The Director’s Chair: A Super Holiday Story – Dominick Caronna
Dominick Caronna has years of history in teaching, traveling and performing.
Head band director at Brother Martin High School since 2011, Caronna has seen the New Orleans school’s band through a whole lot, especially since he was a student at the school in the early ‘80s.
He’s since won the Louisiana Music Educator’s Association Band Director of the Year award, as well as the school’s Brother More Schaefer Award, and more.
We talked with Caronna about why he loves performing and traveling, and how Super Holiday helps him do so.
Tell us a bit about your history working in education, and what’s your position now?
I’ve had the honor of working with two amazing directors in Marty Hurley (as assistant and high school student) and Arthur Hardy (as a high school student) and benefited greatly by their mentorship and example! The Brother Martin High School Band Program exists in many ways due to their lead since the 1980s. As a matter of fact, these men were clients of Super Holiday Tours since way back then, and the band has been happy with SHT services to this day! We would not dream of getting another tour company! We have portraits of the Crusader Band taken at hotels, and in front of EPCOT, for example, with the Super Holiday Tours logo in frame. Everyone in the picture is happy and having a great time.
What do you value about student travel?
Our students look forward to these trips that we take every other year. Not only do they have a great time together, but they take more responsibility as leaders organizing, facilitating and inspiring the younger bandsmen to make the Band successful when THEY become leaders! This is critical for our longevity as a Band Program. When talking with prospective band students, the trips we take are highly discussed as a motivating component in their potential experience. It gives me great pride to see our guys arrive bright and early on the morning of our departure and jump right into loading the buses, settling in the young students, and just exuding confidence and excitement! Leading up to the trip, beginning in August, we all have fun talking about the trip, making plans, and telling each other what rides we plan on experiencing or what restaurants have the best food! These are the things I look forward to most.
How did Super Holiday help with your latest trip?
It is exciting to contact Super Holiday for the first time on a travel year and receive our first rough itinerary. I always know that the information will be current and presented in a clear way. Speaking to our representative, Jennifer, always makes me feel comfortable and confident that everything will go great! During our 2022 trip to Walt Disney World, Jennifer and the SHT team put together a fine itinerary and supported us during every phone call and email question that I burdened them with. As everyone knows, Disney has created many changes due to the Pandemic in terms of group trips. Everything from Park Reservations to the MyExperience app was explained by Jennifer complete with visual aids and text explanations. Even on weekends she would answer my questions quickly and completely!
Tell us all about the recent Orlando trip! What’s a highlight or two?
During our 2022 trip, Jennifer supported us from day one, appearing at our Disney hotel, walking us through the responsibilities, giving out keys, and calmly guiding the Band to its lodgings! It was always fun to see her walk up and spend some time chatting. I do believe that every representative of SHT that we have had since the 1980’s has been a friend, a professional we rely on, and a memorable personality — in short, a ROCK STAR! We have relied on their personal attention, frequent communications, and knowledge to enable our Band kids to take another successful Crusader Band Trip!
Any final advice for educators, or anything you’ve learned over the years?
As mentioned before, the opportunity to travel has always inspired our students to be leaders. From the mundane loading of the buses, the early morning departures, the high expectations of good behavior, and the responsibility to represent our school as gentlemen — it’s all served to inspire growth and great memories! To march down Main Street U.S.A. performing the Brother Martin Fight Song for our parents and international crowds in that exciting setting is nothing short of amazing. We can’t wait to contact SHT to plan our next trip!