Students Explore Music on Trip to Disney

Sloka Chandrasekaran, Social Media Coordinator

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  • Seniors Vivian Tran, Andrew Ji, Stephen Shiue, and Katie Hsiao pose with Hello Kitty.

  • Students explore Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • The band begins the parade down Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne Nuccitelli.

  • Colorguard members spin their flags in the parade.

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne Nuccitelli.

  • The trumpet section leads the parade.

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne Nuccitelli.

  • Percussion Director Mr. Mikey Sheeran marches alongside the band.

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne Nuccitelli.

  • The clarinet and flute sections play March Grandioso in the parade.

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne Nuccitelli.

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As a way to shed light on new musical experiences, Westwood Band, choir, and orchestra students attended Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida from Jan. 16 through Jan. 21. While being able to enjoy the experiences of being in the happiest place on earth, they would also be learning about Disney and its many performers.

“I was so excited to go to Disney World,” Matthew Jourdan ‘21 said. “Being away from school for a little while but also being able to play music in the time we were gone was just a really good experience for me.”

The students arrived Monday night and had an early call time to prepare for their day at the first park they would be attending, Magic Kingdom. Students were given the first half of the day to roam the park, but Westwood Band students had a 1:00 p.m. call time to prepare for the Magic Kingdom Parade. The students changed into their uniforms and set up in what is known as a parade block, with drum majors in the front, and color guard members, brass players, drum line, and woodwind players following close behind. The crowd in Magic Kingdom cheered as they marched around the park performing March Grandioso.

“It was a huge honor to be a part of the parade,” Sophia Castaneda ‘20 said. “Being able to play and march in front of hundreds of people was a really cool and different experience.”

The following day, students had 12 hours at any park they would like, either Hollywood Studios, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom. Later that night, the choir students attended a Disney Performing Arts Workshop, where they sight-read two pieces from The Lion King. Students sang and recorded audio effects and discussed what it was like to work as a performer. At the end of the night, their recordings were joined together to make their own version of The Lion King.

“This whole experience was absolutely amazing,” Katya Lopez ‘20 said. “It was really cool getting to hear our music be turned into something so magical.”

On the third night the students were in Orlando, the orchestra attended a workshop where, similar to the choir, they sight-read and recorded music from the movie, Beauty and the Beast. Students learned about the key attributes of orchestra performers who play and record for a living, specifically ones that work for Disney.

“It’s really amazing hearing these kids perform such beautiful music,” orchestra director Mr. Joshua Thompson said. “I’m so unbelievably proud of their achievements and so happy they got to experience this.”

After the students got to be part of the parade and multiple workshops, they attended Universal Studios. As a way to relax and unwind at the end of the day, students got the opportunity to watch The Blue Man Group, a performance art company formed in 1987, known for their vast variety of music and art. After the performance, students attended a workshop with producers to learn about how the show comes to life and even got the chance to speak with one of the blue men, Adam Zuick.

“The Blue Man Group was really fun to watch,” Julia Crowley ‘19 said. “The best part was when they brought one of our directors, Ms. Dacy, on stage to be apart of one of their skits.”

On the final day of their stay, students attended the park of their choice at the beginning of the day and went in groups to the airport to fly back to Texas.

“This whole trip was surreal,” Pablo Vidrio ‘22 said. “I’m so grateful to be apart of such an amazing music program because I got to be involved in new and exciting forms of music.”