DAY 1 | FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021Depart Chicago O’Hare at 8:20am on American Airlines flight #395 to San Juan. Arrive in San Juan at 2:59pm. Welcome to the Spanish-colonial capital of Puerto Rico on the Caribbean coast. Meet your Music Contact International tour manager and travel by private motor coach to your hotel in the Ponce area (approximately two hours from San Juan). The colonial city of Ponce is the second largest city of Puerto Rico and is famed for its Criollo architecture. The city is filled with buildings donning a Latin flare. Tonight, choirs gather for the Discover Puerto Rico Choral Festival opening ceremony, which includes wonderful performances by local Puerto Rican musicians and welcoming words from representatives of the host city of Ponce. After the presentation, you’ll be treated to a lovely dinner and have an opportunity to mingle with your fellow attendees. Following dinner, return to your hotel.
DAY 2 | SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 2021
This morning, following breakfast at the hotel, participate in a workshop where you’ll learn from locals about Puerto Rican music, including traditional genres such as Bomba and Plena, and how important the relationship between drumming and dancing is in these musical styles.
After, gather your choir to rehearse the festival theme song, which will be performed in a massed sing during the festival’s closing ceremony.
Tonight, the McFarland High School A Cappella Choir will participate in a friendship concert*. You’ll be matched with a choir from Puerto Rico and will spend the evening performing for and socializing with each other.
Dinner will be provided by your host choir.
DAY 3 | SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2021
After breakfast at the hotel, there will be an optional opportunity to perform during a morning worship service in one of Ponce’s beautiful churches*.
The afternoon is free to enjoy shopping in town or spend some time exploring the beach.
This evening, the Discover Puerto Rico Choral Festival closing ceremony will include all festival choirs gathered together at the newly renovated Teatro La Perla to perform for the people of Ponce!
In the beautiful venue of Teatro La Perla, choirs will perform short individual programs followed by the massed sing of the festival song. All participating choirs will join voices and, along with the accompaniment of the Ponce Municipal Band, perform the theme song of the festival composed by Puerto Rican composer and co-artistic director of the Discover Puerto Rico Choral Festival, Mr. Rubén Colón Tarrats.
Afterwards, enjoy a farewell reception with all participating choirs.
DAY 4 | MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2021
Following breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to San Juan.
Upon arrival, a sightseeing tour of San Juan can be arranged. Tour La Fortaleza, the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, or take a walk through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and enjoy a visit to El Morro, the 15th-century Spanish fort at the mouth of San Juan Harbor.
Afterward, participate in an afternoon of service for a local community project*.
Later, transfer to your hotel in the Condado neighborhood and check in.
The evening is yours to continue exploring Old San Juan. Dinner is on your own; your tour manager will be happy to make suggestions.
DAY 5 | TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2021
This morning, enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for the Free School of Music in San Juan, where the McFarland High School A Capella Choir will perform a friendship concert*.
Following the concert, take time to socialize with the students before transferring to an outlet mall to enjoy lunch of your own choosing at the food court.
The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your leisure.This evening, a festive farewell dinner will be arranged for your group in Fajardo. After dinner, head to Las Croabas Lagoon and experience a guided Bioluminescent Bay kayaking tour. Paddle your way through the mangroves to Laguna Grande where you will find pyrodinium bahamense, microscopic plankton that produce light at the touch of your hand. The bio bays in Puerto Rico are a natural phenomenon and one of the only places on earth where such fascinating conditions are found. This will be a magical end to a wonderful day!
Afterwards, return to your San Juan hotel for the night.
DAY 6 | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 2021
Following breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Cueva Ventana and Cueva del Indio. Cueva Ventana, “Window Cave”, is a large cave situated atop a limestone cliff in Arecibo. Its breathtaking views overlook the magnificent Río Grande de Arecibo valley. Cueva del Indio, “Indian Cave”, is a coral surface cave of rocky limestone carved out through the pounding sea overtime. View petroglyphs made by the extinct indigenous Taino people. Take advantage of the caves’ natural acoustics and sing an impromptu song.
Depart San Juan at 2:17pm on American Airlines flight #395 to Chicago O’Hare.
Arrive at Chicago O’Hare at 6:50pm.
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