James Caldwell High School’s 2011 Music Department Tour to Orlando was “awesome,” according to senior percussionist Tyler Stone.
The trip was hugely anticipated by JCHS music students, who have the opportunity to perform at Disney World once every four years with the JCHS music program. Other years, the Music Department heads to Boston, Virginia and Washington, D.C., offering exciting performances, music workshops, and cultural opportunities at each destination. But senior chorus member Toni Kirbas expressed the feelings of many JCHS seniors when she stated, “There is no better place to end the musical experience than Disney.”
The journey began at 4 a.m. on Thursday, April 7, as JCHS Music Department staff and more than 140 participating students and chaperones boarded buses to Newark airport. Over a whirlwind four days, they followed a packed schedule that included public performance appearances at Epcot Center and Magic Kingdom, intensive instrumental and voice workshops with Disney movie music professionals and talent coordinators, and hours of fun, fascination and thrills at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
They returned home at 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, exhausted but exuberant. Junior band members Joe Reilly and Sam Shevelove-Gross talked of being sleep-deprived, but agreed it was “well worth it.” Senior choral member Nick D’Aprix called it “a magical time.” Juniors Laura Stiefbold and Sara Lobdell recalled the enchantment of the fireworks show at Cinderella’s Castle.
Of the workshops, senior violinist Brandon Chen noted they “learned a lot about (musical) priorities.” And fellow violinist Chris White, a junior, recounted an unscripted moment they had as Disney tourists joined in on an impromptu “Hey” chant with the JCHS students. “It was pretty chill. I had a great time!” he said.
The Orlando tour was made possible in part by Music & More Booster Club fundraisers supported by the Caldwell community, who can be proud of the students’ representation at Disney World. “Great performances and a great group of kids,” said new strings teacher and tour chaperone Will Downey.
A grateful and reflective senior, Kevin Priolo, summed up how the JCHS 2011 Orlando Music Tour will long be remembered by the students, stating simply, “It was a beautiful experience!”
The students are now back to business at JCHS preparing for their upcoming concert season. For more information, visit www.cwcboe.org.
The writer is Band President Dylan Silver, who was on the tour.