Yellow background and red text that reads Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Tour of Spain with an image of a red fan being held by a hand

In June 2025, CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra will embark on a 10-day concert tour of Spain. Musicians will perform at some of the most prestigious festivals and concert halls such as the Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza de Granada, Auditorio Miguel Delibes Valladolid, Teatro de la Maestranza Seville, and others. 

Students will also take part in sightseeing and guided tours of Europe’s most beautiful and iconic sites in Úbeda, an UNESCO World Heritage City, as well as in Granada, Seville, and Madrid. International touring provides students with an unparalleled educational and cultural experience, as well as memories and friendships to last a lifetime!

With a reputation for its large and appreciative music audiences, Spain has proven to be a wonderful destination for touring groups of all kinds. CYSO first visited Spain in 2012—check out photos from that trip here—and we look forward to returning in summer 2025.

A group of CYSO students pose on the beach in Spain. Maestro Tinkham lounges on his side in front.

Symphony Orchestra members—Click here to sign up for tour! 

TOUR FAQ

Who is eligible to go on tour?

All current Symphony Orchestra members enrolled in the 2024-2025 season are eligible. For the June 2025 tour only, seniors who graduated from the 2023-24 season are also welcome to sign up. 

What are the 2025 tour dates? 

The Spain tour will take place over a 10-day period, likely June 16  to June 25, 2025, exact departure and return dates to be confirmed. The 10-day itinerary will include 4 concerts across 4 cities in Spain, interspersed between guided tours and sightseeing activities. 

How much does the tour cost?

Tour fee is $5,250 per participant. A $750 deposit to secure your spot is due July 1, 2024. You may pay the remaining balance in full or follow the payment schedule below. Please note that all tour payments are non-refundable.

Payment schedule and due dates:
Deposit/Payment #1 – $750, due July 1, 2024
Payment #2 – $1,500, due September 1, 2024
Payment #3 – $1,500, due November 1, 2024
Payment #4 – $1,500, due February 1, 2025

Click here to sign up for tour.  

Should I purchase travel insurance?

While it is not mandatory, we strongly recommend that each tour participant purchases a travel protection plan for the duration of the tour to help protect you and your trip investment against the unexpected. CYSO’s tour partner Classical Movements recommends Travelex 360 Group Choice travel protection plan, but tour participants may purchase different plans according to individual preference. The protection plan provides coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss and delay, emergency medical expenses and evacuation and more.  

What support is there to help pay for the tour?

Financial assistance will be available, and applications must be submitted by July 1, 2024. However, we suggest submitting your application as soon as possible. Tour financial assistance will be applied toward the tour fee. Financial assistance will not cover travel insurance, meals not covered in the tour fee, and other personal expenses. 

We also encourage students to fundraise themselves to help cover expenses. This is a great way to increase visibility for your musical accomplishments and develop your entrepreneurial skills! CYSO will provide fundraising tips and support materials, as well as access to use CYSO’s GiveSmart fundraising platform for students to utilize.

More information about financial assistance and self-directed fundraising will be available in your Tour Information Packet.

Can parents also go on tour?  

Interested parents/guardians will have an opportunity to join the tour as chaperones! Chaperones travel with the orchestra, attend concerts, and participate in sightseeing activities. Chaperones are a vital factor in keeping a safe environment for all traveling students in the orchestra while also ensuring that everyone enjoys the tour. Student groups of 10-12 will each be led by 2 parent chaperones. CYSO offers a discounted rate for parent chaperones. More information about chaperone responsibilities, how to sign-up, and selection process will be available at the Tour Information Meeting on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (See below for meeting information.)

How will instruments be transported?

Harps, piano, percussion, and basses will be rented in Spain. Cellos, tubas, and trombones are required to have a flight case (not just a hardshell case like a BAM case), as those instruments will go in the cargo hold of airplanes. Several local shops have flight cases available for rent. All smaller instruments (including french horns), will be carry-on items that can fit in overhead compartments. 

Will visas be required to travel to Spain?

US passport holders:  

Visas are not required for US passport holders. If you hold a US passport, please refer to the following link for entry and exit rules for Spain: Travel.State.Gov – Spain 

Starting mid-2025 (exact date TBA), all US citizens may have to obtain an online document known as ETIAS before entering any of the EU/Schengen member countries. The estimated cost is 7 EUR and subject to change. CYSO will share more information as updates become available.  

Non-US passport holders: 

If you are not a US passport holder, you may need to obtain a visitor visa for entry into Spain. It is your responsibility to handle visa applications and ensure compliance with entry and exit requirements. Please communicate with the appropriate embassy or consulate to understand visa requirements and processing times. 

Passport Validity: 

All tour participants must ensure that their passports are valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay. For the upcoming tour ending on June 25, 2025, passports must be valid until December 25, 2025. Processing new passports can take up to several weeks, so it is essential to check expiration dates and initiate renewal or application processes immediately. Tour participants are solely responsible for obtaining or renewing their passport. CYSO cannot provide direct assistance for passport renewals. Passport information will be due to CYSO by August 9, 2024.

Will allergy/dietary requirements be accommodated?

Yes. CYSO will collect all information on individual allergy/dietary restrictions in advance of the tour. These will then be confirmed for every meal that CYSO provides during the tour. 

When is the Tour Information Meeting? 

The first information meeting will be on Sunday, June 9, 2024 at 3:00 PM on Zoom. The meeting link will be provided in the CYSO tour email. The meeting will be recorded for those who cannot attend that day. Additional information meetings will be scheduled in July, August and September for confirmed tour participants. 

I have more questions. Who can I contact? 

Please reach out to Natalie Zoia, CYSO Tour Assistant, at nzoia@cyso.org and Yoo-Jin Hong, Interim Chief Operating Officer, at yhong@cyso.org.  

We went on tour…and I remember being on stage. I am certain that it changed my life because I have never felt anything like that.

Anthony McGill, ’94

Performing on tour…encourages constant adjustment and adaptation… Not only are you experiencing the great concert halls and venues available abroad, you’re also learning a very important skill.

Cyril Wang, ’14

Touring with CYSO was the opportunity of a lifetime. I gained insight about new cultures, created friendships, and most importantly, I learned so much about myself. It’s still the greatest thing I’ve taken part in.

Camille Ancevicius, ’19
colorful Spanish tile

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