Band and choir students return to Disney

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Bailey Boring, News Editor

Students in the RHS band and choir take their COVID-19 tests hoping for a negative result. If they tested negative, they were cleared for their trip. Members left school in the middle of the day and got on their buses with their uniforms, luggage and instruments. For eighteen hours straight, they drive down south to Orlando, Florida. Their destination: Walt Disney World. Last year, the trip was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, the band was able to put on their uniforms and play, marching throughout Magic Kingdom, and the choir performed several songs at Disney Springs on the Waterside Stage. Throughout their stay in Orlando, the band and choir went to all of Disney World’s parks and Universal Studios.

From February 10 to February 15 the music department performed in Disney World, went to immersive workshops, and got to experience the parks and their attractions.

Disney World offers a variety of experiences for students involved in performing arts. One of these is a marching band performance package, allowing student band members to march through Disney World. Students get to experience what it is like to be a Disney performer. Another one of experiences Disney offers is the chance for school choirs to sing onstage in Disney Springs. Every other year, the Revere band and choir take a trip to Disney World to perform. For five days, Revere’s music department experienced performing, learning from professionals and visiting theme parks. On the music department’s first day in Orlando, they went to Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. They spent their second day in Magic Kingdom. On their third day they went to Hollywood Studios, and then they finished up at Universal Studios.

Drum Major Charlotte Silvidi’s favorite part of the trip was marching. She described what it was like performing in Magic Kingdom.

“It was something that not a lot of people can experience. . . We went through Frontierland, around the castle, and then down Main Street,” Silvidi said.

Visitors in Magic Kingdom who lined up on the sides of the walkways got to watch RHS play the school fight song Battle Cry II and Blinding Lights through the park. 

Silvidi is a senior this year and is choosing between University of Dayton and Belmont University. Post-graduation she is thinking about working in music therapy.

Band director Darren LeBeau explained how he coordinated this trip with Disney.

“We applied [by sending] in a video of our performances from the fall of 2020, the Queen show. . . Then [Disney] does a selection process. Once you get accepted, they can organize with you. We tell them what weekend we were coming, and they tell us when we are going to be [performing],” LeBeau said.

Senior Band member Lyan Lebron has been involved in band since fifth grade, and this is her first time going on the Disney trip. Lebron spoke about what performing in Disney World was like for her.

“I thought we were going to be a part of a bigger parade [with Disney performers,] but it was just us; We were the parade. Everybody who lined up was there to see us go through, and it was really awesome,” Lebron said.

Choir performed in Disney Springs. They played “Alma Redemptoris Mater” by Palestrina, “Prayer of the Children” by Kurt Bestor, “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel, “Loch Lomond,” by Jonathan Quick and “It’s All Right,” by Curtis Mayfield. 

Choir director Alice Rizzo explained why she chose those songs for their performance.

“I chose these songs for a number of reasons. Some of them were songs that students have done over the past four years that they have lobbied me to include. I chose [these songs] because there is a variety of genres and time periods. . . All of the songs showed off their versatility in genre, and I thought it would be a fun program to perform to a public audience,” Rizzo said. 

To sing in Disney Springs, Disney requires an audition. Last year Rizzo submitted singing videos of the choir to Disney. The choir was accepted to sing at Disney and was then assigned when their performance was.

Choir members wore all black for their concert. Anyone passing through Disney Springs on Sunday morning February 13 was able to hear Revere’s choir perform.

Aside from performances in Disney, the music department learned from professionals during clinics. Silvidi described how the music department was able to participate in workshops during their five day trip.

“We got to enjoy the parks and experience music in each park. . . Each music department had their own workshops. We got to individually work with directors who work with Disney. . . [the Band] got to work with a conductor who worked with bands who perform at Disney,” Silvidi said. 

During the band workshop, they played songs from the movie Tangled. The leader of the workshop edited their playing to match a scene in the movie. Students in the band could hear what their music would sound like in a Disney movie. This workshop is called Soundtrack Sessions: Instrumental. Disney offers this workshop to students in middle school through college.

Choir also did a workshop as well. Choir member Kendall Morrison described what attending the workshop was like. 

“I loved our workshop; We got to sing songs from Tangled,” Morrison said.

Workshops were at Imagination Campus which is outside the parks. Rizzo explained what choir members learned from their workshop.

“We spent two and a half hours working with a clinician who taught the students some Disney soundtrack music, and we recorded it and put it to video. They learned a lot about what the soundtrack production process is like. Students were able to ask questions about working at Disney professionally and working as a voice artist professionally,” Rizzo said.

Choir’s workshop was called Soundtrack Sessions: Vocal. 

Outside of performing and participating in workshops, band and choir members also got to enjoy visiting all of the parks and the attractions they have to offer. 

Lebron explained how the action-packed trip was fast paced with little room for rest.

“We would [wake] up, go to the park, be there the whole day, go to sleep, wake up and go to another park. . . [The trip] was really awesome but it was also really tiring,” Lebron said. 

Sleeping was also hard for some on buses, as they would stop every two hours on the eighteen hour ride. 

Morrison explained what the music department did for meals while on the trip.

“We would stop at random fast food restaurants. . . It would be two buses per restaurant,” Morrison said.

On Tuesday evening February 15, the music department pulled back into the school parking lot after five days away from home. The music department will take their next big trip to Disney World in the 2023-24 school year.