Posted by: Abby Rhodes | March 9, 2010

Brazil tour brings back memories for Scherer and Smith

Many first-time international travelers might feel anxious about a language barrier, the immigration process, or how to avoid committing social snafus in a different culture.  For Geneseo Band Director Steve Scherer, however, it’s the prospect of eating some thirty meals in a foreign country that has him flipping through his Portuguese language guide, eager to determine what to expect of typical Brazilian fare.  One traveler who wouldn’t be surprised to hear what’s occupying Scherer’s pre-trip thoughts is Cassandra Smith, one of his former students who remembers food being a hot topic every time the Geneseo band hit the road.

Geneseo High School Band Director Steve Scherer and former student Cassandra Smith

“One thing he always said was, ‘It’s all about eating.’ That was his phrase and, to me, it wasn’t just about food. It was a way of getting the band excited. Just like Dr. Fansler, he made sure we were safe and that we were having a lot of fun,” Smith said.

The Brazil trip will be something like déjà vu for Scherer and Smith, who have been on band trips together twice before, but never to a foreign country. In fact, the Brazil tour will be Scherer’s first time traveling internationally and he realizes that in some ways, he and Smith will both be students on this journey. Sure, he’s looking forward to learning about local cuisine, but he’s also developing strategies to make sure his current students glean something from his opportunity. Through this blog, the Geneseo High School band will follow Scherer and the WIU Wind Ensemble as they travel through Brazil.  When he returns, he will share his deeper appreciation of Afro-Brazilian music in his own rehearsals.

Smith said she remembers her high school director emphasizing the importance of varied musical experiences, and fostering a learning environment that encouraged personal challenge. “I felt like Mr. Scherer pushed the band farther than some of the students probably thought they could go,” Smith said.

Now Scherer is taking himself farther from Geneseo than he’s ever been before, and the experience is sure to challenge him both musically and professionally, but let’s hope not gastronomically.



  1. oh of course mr scherer would research his food before he left…have fun, enjoy it (the food…and the whole trip) and try something new!! good luck with the language!

  2. ahhhh! yes it’s all about the eatin’. i definately agree with what she said about talking about eating would make any average high schooler a lot more excited or happy on trips. I never thought of the trip this way, Mr. Scherer’s a student now too, holy cows! 😀

  3. It’s All ‘Bout The Eatin’! =] ❤ Have fun Mr. Scherer. It's always good to make sure you know what your eating before you eat it.

  4. Steve and Cassandra,

    I am happy you are excited about the different types of food you will the opportunity to try in Brazil.

    I think you’re going to LOVE the food here in Brazil. We have many unique tastes such as pão de queijo (cheese rolls that more or less the national snack of Brazil); other fun foods like coxinhas, empadas and pastels; churrasco (grilled) beef, pork, chicken etc.; seafood; incredible fruits and vegetables; wonderful coffees / expressos; exotic pizzas cooked in wood buring ovens; marvelous (and huge) cakes and desserts; and so much more.

    I encourage you to go to this url for a short overview of Brazilian foods and beverages —

    Finally, you and the other members of the WIU Wind Ensemble Tour don’t need to worry. If, for some strange reason, Brazilian foods don’t satisfy your taste buds, we also have McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, Outback Steakhouse and other US restaurants if you happen to get hungry / homesick for more familiar tastes from the US.

    My wife Nilsi and I are looking forward to meeting all of you when you arrive in Salvador, Bahia on Saturday.

    Doug Adair, WIU Class of 1976
    Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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