joel Vanderheyden
Band, ’17-18 New Orleans Tour
Jefferson College

Contact Tom:

Performance
Group Travel
Performance group travel has been the heart of our business since 1981.
International
Group Travel
Learn about the eye-opening experiences that international travel offers.
Educational
Group Travel
Student group travel brings learning to life.
Destinations:
Discover some of our most popular student-friendly destinations.

Parents & Students:

Build friendships. Explore new places. Make memories.

Travel Insurance

Purchase travel insurance from Travel Insured International.

About Us
We craft travel experiences that allow you to share the world with your students.
Our Company
Learn more about our history, our values and our commitment to serving your needs.
Our Team
Good people and great relationships are the keys to perfect travel experiences.
Technology
Our tools make traveling with a group easier, safer and more efficient.
Planning Guides
KNOWLEDGE:
Topical, comprehensive, and helpful. Our planning guides are created to give you a deep dive into specific aspects of student travel.
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BRT Videos
INSPIRATION:
Our videos feature profiles of destinations and events, interviews with students and directors, and the inside scoop on our process.
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TravelNotes
ARTICLES:
Sharing what we’ve learned for over 35 years. Our blog highlights travel planning resources, destination profiles, travel trends and more.
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Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Celebrating weddings, new babies, new jobs and important achievements. Find it all here.
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