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Music tour in Paris

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Mission: give all the students of a high school music department a taste of being a real musician.

Status: accomplished!

Key components: one city, two tour managers, three venues, four days, five performances, seven drivers, thirteen staff and one hundred and nine young musicians from the American School of London

Detailed breakdown:

IMG_0383Day 1 was a travel day.

It was fairly easy journey with little traffic and a smooth ferry crossing.  Arrival in time for a group briefing, a buffet dinner and an early night (for some!)

Day 2 was a day of many performances.

A 0530 wake-up call and a 0700 departure was what was needed to reach the other side of the city by 0900. Our hosts, the American School of Paris welcomed us in to set up ready for the first concert at 1000. The third of three school assemblies culminated in the choristers of ASL and ASP coming together for a joint piece.

As if that wasn’t enough music for one morning. ASL squeezed in some rehearsal time for their grand finale piece for the evening performances before packing up and having lunch.

IMG_0359In the afternoon the coaches took us into Central Paris, we soaked up the sights on the way to our destination of the Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux in the 4th arrondissement. Rehearsals and preparations all afternoon transformed the church into the set of a collage format concert.

The audience members started to arrive and ponder where to sit as musicians were all around them in the four corners of the church and pews were en travers, facing inwards. By 2030 there was a full house and standing room only as the baton came down for the start of the first piece.  The concert was a great success with music flowing seamlessly around the church passing between orchestra, choir, concert band and an array of smaller ensembles. By the time of arrival back at the hotel that night everyone was tried but proud of their accomplishments, looking to build upon them the next day.

Day 3 was for the final concert.

A leisurely morning was welcomed by all and a 1030 departure gave us time enough to arrive in the Northern suburbs of Paris in time for an early lunch. Once feed and watered we made the final leg of the journey to Enghien les Bains. The spring weather brought out the best of this lake-side spa town and those who weren’t needed at the rehearsal could go and explore or chill out with an ice cream.

Our venue was the splendid and recently renovated church of St Joseph – another beautiful church with the space to allow the collage concert. The support from the local community and feature on idfm radio brought in a good crowd to hear the musicians excel themselves for another fantastic performance.

Day 4 was the journey home.

Despite a spot of Sunday evening  traffic we all made it back in one piece. Each person got something slightly different out of this music tour but everyone had a great experience.

OneStage in Full Swing

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Trelaze Festival,Christine Taylor, LSSOThe 2014 touring season is well underway with Easter groups on the road in Berlin, Dublin and Paris. This year they are enjoying the glorious spring sunshine, which is a lovely change to last year’s late snow.  We are excited to have our first tour to Iceland, several jazz bands at ‘Music in the Park’ Montreux Jazz and concerts at Notre-Dame de Paris, Girona, Barcelona, Salzburg, Ghent and Rouen cathedrals. There will be around 250 concerts performances by OneStage groups over the course of the year.

We welcome Marie Fouche-Bray, who started at OneStage in November, to the team.  Marie and Eve accompanied one of our large groups (130 pax) in Paris last weekend. The highlight of the trip was a sell-out audience at Notre-Dame des Blancs Manteaux!

We are still slowly adding destinations to our website. Please remember OneStage covers the whole of Europe and many world-wide destinations, so if you don’t see your ideal touring place on our map, then please get in toucBrighton Montreux Jazz 2013h with Julian or Sonia to ask for details.  Our destinations page will soon feature Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, the USA, Canada and Bulgaria amongst other inviting touring ideas.

Groups should be planning 2015 tour now to obtain allocations at the best accommodations and choice venues.  We are happy to come and meet you to discuss your touring requirements or take an enquiry on the phone, or by email. The next opportunity to meet OneStage face to face will be at the MMA Conference at St George’s College in Weybridge in May 2014. To find out more please visit

Kew Wind Orchestra’s Champagne Tour

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

OneStage really enjoys working with adult music groups, especially when there are lots of friends and familiar faces on board.  Kew Wind Orchestra took a long weekend away in Champagne, the perfect short-haul tour destination, accompanied by Eve from OneStage:

Some say that strawberries are the KWO Charlesvilleperfect accompaniment to Champagne, but I’d say that Kew Wind Orchestra goes pretty well too. An optimum combination of the beautiful landscape, exquisite taste and finesse of Champagne and the sublime sounds of the highly acclaimed KWO.

What’s more, they certainly know how to have a good time on tour too! What better way to start the trip than with real style and sit down for a Champagne breakfast at the Brasserie on the Ferry as we cruise across the channel.

The first evening was a totally different kind of fun as the musicians transformed themselves in to an imaginative array of Halloween themed personalities. The town of Reims may not have seen such fancy dress parties before but the locals were more curious than spooked and many of them enjoyed their evening with us.

In the morning, some had a leisurely start while others explored Reims by day. Then we all drove up to the Ardennes town of Charleville-Mézières where our concert would be that afternoon. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the local cuisine and soaking up the atmosphere.

Next day, the orchestra turned the focus to sampling the local delights of the famous champagne region. The Champagne house of Laurent Perrier hosted us for an incredibly special visit and tasting session in the morning. Thanks to one of the band’s contacts we were privileged enough to be able to experience something not available to the general public.

But how could we only visit one Champagne House when there are so many in this region? Mercier was our next stop, although some people couldn’t resist another glass with lunch beforehand and then afterwards at dinner as well. The day was rounded off with a concert in Epernay and a standing ovation from the audience.

There was Another chance to visit Reims that evening and the next morning before setting off on our way back to Calais, across the Chanel and home to London with plenty of memories, stories and souvenirs in hand.

Stunning success in Belgium for Inner Voices Choir

Friday, February 21st, 2014

inner voices logoInner Voices is one of London’s most exciting youth choirs, with members drawn from several Inner London schools and Academies.  They are conducted by the renowned choral trainer Ralph Allwood and directed by Ed Watkins, Director of Music at the West London Free School.

Inner Voices, Wavre3

In the spring of 2013 they contacted OneStage to set up their first ever concert tour, which took in three venues in Belgium over just a couple of days in February 2014. The choir performed to over 500 people over the weekend, in such prestigious venues as Brussels Cathedral.

Inner voices Wavre 2Director Ed Watkins couldn’t praise OneStage enough, both directly and via Twitter: “Throughout the whole process the organisation was superb, and made it all so stress free, and our wonderful tour manager made the few days as easy as I could have imagined! The thing that really amazed me about the trip was how fantastic the audiences were! I can’t believe that we had so many people to sing to and all the people that hosted us were so kind and encouraging. The trip has given all the singers a massive boost and was just what the choir needed.”

OneStage hits the road!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013


We love to meet our clients face to face, and we also love finding new people to meet and places to visit, both home and abroad

This term sees us out and about more than ever, both in this country where we love to meet and get to know our new (and old!) clients, and abroad on inspection trips with our clients: they’re the best way for us to get to know you, and for you to see what we do first hand!

So here’s just a few places you’ll find OneStage this autumn

– At the Making Music National Conference at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham on 12th October where you will find Julian on the OneStage stand.

– On our Directors‘ Familiarisation Trip to Spain from 29-31 October. This trip taking in Barcelona & the Costa’s  is now fully booked and we look forward to welcoming clients new and old to explore the region with us whilst getting to know some of the OneStage team. You too can keep up with the trip by following progress on Twitter #Barcelonafamtrip

– At The Music Show in Manchester, where Julian & Sonia will be representing us. There we’ll be delighted to welcome our Spanish partner Sandra Angulo from GoES Travel ( who’ll be joining us to tell you all about our Spanish product and why we love to send music groups all over Spain.

As well as meeting lots of clients, we’re always searching for new and exciting places to perform, as well finding new possibilities right under our noses in our existing portfolio of destinations.  So far this autumn, Rebecca has already attended the German Travel Workshop which was held in London, and Eve spent the day at the Birmingham NEC meeting with suppliers and exhibitors at the Group Leisure show.  And from 4th November we’ll be gathering a myriad of ideas and new contacts at the World Travel Market in London

Aside from work and travel, we will all have to find some time to practise for our upcoming Christmas concerts, which we might tweet about from time to time!

And finally at Christmas, our offices will close on 24th December for Christmas and reopen on 2nd January 2014. Phew!


National Youth Orchestra of Wales on tour to Germany

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

DSC05751 resizedRebecca Abbott, from OneStage had the opportunity to see her arrangements in action as she accompanied one of the UK’s most talented youth orchestras on their tour to Germany. Becky is one of our German speakers and a wonderful singer! There were 115 students from the National Youth Orchestra of Wales on tour in three coaches, performing in various venues in Berlin and Leipzig. Read on for a day by day synopsis of their tour.

National Youth Orchestra of Wales Tour

By Rebecca Abbott, Tour Operator & Tour Manager for OneStage

5th – 12th August 2013

Monday 5th August
A total of three coaches headed to Dover port for the ferry crossing to Calais for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales (NYOW) tour to Berlin & Leipzig, Germany.
I met the coaches in Dover, where the atmosphere on board was lively and excitable with plenty of singing. The coach made good time and we managed to get an earlier ferry, which meant that we reached the hostel ahead of schedule. On reaching the hostel, the keys were ready for distribution. After dinner, it was time for bed, a good sleep required ahead of the next day’s travel.

Tuesday 6th August
After a full day of travelling we were all very tired but in good spirits as we reached our AO hostel Hauptbahnhof in Berlin. We arrived in time for a buffet for three coach loads of tired, hungry musicians. The hostel allocated armbands to the over 18’s which meant that they could independently visit the bar. Everybody thought that this was a good system.

DSC05774 resizedWednesday 7th August
In the morning, our explorations of Berlin began with a visit to the iconic Brandenburg gate with independent sightseeing of this fantastic city. This was a great start to what would be a successful day all round. Next stop was a rehearsal at this evening’s concert venue, Brandenburg Cathedral. What an amazing venue! The cathedral was packed full with an enthusiastic appreciative audience. NYOW performed a sensational concert, so much so that there was standing ovation at the end accompanied by constant applause. A great start to the tour. A post-concert meal was served in a local restaurant and everybody was buzzing from the atmosphere lovely comments that they received.

Thursday 8th August
The performers enjoyed a relaxing morning, with most students determined to take the opportunity to explore the main sights and museums of Berlin. Today’s concert was to take place at the Konzerthaus in Berlin which was part of the Young Euros Classic’s Festival, to which the orchestra had received a special invitation to come and play. Another outstanding concert in Berlin!

Friday 9th August
Goodbye Berlin….and Hello Leipzig! The journey took its allotted 2.5 hours, with a meal at the hotel ready on arrival. Today’s concert was to take place in a marquee at the remarkable Altenburg Castle, as part of the Opening Night of their summer concert series. Sadly, the weather was not on our side, but fortunately, the orchestra and the audience were protected from the rain. The musicians enjoyed a barbecue after their rehearsal, just as the sun made a welcome appearance. The concert was well attended and the orchestra were invited to stay for drinks to celebrate the tour and enjoy some social time.

Saturday 10th August
After breakfast, there was free time to see the highlights of Leipzig; the Thomaskirche, the Bach Monument, Mendelssohn’s House, the Bach Museum, the Grassi Museum and the atmospheric cellar style restaurants….and of course, fantastic shopping streets!
Then the orchestra set off to play in the MDR festival (Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk, a German radio station) in Wermsdorf. Sadly, the weather was not on our side, and the talented, young players kept the audience entertained whilst the rain poured down outside. A wet, soggy evening was wrapped up with some drinks in the bar on the final night in Germany.

Sunday 11th August
An early morning start saw us back on the road, with Antwerp set as our final tour stop. After a week’s worth of practising checking in to various hostels and hotels, it was becoming second nature to the orchestra. After dinner, the orchestra had time to explore the pretty, historic centre of Antwerp.

Monday 12th August
We had a prompt departure from Antwerp and arrived in Calais in time to catch an earlier ferry. This was appreciated all round as the orchestra were now all ready to go home after a very exciting and fun tour. Once in Dover, I said my goodbyes to everyone whilst the orchestra continued to Cardiff where their journey and the tour ended.

Eve’s tour managing experiences in the South of France

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

IMG_0500 resizedOne of the best parts of being a music tour operator is to see the arrangements that you have set up in place live on tour. We encourage all of our team to join at least a couple of groups on tour each year, the experience is invaluable for our creativity and exploring the intricate details involved in planning every single tour. It is also fulfilling and exciting watching our groups enjoying attractions and concerts that have been planned for them.
This year, Eve (one of our French & Italian speakers, clarinettist & baritone horn player) joined The American School in London on a tour to Leuven, Wood Green Junior School on their tour to Normandy and Kirklees Youth Orchestra in Provence. You can find out a little bit about her tour managing experiences in the South of France:

“There were so many to choose from that everyone each had their own favourite moment of the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra tour to Provence this summer. For some, it was finding themselves at a rehearsal in an abbey atop a mountain, wondering why anyone would schedule a concert in such a remote place, only to walk out on stage before a huge audience. Others enjoyed exploring new cities, kayaking through the countryside or sampling local treats. My personal highlight was seeing the audience in a packed Saint Maximin Town Square so appreciative that they applauded for encore after encore and still wanted to hear more!”

Warwickshire County Music Service tour to Belgium

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

20130801_warwickshireWarwickshire County Music Service took some of their musicians on tour to Belgium this summer, to perform in some of our favourite places in Wallonia:

Diane Slater reports:

“I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful tour to Belgium enjoyed by CMS pupils and staff. Everything was perfect including the weather!”

Click here to view the article in The Bulletin:

And of course, special thanks to the Wonderful Belgium Tourist Office, Brussels & Wallonia for their assistance with advertising our concerts on their facebook site:

Tour to Normandy with Wood Green School Junior Choir

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

IMG_0444 (2)Our colleage Eve just returned from a tour to Normandy with Wood Green School Junior Choir from Oxford, and told us all about her experiences:

“Sleepy as they may have been after a very early start, the choir were lively and excited by the time we reached Dover for a very smooth crossing. Cries of “we’re in France!” were to be heard at the sight of a man wearing a beret when the we got of the coach for a stop en route to the accommodation. For some, it was their first time overseas. We slept well that night in our French countryside manor.

The next morning, after learning that the French don’t use a plate for their bread and they drink tea from a bowl, we headed into Caen town centre for a joint rehearsal with the local choir. The rain had been pouring down during rehearsal but with a stroke of luck it brightened up just in time for us to explore Caen and find some lunch. We then paid a quick visit to the castle, built by William the Conqueror, to enjoy the views.

In the afternoon we went to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor retirement home for our first concert.  The choir were pleased to see a picture of their own faces singing out on a poster advertising the event. The concert was part of a birthday party for all of the residents born that month, so the choir ended their set with “joyeux anniversaire”. The residents reciprocated by delighting us with a rendition of a traditional Normandy song.

Afterwards, we headed off to the pool to let off some steam by splashing about, plunging down the slide and playing ball. Then we headed up to the seaside town of Courseuilles-sur-Mer for some dinner. Our restaurant had a fantastic view of the sea and we watched the sun go down while eating crêpes for dessert.

Sunny Sunday started with a rehearsal session in the morning, followed by a fun filled trip to Festyland. The singers braved the roller coasters and rides whilst trying not to scream in order to save their voices for that night’s concert!

They sang to an appreciative audience at their joint concert with the local choir. The highlight of the evening being  “you raise me up” with eighty voices, rounded up with a meal in a restaurant just round the corner, tasting some traditional French recipes.

Monday morning came and it was time to leave the accommodation. But beforehand the choir gave a bonus performance of one of their favourite pieces to the hostel staff. Next we hit the road in the direction of Calais for the final performance of the tour.

Singing in a shopping centre was very different to the other venues and it brought new challenges. The choir sang well and aroused the curiosity of  many passers-by who stopped to listen.

The final treat of the tour was a game of bowling followed by free time to go shopping. We had an awards ceremony on the coach while waiting for the ferry before crossing the channel worn out but happy after a musical long weekend.”

OneStage eagerly awaits 2013 MMA conference

Friday, May 17th, 2013

image2OneStage is set up ready and eagerly awaits the start of the 2013 MMA conference in Canterbury this weekend.

We look forward to meeting existing and future clients, launching our new website and inviting everyone to find out how our concert arrangements are the key to a successful tour.

If you can’t be here this weekend and would like Julian or Sonia to come and visit you, to discuss touring arrangements, then please contact us via the enquiry form on our website.

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