Around Orlando: Students Perform at the Daytona 500!


And now for something completely different!

So, say you’re a band director and you’ve done parades, you’ve done half-time shows, you’ve done theme park performances and festivals, and you want something a little different to put on your band’s dossier.  Well, here at Kaleidoscope, we are excited to share with you a very unique, growing opportunity for high school and middle school bands to perform in front of thousands as part of the pre-race show at the Daytona 500!

Bands from around the country are invited to come together as part of a mass band performance of a medley of patriotic tunes right on pit road before the big race begins.  Performers at this event have the opportunity to walk on the track, sign the start/finish line, talk to pit crew and possibly some drivers, and maybe even spot some celebs.  This sounds like a great experience just for the up-close and behind-the-scenes look it provides at the world’s biggest race, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to showcase your band, no matter the size or caliber.

All participating bands learn the music in advance of their trip to central Florida, and then have the opportunity to rehearse as a large mass band once they arrive.  Instrument sections are kept together, so your trumpet players will have the chance to play off of and learn from other trumpet players from around the country.  Because this event is open to both middle and high school groups, middle schoolers will have a valuable chance to play alongside older, more experienced students, from whom they could undoubtedly learn.  Students will bond over this unique experience and possibly create lasting friendships with like-minded kids from other states.

To top it all off, participation in the Daytona 500 massed band performance includes a ticket to the actual race.  This is a nationally-televised event that many people spend hundreds of dollars to attend and these bands are right in the middle of it!  Daytona, of course, is also home to world-famous beaches, and Orlando’s awesome theme parks are only an hour away, so participating bands have plenty to do to create memories off the racetrack as well!

Does this sound like a pretty amazing experience for student bands?  Check out this cool video highlighting last year’s event and then share your thoughts below in the comments!

If you have any questions about your band’s potential participation in this event, contact us at 800-774-7337 or!

8th grade trip to Washington DC

My 8th grade trip to Washington DC was one that I will always cherish.  One of my most profound middle school memories is walking into the house where Abraham Lincoln died, The Petersen House. The sun was peeking above the buildings over my right shoulder and my eighth grade boy crush stood just a few students in front of me. We were lined up down the stairs and onto the sidewalk as we listened to the narrator who was telling of how Mr. Lincoln was brought across the street from Ford Theater to be treated by medical staff.

To this day, I am amazed at how vivid the memory of that moment replays in my mind. If you would have asked me on that day if that was something I would remember 20 years in the future, I would have given the usual middle school “I dunno” answer. That answer somehow stands to show the most important memories to students can be ones that might not be apparent to those around them.

When visiting Washington, D.C. on a middle school field trip, we arrived by Amtrak train. As most immediately think of motor coach or school bus, don’t forget that Amtrak trains are still very much alive and well in most of the country. Travel is the experience of the journey, not always the destination. Once we arrived, we did board a bus and we toured the city with a guide who gave us tips about things we would see throughout our four day field trip.

Our student group was told we would see The National Museum of Natural History, The National Air and Space Museum, Washington National Cathedral, Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I can remember talking amongst friends in the back of the bus about what all those museums held inside. We had heard about spacecrafts hanging from the ceiling in The National Air and Space Museum and we all wanted to guess the correct amount of buildings we would see from the top of the Washington Monument.

I learned a lot about our country’s history on that trip but more importantly, I learned a lot about myself. It was my first overnight trip out of state and I learned how to interact with other students and be responsible for myself. There are endless things to do in Washington, D.C. and below I listed out the top 5 attractions I specifically remember, 20 years later:

  1. The Petersen House
  2. Ford Theater
  3. Washington Monument
  4. Iwo Jima Memorial
  5. The White House

Want to start planning your DC experience? Give us a call at 800-774-7337 or email

Student Cruises

Give your student group an unforgettable experience enjoying the sun and fun onboard a beautiful cruise ship! We offer the best ports of embarkation around the country including Port Canaveral, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Mobile, Galveston, Long Beach and New Orleans. Your cruise will take you to exotic Ports of Call including:

  • Nassau
  • Freeport
  • Coco Cay
  • Key West
  • Cozumel
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Grand Cayman
  • Ocho Rios
  • Ensenada
  • Catalina
  • San Diego
  • Bermuda
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii


Your cruise adventure offers superb dining, excellent service, fantastic entertainment and lots of shipboard activities. The fun never ends!

Each cruise will include the following:

  • Comfortable Cabin with 24 hour stateroom service.
  • All Meals including fine dining, late night buffets casual dining, pizzeria and more!
  • Shipboard Activities and Entertainment including live entertainment, swimming, dancing, health club, teen club, karaoke and more!
  • 1 Free Cruise for Every 20 Paid Persons (includes all taxes, fees, current fuel supplement fees and pre-paid gratuities).
  • Prepaid Gratuities onboard ship.
  • All Taxes & Fees.
  • $2,000,000 Liability Insurance Coverage.

The time has never been better to book your group aboard a beautiful cruise ship.

The early bird and the worm: Why you should book early.

“Why should I book early?” – Teachers and parents often ask us about the importance of booking transportation – and quite honestly, the whole trip – early.  The most important reason why is to keep your group together. Here is a short list of the rest of the ‘why’s:

  • Same bus.

    Keep your group together on the same bus. Our first goal in confirming group trips is to keep friends and schools together. If you book together by the deadline date, we will keep you on the same bus.

  • Same hotel.

    Keep your group in the same hotel. If your group books together, we book all the rooms you need at the same hotel.

  • Save money.

    We have early booking incentives that save you money on many of our packages. Hotels and bus companies also start charging more for services closer to time of departure and this can increase prices and decrease availability.

  • Sell out.

    The earlier you book the trip, the better your options will be. There are only so many suppliers that welcome student groups and this makes availability very limited at most destinations.