Marching into the Happiest Place on Earth

Corey Emery, Features Editor

During the latter half of spring break, Ward Melville’s marching band, concert band (comprised of students from concert band, symphonic band, and wind ensemble), and concert choir (comprised of students from camerata, women’s choir, and mixed choir) travelled to Walt Disney World in Florida to partake in a three-day music festival. Ward Melville attends this festival every four years, and while it is traditionally only a marching band trip, it was expanded this year to include the concert band and choir. “I think that because the trip was expanded this year, we saw a lot of people pitch in to help it run smoothly, and it quickly turned into a trip of a lifetime!” stated saxophonist Hanna Bliska.

The celebration of musical talent kicked off on Thursday with the marching band’s performance in the Magic Kingdom Parade. The band marched to the tune of “Fantasmic” and “You’ve got a Friend in me” down Main Street, USA. On Friday, the concert choir performed in the gardens of Epcot, with the highlight of their set being “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King. On Saturday, the concert band performed on a waterfront stage in Downtown Disney, playing a Disney-themed set accented with a Led Zeppelin medley.

In addition to these performances, the Ward Melville musicians also enjoyed numerous other activities during their time in Disney. First, they attended numerous different workshops over the course of the festival.  As flutist Reilly Becchina expressed, “these workshops in particular gave us a great deal of insight in to what it is like to be a professional musician.” They also were able to go behind the scenes and play/sing scores of Disney music with professional conductors.

“It was great to see all those kids so excited about us playing Disney music,” said percussionist Erin McSweeney.

And of course, the Ward Melville students were able to explore all four Walt Disney parks. “Everyone loved the parks, the rides, and the free time, but that wasn’t even the most special part of the trip. I think that we really grew as a team and a family. With such limited supervision, everyone had to take on a lot of responsibilities that they never had before,” stated flutist Sarah Gutman.

As saxophonist Lauren Vivenzio excellently summed up, “We made lots of memories that we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives.”