Music Department Takes on Disney
On March 15, a total of 91 students, 8 chaperones, and 4 directors from the music department left for a five day trip to the Disney World parks in Orlando, Florida, in order to attend music workshops.
This trip takes place every four years and is for students who participate in a music department organization, which includes band, marching band, color guard, orchestra, and chorus.
The trip cost students $875, and they were able to make payments in four increments throughout the school year.
Two coach buses transported students to Florida; they picked kids up outside the school directly after school on March 15 and departed at approximately 3:30 p.m.
During the 19 hour drive, there were a few stops to eat/stretch before arrival at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at approximately 11 a.m., which was the first stop on the trip.
Chaperones allowed students to spend the day however they wished at Animal Kingdom because there were no workshops scheduled for the day.
Each day, chaperones handed out one meal vouchers to each of the students. These meal vouchers could be redeemed at many eateries in each of the parks and were good for one full meal, a drink, and a dessert.
After an entire day spent there, students boarded the buses and went to the hotel for the first time.
Students shared the hotel rooms in groups of four. Students were allowed to pick their roommates in the weeks before the trip.
Every morning the hotel provided a breakfast buffet which the students had for breakfast, which featured a variety of foods, ranging from yogurt and granola to hash browns.
On the second day of the trip, students spent the day at Magic Kingdom. On this day the choral students attended a two and a half hour workshop.
According to senior Alexis Bryson students gathered in an auditorium where they learned music from the movie Frozen; some students had speaking parts as well. The producers took the student’s recordings and voiced over them into the movie.
“The workshops focused on topics like performing live, auditioning, recording and music production. In addition to those topics, the students were challenged to sight read difficult music in a short amount of time. Each group recorded this music with professional music technicians and had a chance to view and listen to the final product!” said choral director Samantha Baldwin.
The workshop’s goal was to inform students what a Disney cast member would be required to do and the expectations of them. According to Bryson, the workshop producers reiterated the importance of limited time availability; in fact, a cast member has approximately 30 minutes to practice and then must record his/her work. If they can’t do it well in that time, then Disney would find someone who could, as this is an expensive process.
“What I learned in the workshops is how focused Disney cast members have to be to and determined to get everything done. It’s paid by the hour, and they don’t get second chances,” Bryson said.
After the workshops, “The marching band had the unique experience of marching in the Magic Kingdom parade in front of thousands of people. The students performed ‘April in Paris’, which was part of their 2017 field show. The students spent many hours prior to the trip preparing and rehearsing for this wonderful opportunity,” Baldwin said.
After this, students were free to spend the rest of the day as they pleased.
“The workshops were outstanding, and the KD Marching Band performance at the parade was one of the best performances the marching band has ever had. We also got a great response from the crowd, and that’s always inspiring,” said band director Matthew Barr.
Students also felt like workshops were helpful: “I really enjoyed the workshops, the instructors who led them were very knowledgeable. They had a lot of good advice for us and I think we came a way a better group. Also, the experience of marching down Main Street USA with such a huge crowd for our marching band was one I’ll never forget” said Sophomore David Atkinson.
The third day was spent at Hollywood studios. On this day the band and orchestra kids had a similar two and a half hour workshop, where the instructor went over how they can be a more cohesive ensemble, and what individuals can do to help make practices more impactful.
“The workshops provide excellent–and fun–educational opportunities to work with a professional recording artist and educator,” Barr said.
On the fourth day, students loaded all of their cargo onto the buses in the morning, and then went to Epcot. They spent the entire day at Epcot before boarding the buses to go home that night.
Students arrived back at the school around 4:00 p.m. on March 20, thus concluding the trip.
This is the third time that this trip has taken place, with the first happening in December of 2009.
“The first time we ever took an overnight trip was December 2009 to Disney World. At the time, our students were performing at such a high level and Mr. Carl Barr and I wanted to expose our students to larger audiences and different experiences” said Barr.