The city of Montreux partnered with Swiss Hotel Management School to host the celebration of the year. Together they commemorated the city being honored as a UNESCO Creative City of Music.
In the heart of the Swiss Riviera, Montreux, renowned for its rich musical tapestry, recently marked a significant milestone in its cultural history. The city, now honored as a UNESCO Creative City of Music, celebrated this prestigious recognition with a glamorous apéro dînatoire and a concert, Emergences Musicales, at the historic Caux Palace, an event hosted by Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS). This grand affair not only underscored Montreux's artistic legacy but also highlighted the city's commitment to fostering cultural diversity and education.
The City of Montreux's response to joining UNESCO's Creative Cities Network was one of pride, ambition, and a week-long celebration. The municipality aims to leverage Montreux's musical heritage for urban development and integration. Their action plan focuses on making music a vector for diverse year-round cultural experiences, emphasizing sustainable and inclusive urban growth.
The designation of Montreux as a UNESCO Creative City is a tribute to its profound musical heritage. Home to the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival and a myriad of cultural events, the city has long been a melting pot of artistic expression. Pierre Smets, administrator of la Saison Culturelle de Montreux and producer of Emergences Musicales, reflected on this achievement with a sense of pride and responsibility, emphasizing the need to use this honor not just to celebrate the past but to be a catalyst for current societal progress, fostering connections through music and supporting emerging talents.
Being named as a UNESCO City of Music is a recognition of the prestigious history that has seen Montreux bring together the greatest artists from all styles of music.
The choice of Caux Palace for the celebration was strategic and symbolic. As an integral part of the Montreux landscape since the 20th century, Caux Palace stands on the mountainside as a testament to the city's rich history and cultural significance. It offered the event a harmonious blend of historic grandeur and contemporary vibrancy representative of Montreux's artistic scene. Mr. Smets, reflecting on the choice of venue, highlighted the collaborative spirit that marked the occasion. "The choice of Caux Palace was motivated by the conviction of a great opportunity: to create a partnership between the owner of a special place, the tenant– which is a successful hotel school recognized at the highest level, and an institution, La Saison Culturelle de Montreux, whose mission includes offering local cultural activities," Mr. Smets stated. This synergy, he believed, was pivotal in crafting an event that was not only attractive but also useful and accessible to a broader public, showcasing the united cultural front of Montreux.
We were convinced that by joining forces, we could offer an event that was attractive, useful, and accessible to the public.
One of the highlights of the event was the involvement of SHMS students, who were not only responsible for the intimate VIP aperitif on concert nights throughout the preceding week but also managed and delivered a 5-star experience to 360 guests at the official UNESCO celebration Saturday night. Their professionalism and enthusiasm left a lasting impression on attendees, including Mr. Smets, who commended them for delivering a top-quality performance. "They can be proud of themselves," he remarked, acknowledging their contribution to the event's success. He went on to affirm that the students should take pride in their accomplishments, as they consistently delivered top-quality service that touched all the guests. Their performance, as Mr. Smets highlighted, was a testament to the quality education of SHMS that evidently prepares their students by bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application.
Looking ahead, Mr. Smets expressed interest in future collaboration with SHMS and Caux Palace. His willingness to foster such partnerships reflects a broader vision of cultivating cultural richness and educational excellence in Montreux. "If SHMS still wants La Saison Culturelle, yes, we would work together again with pleasure!" Mr. Smets stated, highlighting the potential for future events at Caux Palace.
Dr. Dominic Szambowski, Dean of Swiss Hotel Management School, has been instrumental in fostering an educational environment where practical experience and academic rigor coalesce. Under his stewardship, SHMS welcomes opportunities to bring real-life challenges to the forefront of its curriculum, ensuring that students are not just academically proficient but also adept in practical, real-world scenarios.
When asked about SHMS hosting events for external organizations, Dr. Szambowski emphasized the school's openness to such collaborations, provided they align with the school's established educational outcomes. This strategic approach ensures that any external event SHMS engages in compliments the intended curriculum outcomes. The rigorous preparation and sign-off process underscore SHMS's commitment to maintaining high academic quality and a relevant student learning experience.
SHMS is always open for real-life challenges for our students as they offer an extra edge to perform and deliver.
Dr. Szambowski also highlighted the significance of this event, noting that it was an honor to host this special occasion and to have the opportunity to support the local community and embrace regional pride. He expressed enthusiastically, "We will always be happy to help out – being an active participant of Caux-sur-Montreux and the greater Canton of Vaud is a mission and a privilege for the school."
Reflecting on the collaboration with Fondation de la Saison and the students' performance during the event, Dr. Szambowski praised their efforts and execution. Despite initial nerves, the students were well-prepared and delivered a successful event. This experience, Dr. Szambowski noted, is invaluable for students as it provides them with a taste of high-level event management and the dynamics of working with established cultural institutions.
Swiss Hotel Management School, through its involvement in this event, reinforced its reputation as a leading institution in hospitality education. The school's approach to integrating practical experiences with academic learning was on full display during the event. Students' involvement in managing the VIP aperitif and Saturday night’s overall event coordination highlighted their professionalism and the high-quality education they receive at SHMS.
The celebration at Caux Palace was more than just an event; it was a confluence of culture, education, and community engagement. It served as a testament to Montreux's rich musical heritage and its ongoing commitment to fostering cultural diversity, integration, and sustainability. The successful collaboration between SHMS, the Caux Foundation, La Saison Culturelle de Montreux, and the City of Montreux paves the way for future endeavors that will continue to elevate Montreux's status as a UNESCO City of Music and the reputation of SHMS as a very competent host. As Montreux embarks on this new chapter, it stands poised to blend its historical legacy with a vibrant, forward-looking cultural agenda, creating a symphony of experiences that resonate well beyond its borders. Swiss Education Group is proud to participate and support Montreux in its objectives and offering real-world opportunities to our students in their host community.