Travel Notes

Thank You, Directors

We’re grateful for all that you are and all that you do.

By Todd Rogers, Co-CEO, Bob Rogers Travel

We know we’re biased when we say that directors are some of the most incredible people on the planet.

As children, my sister Tami and I had the gift of a front-row seat to our dad’s career as a band director. We watched as he poured everything he had into his students. The lessons we learned from his years in the classroom, on the field and on the road continue to inspire the work we do at Bob Rogers Travel.

As directors, you’re more than music educators – you’re simultaneously teaching new skills, creating community, maintaining safe spaces for expression, and drawing out greatness from your students. We have the privilege of working with hundreds of band, choir and orchestra directors as they share their dreams for their students and their programs. These conversations take us right back to our childhood – because, just like our dad, directors offer so much more than classroom lessons:

You offer a place to belong

The arts have always been a shelter from the storm of adolescence. Directors work so hard to create safe, joyful spaces for students to connect with their peers and make something beautiful together.

Whether they’re learning a new piece, performing on a new stage or raising funds for their next adventure, students feel seen and connected in these programs. At a time when studies show that nearly half of teenagers report feeling lonely, these welcoming environments are more important than ever.

This sense of belonging leads to happier students, higher graduation rates and lower rates of dangerous behavior. As parents ourselves, we couldn’t feel more grateful for your powerful, positive influence on our kids’ lives.

My groups are closer following a trip. They have a stronger bond; they trust each other (and me!) more in rehearsals. We make better music together because we’re willing to take risks, we’re vulnerable and we trust each other.

Holly Pemberton, Choral Director

This brings us closer because we’re experiencing it together – we’re sharing stories, we’re exchanging glances over certain things and it’s a really nice bonding experience because we get to know each other better.

Kierstyn, Student

You inspire new dreams

Directors are often the first adults outside of our own families that encourage us to try new things and identify talent we didn’t know we had. We’ve heard story after story from current directors who were so inspired by the directors of their youth that they charted an entirely new career path for themselves.

In our world, directors are not only planting the seeds for those dreams in the classroom, but opening students’ eyes to the possibilities that lie beyond their hometowns. When you introduce your students to a Broadway musical or a symphony performance for the first time, you’re inspiring bigger dreams than students may have dared to dream before.

When we were in our Broadway clinic, the clinician was comparing us to Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked arriving in the Emerald City. We’re from a small town and arrived in Times Square and there’s a feeling like awe that you experience. So now I’ve experienced that and then I can apply it to whatever I’m singing or playing. And that’s really cool!

Nora, Student

I try to get the students to understand that the better you are at something, the more you’re going to enjoy it. That’s the feeling that makes the long hours worth it. Knowing that you’ve been a part of something that’s incredible that no one else in the world could do – to me, that’s what’s really special.

Cary Ruklic, Band Director

You never give up

Directors always find a way to make music happen. Whether it’s rallying community support for their programs or navigating the challenges a pandemic, the directors we know and love do whatever it takes to be there for their students. Budget cuts, Zoom classes and recruiting hurdles can’t keep you down; you always find a way.

We saw this kind of tenacity in our dad, Bob Rogers. After ten years as a band director, he knew how impactful travel was for his students, but the travel industry just didn’t understand the unique needs of performance travel. He knew his fellow directors and their students deserved something better.

So, he withdrew his retirement savings, converted my percussion room to an office, and went to work. Slowly but surely, he built the company that my sister and I are honored to lead today. Like our dad, we’re inspired by directors everywhere and the meaningful work they do – serving students and changing lives.

Today, we say thank you, directors. You mean the world to us.

A version of this post originally appeared in SBO+ Magazine.

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