February 28, 2018

Dear Scotland 2018 Tour Families,

We have many details to share but don't wish to bury the lead: the Scotland 2018 Tour is proceeding as planned!

This past month has allowed us to have many conversations with our Scottish counterparts and together, we have concluded we have enough in place to proceed with creating a summer 2018 festival experience for the groups who, like MYC, committed to AIYF before the February 1 decision. Knowing there are other youth arts organizations like us interested in performing and collaborating throughout NE Scotland this summer confirms our resolve to travel, even though it will not be as official participants of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. (More on this below.)

One detail that is still outstanding, and of which you need to be aware, is written confirmation from the University of Aberdeen that they will provide our meals and housing. We have verbal assurance from AIYF that the University is on board and we are just waiting to receive their official confirmation--hopefully by the end of this week. (Scotland has been hit with "The Beast from the East" -- a winter storm causing all manner of delays and work interruptions this week.) Because our tour budget hinges on the affordability of University housing, until we have written confirmation there is some risk--very low, in our view at this point--of tour cancellation. Again, we are hoping to have this confirmation in hand in the next few days (after they dig out).

So...there's not a Festival (AIYF) but there's a Festival?
AIYF will likely not be in existence this July when we arrive in Aberdeen. However, there is enough groundswell of support in Aberdeen to organize performances, workshops and collaborations with the international groups who have already committed to travel. So, yes, there will be activities that feel like an international youth festival in Aberdeen this summer, but not an official Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

This means our day to day activities will be very similar to what they have been during past Festivals--a good mix of performances, collaborations, workshops, and sightseeing. It also means that as in past tour years, our itinerary will not be set until this summer (and then still likely to change a bit once we are there!).

Our dates for travel, flights, and rehearsal schedule this summer have NOT changed.

What Will Be Different?
For boys who traveled in 2014, the main difference will be the absence of the opening ceremony, parade through city center, and the closing gala performance at His Majesty's Theatre.

While these may feel like "losses" for those who experienced them in 2014, we know there will be other experiences just as meaningful and memorable in 2018. We are especially excited to be part of the planning process and more involved in choosing and tailoring an itinerary to what we want to experience. This likely means planning more time in certain venues to really appreciate the history, architecture, and stories of the places we visit. This is a huge advantage and we're looking forward to having more latitude with our schedule for exploration and discovery.

What Happens Now?
We hope you share our enthusiasm for what's possible in Scotland this summer! We're excited to see this tour unfold and share it with our current roster of amazing singers.

Our air contract remains in place with KLM but our deadline for confirming our final number of seats is fast approaching. So, if your plans are in flux, you will want to make your final decision and communicate to MYC no later Friday, March 23. After that date, the airfare portion of your tour fee ($1,680) is still due and will not be refundable.

The deadline for finalizing and paying for a deviation is April 25, 2018. (No change.)

Tour Fees and Payment Schedule
Because we have been in a holding pattern for February, monthly tour payments will begin April 1 instead of March 1. You can expect to receive your tour statement by email within the next few days.

Tour fees will not increase nor decrease but remain at $3,200.

If you haven't already, please proceed with registering with Gateway, our travel vendor. You can review the instructions in the letter linked below.

Your patience during this month of wondering and waiting has not gone unnoticed--many thanks for giving us this time to consult and plan with our Scottish counterparts while digging further into our tour budget to ensure we are making the most informed decision possible for our singers and their families. We are confident this tour will proceed with the same level of excellence and enthusiasm as 2014 and 2016--thank you for trusting us to make that happen!

Your Bravehearts,
Mike, Lynn, Randy, and Margaret
Robert the Bruce, King of Scots 1306 - 1329 | Marischal College, Aberdeen