2020 International Performance Tour

Australia & New Zealand

My favorite part of BMB was going on the International trip to Southeast Asia, especially Phuket, with the band and getting to experience new cultures and places with my friends.
— Vanessa Larson - Mellophone Section Leader

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The BMB takes a major international performance tour every other year (even numbered years.)  Our trips are never the typical band trip to a common location which lasts for about 10 days.  Instead, we push the envelope and explore exotic places that most people aren't likely to visit more than once in their lives. Our tours typically last 14-19 days. Our most recent trip was to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bali in January 2018.  Our upcoming trip, scheduled for January 2020 is a 20-day adventure to Australia and New Zealand. 

One of the ways we keep our price so affordable is by performing on cruise ships.  Cruising not only lowers the cost per day and allows you to see a higher number of locations, it also ensures that your meals are covered.  BMB has a unique relationship with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines and we are fortunate to get some great deals to perform on board the ship.

You can count on this being one of the most enjoyable and most exciting trips ever taken by the BMB.

Traveling internationally with the BMB is a little different from what you may have experienced traveling with other bands or choirs.  The number of destinations and sites you'll visit is staggering.  You'll have a lot of free time to explore these sites on your own.  You will be given information and prepped on each port of call but you will be basically free at each port to explore the location with your friends.  Unlike the Bali trip the Australia trip will not have any built in excursions. You’ll have almost the entire time to explore on your own. The one possible excursion that BMB may try to coordinate is at the port of Tauranga, New Zealand. Tauranga is closest port to the Lord of the Rings set locations (Hobbiton). The ship’s excursions to this location sell-out very quickly as do excursions from local vendors. For this reason we may look into the possibility of hiring buses and coordinating our own optional day trip from Tauranga to the Hobbiton (45 miles) on January 26th.


The length of the trip is 20 days, departing from Eau Claire on January 12 and returning on January 31. Classes begin on February 3 so we will still have a couple of days to recover before classes begin.  The cruise dates are January 18-30.


The total price of the trip is finally set. Most students will choose the basic, quad package at a cost of $3,455.  The trip package includes airfare, ground transportation, all cruise costs, hotel, and most meals.   It also takes care of all of extra costs such as shipping our equipment, transportation to the airport, taxes, port charges, and gratuities.   

We have 422 airline seats. Although we have more than 422 travelers, some adult guests have already volunteered to make their own flight arrangements so we can accommodate everyone else on the group flights. We do not need any additional volunteers. Students, you should NOT attempt to make your own arrangements. You need to be a part of the group. Adult guests who make their own flight plans can subtract $1,550 from the price schedule below. If you are one of the guests making your own flight arrangements be sure that your flight schedule coordinates with the BMB trip/cruise schedule. You should have already received an email from Dr. Dickerson detailing those parameters.

We have blocks of airline seats on three airlines: American (99 seats), Delta (73 seats), and United/Air New Zealand (250 seats.) The United/Air New Zealand seats are divided into five separate plans, many of which share individual legs. I know that many of you will have a preference as to which flight plan you are on. At this point the plan is too complicated to begin taking requests for airline preferences BUT you will have the opportunity to sign up for flight plans in September. This will allow you to fly with your friends.

***All flights depart from the USA on January 12th (various times) and arrive on the morning of January 14th between 8 AM and 12:30 PM.)

***Six flights depart from Australia on January 30th (after 11:45 AM) and arrive in MSP either the night of January 30th or the morning of January 31st.
***One flight departs from Australia on January 31st (11:15 AM) and arrives in Chicago on the evening of January 31st.

A few people will have the option of remaining in Sydney for one additional day after the cruise. This is the result of a flight scheduling problem. This will involve 99 travelers and the flight will depart from Chicago, not Minneapolis. We will arrange your extra hotel night and transportation. This will give you an extra 24 hours in Sydney BUT it will cost a bit extra. At this point we are not sure how much … probably in the neighborhood of $110. It is something to keep in mind but we are NOT asking for volunteers yet.

Inside Cabin 
Quad - $3,455 pp 
Triple - $3,555 pp 
Double - $3,675 pp 
Single - $4,658 pp 
Quad - $3,685 pp 
Triple - $3,769 pp 
Double - $3,919 pp 
Single - $4,898 pp 
Double - $4,245 pp 
Single - $5,399 pp

Inside Cabin 
Quad - $3,755 pp 
Triple - $3,855 pp 
Double - $3,975 pp 
Single - $4,958 pp 
Quad - $3,985 pp 
Triple - $4,069 pp 
Double - $4,219 pp 
Single - $5,198 pp 
Double - $4,545 pp 
Single - $5,699 pp 


Payments will be collected by Blugold Central through US mail or in person. There will be four payments (August, September, October, and November) for which you’ll need to use a payment coupon. The payment coupons will be available later on this website. Payments must be in the amount of the coupons. Partial payments will not be accepted. The four payments will equal $3,455, which is the basic student rate. There will be one additional payment in December for anyone who owes more than the student rate.
August 1 $875 (with coupon to Blugold Central) (paid to date $875)
September 1 $860 (with coupon to Blugold Central) (paid to date $1735)
October 1 $860 (with coupon to Blugold Central) (paid to date $2595)
November 1 $860 (with coupon to Blugold Central) (paid to date $3455)
December 1 Remaining Balance if any (write in amount)

If you want to pay off your entire trip at once you can print all four trip coupons and mail them in together. Blugold Central will not process partial payments or payments in other amounts than stated on the coupon. Odd amounts or checks without coupons may not be credited to your BMB trip account.


If you purchased your own plane ticket, your price will be reduced by $1550. Pay August and September with the coupons above. This will give you a credit of $1735. Skip the October and November payments. Subtract $1550 and $1735 from your plan (above) and mail a check for the balance directly to the Music Dept in December.


You may receive academic credit for participating in the trip.  The course is MUSI 290, Music And Culture Abroad, offered Spring 2020. Registering for the trip course is optional.  To complete the course you will have to attend 5 informational seminars and write a reflective statement after the trip.  Registering for the course may also allow you to apply for financial aid to help you pay for the trip.


Australia and New Zealand are in the southern hemisphere, so January is mid-summer.  While this will be primarily a warm weather vacation the temperature will be quite varied in different locations.  The average daily high in Sydney (January) is 78 degrees.  However, this trip will also take us to the southernmost point of New Zealand where the weather is considerably cooler.  At that point we will be only 3,000 miles from the edge of Antarctica.  This part of the trip will be similar to an Alaskan cruise or a cruise of the Norwegian fjords.  The scenery is spectacular and the average daily high temperature is only 59 degrees.  For reference search Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Doubtful Sound.


Eau Claire          high 22 low 4
Sydney                high 78 low 66
Auckland             high 74 low 61
Dunedin              high 63 low 54
Milford Sound    high 59 low 41


We will perform twice in Sydney and six times on board the ship.  We have requested permission to play on the grounds of the Sydney Opera House. Due to the size of the band we will split the band into three groups for the ship performances, with each group performing two concerts. The entire band will perform at the Opera House shows. Large equipment (drum line, sousaphones, baritones, tenor saxes) will not be carried on the airlines.  It will be shipped in advance and will arrive in Sydney before we do. The current instrumentation is: 3 Conductors, 36 Piccolos, 45 Clarinets, 34 Alto Saxes, 9 Tenor Saxes, 51 Trumpets, 18 Mellophones, 38 Trombones, 12 Baritones, 14 Sousaphones, and 25 in the Drumline.  

Link to our cruise on the Royal Caribbean site


Jan 12—Leave Eau Claire. Flights depart from MSP & ORD
Jan 13—Lost day due to international date line (change planes)
Jan 14—Arrive in Sydney in the morning, free afternoon
Jan 15—Free day in Sydney
Jan 16—Free day in Sydney
Jan 17—Free morning in Sydney, Two BMB concerts at Sydney Opera House
Jan 18—Board Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas
Jan 19—Day at Sea
Jan 20—Day at Sea (two concerts)
Jan 21—Cruise Milford Sound, Dusky Sound & Doubtful Sound
Jan 22—Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand
Jan 23—Akaroa, New Zealand (Christchurch)
Jan 24—Day at Sea ( two concerts)
Jan 25—Auckland, New Zealand
Jan 26—Tauranga, New Zealand
Jan 27—Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Jan 28—Day at Sea (two concerts)
Jan 29—Day at Sea
Jan 30—Arrive in Sydney, Australia
Flight departure
Jan 31—Arrive in USA

Where has the BMB been?

London, England
Paris, France
Barcelona, Spain
Palma, Mallorca
Palermo, Sicily
Cagliari, Italy
Naples, Italy
Rome, Italy
Florence, Italy
Milan, Italy
Venice, Italy
Athens, Greece
Olympia, Greece
Izmir, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Haifa, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel
Tokyo, Japan
Shanghai, China
Singapore, Singapore
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Penang, Malaysia
Langkawi, Malaysia
Phuket, Thailand
Bali, Indonesia
St. Louis, Missouri
Chicago, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Minneapolis, Minnesota