Northampton School for Boys


L. A. Jazz Music Tour 2015

Jazz Tour 2015 Mar 04 thbs

How I spent my half-term holiday... By Mr B. Johnson
NSB Director of Music

A week on tour with Northampton School for Boys Big Band and Jazz Vocal Group

12th - 20th February 2015


'L. A. Here We Come' - pre-tour concert - making sure all 41 students have all their music and instruments ready for the next morning. Another opportunity to meet parents, a last opportunity for fundraising!


Meet at school. Instrument, music and passport check, then on to the coach for Heathrow. Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Watch says 6.30pm. Body clock says 2.30am! Transfer to hotel, room allocation and something else to eat before bed.


Time to exercise and enjoy the sea air on an orientation trip to Hermosa Beach pier. A morning of sun, sea and sand - wonderful after a long day travelling. 4 Celsius at home - 31 Celsius in L. A!). After lunch, board the coach and head for Irvine High School (about 50 miles South). Rehearsals with their Big Band and vocal groups, a thoroughly enjoyable partnership concert with a sell-out audience, then a shared meal, reinforcing new friendships, before heading back to the hotel.


Board the coach for a morning excursion to Hollywood and Beverley Hills, hoping for some star spotting. After lunch, and more touristy sightseeing, back to Hermosa Beach Theatre to take part in a fundraising concert, organised by the local Rotary club, who are hosting a couple of teams taking part in the Special Olympics World Games this July. An inspiring evening.


A relaxing day at Universal Studios ending with a meal at Hard Rock Cafe, Hollywood.


Presidents Day. We're at Disneyland, giving two performances to the holiday crowds at California Adventure Theme Park. Treated like real professionals by the entertainments staff, but we also get time to enjoy the parks themselves. A good-sized and appreciative audience as well, helped by the fact that the stage is in the 'Frozen' section of the park.

To see a gallery of images from the trip please Click Here

A bit of culture this morning at the magnificent Getty Museum. Stunning views over L. A. , magnificent architecture and wide ranging art displays of all kinds. Following lunch, we moved on to Valencia High School, Santa Clarita. Following rehearsals and an enormous pot-luck meal, the partnership concert plays to a packed theatre. Terrific United items from bands and vocal groups was followed by the staff team trying to get the new superstars back on the coach for the journey back to the hotel.


A fantastic morning provided by staff and students of Bob Cole Conservatoire of Music's jazz team in Long Beach. Following workshops with the two groups, led by Jeff Jarvis (Head of Jazz) and Christine Guter (Head of Jazz Vocal), we were treated to two stunning concerts by the Conservatoire's top groups - Pacific Standard Time vocal group (check them out on YouTube), and the Concert Jazz Orchestra. Following this, Bob Cole students and NSB students joined together to chat over lunch provided by our hosts. The afternoon was spent investigating The Queen Mary, led by Staff Captain James (who has a natural gift for captivating and educating tired teenagers), and a Russian Strike submarine. During our evening celebration meal at a local restaurant, Jazz Vocal Group gained a new member when one of the waitresses joined in and ‘selfied’ the performances!


Our last day in L. A. was spent with our resident coach driver, Bobby. Room clearance, check-out and a final opportunity to visit the beach in the morning was followed by a visit to Santa Monica for lunch, sight-seeing and shopping before heading for the airport for the journey home.


The flight arrives early at Heathrow, we link up with the coach successfully and head back to Northampton. The tour ends at 6.30pm when the last student is picked up by his parents. Where did the day go? Oh, the 8 hour time difference! I must try to stay awake until 11.00pm to try to get my body clock in sync again.