HS Band Travels to Florida

The High School band traveled to Florida to preform at Disney.

The whole band in front of the Disney Performing Arts with Mickey.

Walt Disney said: “First, Think. Second, Believe. Third, Dream. And finally, Dare.”

That’s exactly what the 59 members of the Pine River High School Band did a couple of weeks ago as they traveled to Florida to perform at Disney World (March 14-19). It’s been a year in the making – all the fundraising, planning and preparation that goes into a trip like this. All the fundraising and work
was worth it in the end, as students enjoyed 3 full days of exploring Disney World and having performance opportunities unlike any other. They have made memories that will last a lifetime.

For the majority of these students, band trips like this are an opportunity to have experiences they might not have ever had. According to a post-trip poll – 74% of students had never traveled out of the State of Michigan until they went on a band trip. Students learn all kinds of valuable life lessons on trips like this – how to work toward and achieve a goal, how to work in a group, how to honor their commitments, how to read maps, leave tips, budget time, etc. etc. etc.

Students also had many musical experiences while on this trip. Disney is one of the largest employers of live musicians world-wide, and their parks offer endless opportunities for students to watch real working professional musicians in action. We would be walking from one ride to the next, and all of the sudden a band, or a singing group, or a drum ensemble or some other live act would be

Students participated in two performance events of their own.

On the first full day, they went to the back lots and had a clinic with music educator and Disney cast member, Rich, who led them through a series of sight reading and performance exercises designed to expose them to the world and expectations of professional musicians. Students also learned what it was like in a professional recording studio and how movie soundtracks are dubbed with live ensembles. Students learned a lot, responded enthusiastically to his teaching and performed some great music. At the end of the clinic, the band came away with a DVD to take home which includes an excerpt from the movie, Frozen, featuring the PRHS Band performing the soundtrack!

The next day, students traveled to Disney Springs, where they were able to perform a concert on Disney’s famous Marketplace Stage. For a packed audience of Pine River fans as well as park goers lured in by the beautiful music they were hearing, these small town students performed in a world-class venue.

Certainly, a trip to Disney is a trip of a lifetime for anyone. A trip to Disney with your band, however, is a whole different level of amazing. Getting to share these performance and travel experiences with your friends and classmates (yes, even the 48 hours on a bus) creates lessons and memories that will last a lifetime!

The PRHS Band would like to thank all the family members, community members and businesses that supported and encouraged them over the past year, as well as the staff and administration of Pine River Area Schools as they followed Mr. Disney’s advice and dared to dream!