Offering more than 100 liveshows, Branson is the entertainment capital of Mid-America and a favorite of young travelers from around the country. Student performance groups—bands, choirs, dance troupes—find Branson especially engaging. They revel in the chance to strut their stuff on the stages of state of-the-art theaters that showcase Branson’s biggest and brightest stars. Branson, the fastest-growing student performance destination in America, provides groups with plenty of diversions away from the theaters. It abounds with theme parks, go-kart tracks, arcades and other amusements.Ozarks history and the area’s natural beauty also captivate student groups. Famous for hospitality, Branson takes pride in its family-friendly ambiance and safe environment. Centrally located in the heart of America, this small vacation town in Southern Missouri is the perfect place fora student trip!
Music directors from around the country are always on the lookout for the ultimate student-performance travel destinations for their choir, orchestra and instrumental groups. They need to look no farther than Branson, Missouri to strike the perfect chord.
Branson is a bursting hub of live entertainment nestled in the premier lake resort region of the Missouri Ozarks and offers up an exceptionally well-rounded ensemble of performance, educational and recreational travel experiences for musical youth. No need for music directors to spend hours browsing the web or do a lot of time-consuming site inspections to familiarize themselves with Branson.
Directors interested in the venue can simply request an application now to participate in Branson’s yearly Music Director FAM Tour – a complimentary annual event hosted by the Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sporting a 3-day packed itinerary (with ongoing visits to shows, dining spots, attractions and lodging plus personal intros to the business community) the FAM tour provides music directors, along with one selected travel companion of their choice, a steady on-site, upclose- and-personal stream of what Branson has to offer in the way of a superior student performance destination. “It was a great time,” says Steven Tyndall, music director at Rising Starr Middle School in Peach Tree City, Georgia – one of the 23 music directors from around the U.S. who were guests at the 4th Annual Branson Music Directors FAM tour, July 6-9, 2010.
Tyndall, who says that he is sold on Branson as a result of this year’s FAM tour and plans to lock in a student performance trip there for his musical troupe in the school year 2011-2012, credits FAM tour producer Lenni Neimeyer for the rewarding and successful experience.
“I was impressed with the way Lenni put it all together in one package.Every step of the way, we were able to meet people and learn about all the opportunities for our kids that Branson has to offer,”Tyndall says. Neimeyer, Director of Leisure Group Sales for the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, “I love to promote Branson because it is truly an amazing destination. And I enjoy the rewarding challenge of developing a FAM tour that meets the specific interest of my attendees. But it’s always so easy because Branson has something to offer people of all, any and every age group.
While Neimeyer admits she is delighted with the positive results of the Branson Music Director FAM tour concept she developed over four years ago, she shies away from taking overall credit for the event’s over-the-top success record. In fact, Neimeyer—a Certified Travel Industry Specialist (CTIS) and soon to be designated a Certified Student Travel Professional (CSTP)—hands over the major recognition to the Branson business community for the financial support and full involvement which makes the yearly expense free trip possible for music directors plus one traveling companion.
This year’s itinerary included a nonstop tour of many student-friendly sights and sounds of Branson. Plus, the final morning of the FAM, all attendees were treated to a presentation by a special guest speaker, Kirk Troen, president of the Student Youth Travel Association, and a Speed-Dating Marketplace business session during which music directors were seated for over two hours while having a slate every 4 minutes of one-on-one meetings with various Branson business leaders and group sales representatives sharing information on youth-oriented lodging, theaters, attractions, dining and more
“I had a fantastic time,” says Audrey Murphy, director of the Middle School band in Milton, Georgia and participant in July’s FAM event, who is targeting spring 2012 for her group’s performance visit to Branson. “We didn’t just go to shows, but also the parks and amusements, attractions and dining places. I think my kids will enjoy Branson and my chaperones will enjoy it, not just because of the student performance opportunities that Branson offers, but because there are so many educational opportunities from the Titanic museum to the music clinics offered to our students by the professional entertainers there.”
“This tour was very good for music directors in two regards,” guest speaker Troen reflects. “Number one, the directors got to experience Branson in a way that allowed them to see all of the aspects and opportunities their students would enjoy beforehand –without having to be chaperone to them.”
Secondly, Troen pointed out, Branson FAM tour guests were presented information relating to how the benefits of utilizing an organized, reputable student-tour liaison outweighed the option of directors trying to create their own trip.
“For a small city, Branson has more student-performance opportunities than most big cities,” Troen says. “There are so many musicians within so many theaters.
Music students not only get to perform, they get to see other musicians perform.” Neimeyer (who has scheduled
the 2011 and 2012 Music Director Branson FAM tours and is already looking forward to those upcoming events) sums up her enthusiasm: “I love to introduce people to our destination and my favorite thing is to see that light come on, during their visit, when they realize all that Branson has to offer. It’s magical.”
Lenni Neimeyer, CTIS