Homestay Family Portal!

Dear Homestay Families,

 

Thank you for opening up your home and for providing a welcoming, nurturing family environment to our visiting singers for the 11th Golden Gate International Children’s and Youth Choral Festival from July 8 – 14, 2018! This amazing event could not be possible without your tremendous generosity. We hope that you will find this experience enriching and rewarding for all members of your family.

 

The Homestay Family Portal provides you with guidelines and information as you prepare for and host your visiting singers. Become acquainted with your role as a host: how to prepare before your singers arrive and what to do while they stay with you.  Reading and preparing for your visitors before their visit ensures they will feel comfortable and welcome and you will be more relaxed understanding the scope of your Homestay Host role. You will also be assigned a choir liaison when you get your visiting choir assignment to field any questions or concerns you might have as you prepare for and move through the Festival week.

 

Before Your Singers Arrive (a week or so before the Festival):
 

  • Review your visiting choir assignment email and print a hard copy to have with you during the Festival. In late May 2018, the GGF Homestay and Housing Team will send all homestay hosts email that share information about their visiting singers and their choir.  You will have details about your choir liaison, a GGF parent volunteer to field any questions or concerns you have during the Festival week; Festival schedules, a roster of all hosts hosting singers from the same visiting choir, etc.

  • Read about your choir’s home country and town and share what you have learned with your PEBCC children. Encourage your family to be familiar with the location and some cultural elements of their guests.

  • Prepare for your singers.

1.      Organize sleeping quarters and plan for meals and snacks before your singers arrive.

2.      You will be responsible for packing daily lunches.  Consider buying inexpensive reusable lunch boxes and water bottles for visiting singers to use during the week and to take home as a souvenir.  Please label the lunch boxes and water bottles with the singer’s name and choir name.

3.      Prepare and give your visiting singers an index card that contains the homestay hosts’ name, address and contact info for the singer to keep in their music binder while at the Festival.  Why? If they somehow get separated from their group or a pick up/drop off mix up ensues, the singers will have information to reunite with you.

4.      Be sure to print out schedules for your singers and highlight when they need to be ready for each morning and evening event so every is ready to leave on time and post them in the bedrooms and on your kitchen refrigerator.  You may even want to provide three morning times to ensure a timely departure: a wake up time, a breakfast time and a departure from house time to help your singers feel comfortable knowing time expectations.

5.      Be prepared to show visitors how to use the showers, baths and toilets;

6.      You may have to clarify things about singers with the visiting conductors (mostly about allergies). Email your liaison to help get information you seek.

 

  • Festival Schedules:  Visiting Singers Choir Rehearsals, Individual and Group Competitions, and Concerts (pdfs of all schedules will be available here in mid June):  Be sure to log all dates for when and where to pick up your singer from the moment you first meet them, throughout the week for rehearsals, competitions, and concerts; the Bay Cruise; and at the tail end of hosting when you drop them off for final departure with their choir.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Homestay Hosts:  You have read all of the details above and still have questions, no problem.  Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for Homestay Hosts to answer your questions.

 

If you have any pre-Festival questions about homestays, please contact Kelly Kirkpatrick, Homestay Coordinator at ggfhomestays@piedmontchoirs.org

 

Your Singers Arrival Day:

  • Your GGF Homestay Liaison will alert you a week or so before with details for pick up time and location.

  • Your guest sleeping quarters are ready and you kitchens are filled with food ready to nourish your singers. Today you will finally meet your chorister guests.

  • The day of arrival, be sure to have your devices on hand for any emails your liaison will send if there are any changes to the arrival time.

  • Be punctual when it’s time to pick up your singers.  Being present before the singers arrive shows you are excited and ready to welcome them for an incredible week.

  • You will form a line by your liaison who will help the tour guide or conductor match the visiting singers with the host families.  Thank you for your patience with this process.

  • At night, your liaison will check in with an email to see if you have any questions or concerns and to share a google group so you can mail other choir families about sightseeing or dinner plans throughout the week.

  • Remember to refer to the goldengatefestival.org website frequently for updates and to ensure their visiting singer arrives to each location equipped with bagged lunch and drink, choir binder and outfit/uniform/costume throughout the Festival.

 

During the Festival Week:

Homestay families provide housing for their guests, transportation to and from all rehearsals and Festival events, meals, and (most especially) a welcoming home atmosphere.

  • Be informed and stay on top of any schedule changes:  Remember to refer to the schedules page on the website frequently for updates and to ensure their visiting singer arrives to each location equipped with bagged lunch and drink, choir binder and outfit/uniform/costume throughout the Festival.
     
  • Emergencies or Concerns: Each visiting choir will be assigned a PEBCC liaison, a parent volunteer. For any questions, concerns, or emergencies (there is always at least one costume emergency at every festival) that arise DURING the Festival, you will contact the assigned homestay liaison for your choir.
     
  • Festival Schedules:  Visiting Singers Choir Rehearsals, Individual and Group Competitions, and Concerts (pdfs of all schedules will be available here in mid June): Be sure to log all dates for when and where to pick up your singer from the moment you first meet them, throughout the week for rehearsals, competitions, the Bay Cruise, and concerts and at the tail end of hosting when you drop them off for final departure with their choir.

  • Daily Transportation & Schedules: From Monday – Saturday of the Festival week, you will drop your singers off for rehearsal between 8:30am and 9:00am, and retrieve them at 5:00pm (unless other arrangements have been made). During the festival day singers will have supervised free time in between rehearsals and concerts. Supervision is provided by conductors and group parents.

  • Evening Concerts: In addition to the daily rehearsals, your guest singers will require transportation to and from evening concerts. Individual choir schedules will be provided that detail drop-off and pick-up times, and locations. We do our best to pair PEBCC singers with guest singers who have similar concert schedules.

  • Meals: In addition to breakfast and dinner, host families should provide a daily bag lunch for their guests. All singers have full and long days and should have a hearty lunch packed for them, including fruits, vegetables protein, carbohydrates, and several bottles of water.

  • No lunch needed for Monday: Please note that you do NOT have to provide a bag lunch on Monday, July 9, because the Festival is hosting a Welcome Picnic. The Picnic starts at 12:15pm at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater, which is just a short walk from the Scottish Rite Center, site of the Opening Ceremonies. All homestay families are invited. If you would like to join the picnic, tickets will be available for purchase in the spring of 2018. You may also volunteer at the Welcome Picnic!

  • Other Key Dates To Remember:

BAY CRUISE (Friday, 7/13 2-5 pm) – Hosts will be expected to pick up their singers up at the end of this cruise in Jack London Square in Oakland (details to be provided on schedules). After the cruise, the singers will spend a free night with their host families.
 

FINAL DAY DEPARTURE FROM FESTIVAL/HOSTS: Singers join choir for departure and head home or to another festival (Sunday, 7/13) – Arrive 15-30 min before departure time to allow for enough time for a farewell and check in with the choir tour guide/conductor.
 

  • Free Time: While we do have a packed Festival week, families will have some free time to spend with their guests, and we encourage you to show them our beautiful Bay Area! These times will be indicated on the linked individual choir schedules. Feel free to reach out to each other to coordinate dinners, trips or for questions amongst the homestay families about activities they planned for sightseeing around the Bay Area. (“Our singers want to go to Bay Street in the evening, anyone else planning to be there?”, or “What is everyone planning for a quick dinner on Monday before the opening concert?").  Your liaisons will provide you with a google group with all families hosting visiting singers from the same choir to help you all communicate.
     
  • Complimentary Tickets: As a small token of our appreciation for opening your homes to visiting choirs, we will provide each host family with two complimentary general admission tickets to all ticketed concerts: Opening Ceremonies and Closing Ceremony. Details for how to redeem this gift can be found in the assignment email you received in late May 2018.
     
  • Have fun. Festival week is action packed and busy.  Have fun and take moments to connect with your visitors getting to know them and helping them learn more about life in the Bay Area.  Do not forgot to exchange contact information so you can keep in touch for years to come.
     
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Homestay Hosts:  You have read all of the details above and still have questions, no problem.  Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for Homestay Hosts or reach out to your choir liaison to answer your questions.

 

Again, thank you for offering your home and hospitality to make the Festival experience something special for the choir members who are attending. Remember, there is a family waiting somewhere in another state or country for YOUR child to visit!

 

All the best,

 

Alice Del Simone

2018 Golden Gate Festival Manager