It’s finally happening!
Three years ago we reported on rising participation in district music programs.
That feature included a grand vision of an invasion (a grandvasion?) of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida by music ensembles from all five DMPS high schools, something never before attempted, sort of a mobile central campus concept.
As of early Wednesday morning, it’s underway.
Buses, ten of them, loaded and rolled, carrying almost 500 high school musicians; marching bands, orchestras, choristers…a masterwork of vehicular choreography and harmony.
They’re getting a head start on Spring Break, which doesn’t officially start until Friday. By then the D(MPS)-Day force will have landed and established a beachhead in Florida, though the itinerary doesn’t call for a day at the beach until Sunday. First things first, and those are workshops and performances.
The Hoover High band and orchestra are making the trip, and band director Ryan Rowley says students are in for a rare experience.
“These students will participate in Disney’s You’re Instrumental! Program, which includes a two-and-a-half-hour rehearsal with a teaching artist there,” said Rowley. “Students will workshop their sight-reading skills. After the rehearsal, the ensembles will record their piece in a studio and their recording will accompany a scene from a Disney film.”
Roosevelt band director Treg Marcellus took the baton on trip logistics after Rowley first floated the idea of a scaled-up version of band trips that are somewhat traditional at Roosevelt and Lincoln.
“The thought was to include some smaller schools and programs because costs for a small group are higher,” said Marcellus. “Kevin (Stegemann, his counterpart from Lincoln) and myself have done many band trips to Orlando, but the combination of all schools and all the groups has made this more complicated.”
AND more affordable.
The musical momentum that was the inspiration for the “grandvasion” continues, according to Kelly Kretschmer Schnackenberg, the district’s Fine and Performing Arts Curriculum Coordinator.
“We’ve seen an increase in consistency of programming with the addition of lessons in our buildings as well as continued support in purchasing instruments through the PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) funding and Prairie Meadows grants,” she said. “Participation continues to grow.”
Each of the ensembles making this trip will have performance opportunities; orchestras and choirs at Disney Springs, marching bands in a parade at Magic Kingdom. The itinerary also includes free time at Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the rest of the theme parks.
By the time the rest of the district officially adjourns for spring break on Thursday afternoon the legions of DMPS musicians will already be coated in sunscreen.
Getaway day excitement was muted by thick fog and the prospect of a 24-hour+ bus ride. While the bellies of buses filled with instrument cases and other luggage, sleepy passengers shuffled on board and slumped into seats. But sunny skies and temps in the 80s await in Orlando. It’s easy to imagine a DMPS chorus some 500 voices strong assembling there and shouting in unison:
“We’re going to Disney World!”