This article is a review of Classical Movements, a concert tour company based in Alexandria, Virginia. Classical Movements is a concert tour company that organizes tours for orchestras, choirs, and other musical groups.
My daughter’s violin teacher recently hired Classical Movements to set up a tour of Italy for her studio.
What Classical Movements did for our group was less of a tour and more of a TRAIN WRECK.
Here’s a quick summary of what went wrong with the Classical Movements arrangement for our group.
- Our instruments were stolen from the bus: Most of our instruments were stolen when the bus company that was hired to take the group around Italy allowed a group of thieves to ransack the bus and make off with about $50,000 worth of our instruments, including my daughter’s violin, which cost us over $14,000, and which had significant sentimental value to her.
- Leaving people behind: More than once, the tour guide (a shady fellow named Luigi) decided he would leave the hotel or other gathering place early. He repeatedly left people from the group behind, including the instructor who organized the tour.
- Issues with venues: At the last venue where we performed, the stage director was incompetent, walking out during the performance and trying to troubleshoot microphone and amplifier issues while making the performers look silly and distracted.
- Audiences were pathetic: Part of the fee we paid to Classical Movements was supposed to go towards marketing so that the group would have large enough crowds to make it feel like an actual live performance. Instead, nearly the only people who attended were the parents of the Italian group we performed with. At the final performance, there were only about 50 people in attendance at a venue that seated more than a thousand.
- Poor time choice for performances: Each of our performances were scheduled for late at night, with the last one not starting until 9pm. This caused lots of problems and showed a clear lack of understanding by Classical Movements about how Italian society and life in general work.
- Always rushed: Each performance was rushed because of the deadline we were given with the tour bus and the venue
- Threats of being left: The bus driver and tour guide threatened on multiple occasions to leave the group behind if we didn’t finish the performance and board the bus on time. That environment created a panic both during the performance and immediately afterward, as parents and other leaders of the group had to rush to get instruments, clothing, and accessories packed and onto the bus so that we wouldn’t be left behind and have to find a different way back to our hotel, which in most cases was at least a half-hour away from the venue.
Classical Movements touts their history and experience as being a reason to use them to coordinate a tour for an orchestra, choir group, or other musical performing organization. What we experienced was truly amateur efforts and negligence.
After our instruments were stolen, Classical Movements did nothing to hold the bus company they hired accountable for leaving the instruments unattended in a section of Rome known for being a high theft area. In fact, the bus driver (who many of us are certain was involved in coordinating the theft) who decided to park the bus in an unsecured section of Rome outside of the Vatican, and who decided to leave the bus to go get some lunch while leaving it unlocked, was allowed to continue driving the bus for the group the rest of that day and the following day. Regardless of whether he was complicit with the theft of our instruments or simply was guilty of neglect, he should have been fired on the spot once it was determined what he had done.
If you want your group to have an uplifting experience touring another country or cooperating with other musical groups, I highly recommend steering clear of Classical Movements. The company lacks any kind of organization. I found out as I tried to get answers from them that they don’t even work in an office together. Each of their employees works from home instead. It feels a lot like a fly-by-night company trying to act like a legitimate organization.