Monday, May 3, 2010

The Magic of “Main Street USA” 5/3/10

Dear Mr. Bell

I am requesting your permission and school board approval to take the Alvirne High School Bronco Marching Band and Colorguard as well as the B Naturals/Mixed Choir members and Jazz Band to perform and participate in instrumental/choral clinics at Disney Magic Music Days Orlando Florida from April 25-April 30, 2010 during our Spring Vacation….. and so the process began. Eight months later including pie sales, Yankee Candle sales, raking yards, speedway clean up, concerts, Cabaret weekend and a little help from a very special group of music department supporters, our music students from Alvirne High School headed down to Walt Disney World to have not only a magical day but a magical week.

On Sunday April 25 at 3:30 a.m. Group A met at Alvirne to depart for Logan airport on flight 961 Group B followed at 5:00 a.m. on flight 431. Upon arriving choral students were given the option of going to the parks while band students stayed back to swim at the hotel and prepare for their 3-hour “Your Instrumental” band clinic. “You're Instrumental” clinic immersed our band students into the world of the professional musician. Band students worked on their sight-reading, and prepared a polished performance of special Disney musical selections in a "studio recording environment." Allen Grey, a professional Disney clinician examined the skills, attitudes and priorities that are essential to musical excellence. The workshop culminated with two special recordings of our band performing music along with a portion of a Disney Animated Feature Film. Afterwards, the band students boarded their busses and met the choral students and chaperones at Golden Corral Buffet for a well deserved dinner. 12:00 a.m. lights out!

Monday, April 26 students were awakened by 7:30 a.m. for breakfast at the All Star Music Food Court then off to the theme parks for a free day until 8:00 p.m. Italy Isola plaza in Epcot was reserved for us (250) students, chaperones and tag a longs for dinner and the Illumination light show. April 27, Tuesday began with a 7:00 a.m. wake up followed by breakfast and an 8:30 a.m. departure for Universal. There was free time at Universal or Islands of Adventure. 11:30 a.m. Jazz band members met to prepare for their performance on the City Walk Stage. Another stellar performance then back to the park for making memories on some of the world’s most cutting edge rides, shows and interactive attractions. The Simpson ride was one of my personal favorites J

6:00 p.m. Dinner at the Hard Rock, some souvenir shopping then back to our hotel where the choir entertained the guest with an impromptu rehearsal/concert. Wednesday, April 28 was an early day with a 6:30 a.m. wake up. 8:00 a.m. the AHS marching band and colorguard were waking up the hotel guest as they began their marching practice for “Main St. USA” on Thursday. After the rehearsal, Band and Colorguard performers headed off to the theme parks as our chorus departed the hotel for their choral performance in downtown Disney. The choirs were met with much enthusiasm not only by their parents, relatives and friends but also by the guest who stopped and listened to the mellifluous tones of Alvirne’s finest vocalist. The Disney host complimented Mrs. Beaton on having the most enjoyable vocal group this season. After the performance, some choral students went back to the theme parks, hotel for swimming or stayed to explore downtown Disney. 5:30 p.m. was dinner at Planet Hollywood followed by a 9:00 p.m. performance of La Nouba a mesmerizing and extraordinary avant-garde circus spectacle performed by Cirque du Soleil. After the performance it was back to the hotel for a 12:00 a.m. lights out!

7:00 p.m. on Thursday was a bit early for some of our performers but the excitement of the upcoming parade was starting to percolate. After a 7:30 a.m. breakfast our choir students headed out to their “Disney Sings” clinic. This clinic immersed the group into the world of the professional vocalist. Students learned audition skills, warm up and voice-over techniques as they experience a fast paced recording environment. Students examined the skills, attitudes and high expectations required for performance excellence. Our choir students recorded an excerpt from a Disney animated feature film's soundtrack. They also experienced the demands and exhilaration of live performance as they quickly prepared music and choreography for a "simulated" Disney show. While our choir was experiencing the clinic, band and colorguard students enjoyed some free time at Magic Kingdom.

Finally, 12:45 p.m. approached and every band and colorguard member met at the Golden Coral Outpost. Jerri, our Disney coordinator came by and gathered the performers. It was time for our teamwork, discipline and artistic growth to pay off. Jerri escorted us behind a door; we walked to the staging area and started to prepare for the “Dream Come True” pre-parade in Magic Kingdom. Our equipment truck was unloaded thanks to Russ and Deb Magnuson and our trip coordinator Chris Landry (CSL Tours). There was organized chaos, instructions were given – we were all considered Disney performers and were given the task of continuing the legacy of millions of performers before us- the only way – the Disney WAY! That being said it was time to warm up- though the weather was about 90 degrees with a 70% humidity (great weather for a parade). The Disney coordinators were working their magic with the 3 bands; Somerset High School of Ohio, Alvirne of Hudson, NH and Steinert High School of Hamilton, NJ. Bands appeared in order of size – we were # 2 as the Steinert band had 3 more students and were the last. As we approached the “step off” point the count down began, the gate opened and our drum line cadenced. It was Showtime! Words cannot express the emotions that overwhelm you as you parade up “Main Street USA” toward the Castle. Anyone can go to Disney but not everyone is invited to perform. Within 15 minutes the performance was over but the magic remained. There were accolades given by our coordinator, and a celebration of an accomplishment that is beyond words. After the performance students were given free time until curfew.

Friday, April 30 – the end of our trip was fast approaching. There was luggage check out, room checks, breakfast to eat, and some final words before departing for Medieval Times and bowling. We arrived at the airport at 5:00 p.m. Group A ate then headed off to the gate for departure and group B followed arriving home at approximately 1:30 a.m.

In conclusion, the Band, Chorus and Colorguard were able to make a dream come true. When we accept an invitation to perform away from our home, we assume the responsibilities of being ambassadors and representatives or our groups, school and community. We were judged, not by our intentions but by our behavior. There is no second chance to make a first impression; therefore, we pledged ourselves to emulate excellence both in our musical and our social performances. Our best effort was “the norm”

Hudson, I hope we made you proud!