2017 Band and Orchestra Disney Trip


Sara Van den Akker

Castle at Magic Kingdom

Sara Van den Akker, Feature Editor

Geneva’s 2017 band and orchestra’s magical Disney trip was a smashing success. Throughout the trip, over 200 musical Geneva students spent 4 days traveling through theme parks, a college workshop, and multiple clinics with professionals, and ended with a final performance in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom.  Band directors Mr. Frederick and Mr. Shipton, orchestra director Mrs. Lawrence , and volunteer chaperones had their work cut out for them as they set off to Orlando, Florida.  

Geneva High School’s marching band had to audition to get into the Disney Performing Arts Program, a tradition they have upheld for many years. Disney carefully selects the participants because the band is then representing not only the school they are from, but Disney itself. Every four years, Geneva takes home a trophy as a memory of the wonderful experience that took place.

All the directors in charge plan the trip months in advance, down to the very minute, of everything that  was to take place. Hundreds of trip itinerary copies were given to the students so they had a clear idea of their precise schedule. Everything was very thought out in terms of organization and plans to make sure that everyone was accommodated for.

Students were given lanyards with everything needed for the day. This included dining cards, which gave each student fifty dollars daily and whatever was not used could be rolled over for the next day, mini itineraries so students would not forget their schedule, a small card with their bus information, and a fastpass that  allowed them to skip the line three times daily. Everyone was accountable for being in the right place at the right time with all of their personal belongings. .

Students were dismissed from classes early Monday, February 27, and  set off for Eastern Illinois University. Once there, band, orchestra, and color guard had clinics with professionals who attended and worked at EIU. There they gave advice and pointers on specifics and encouraged students to continue on in their musical passion. It was an enthusiastic way to set off the long bus ride to Florida.

Once in Orlando, the GHS marching band and orchestra students filled the stadium of Medieval Times as they cheered for their knight and stretched their legs after the long bus ride. However, three busy days were just about to begin as the  students stepped foot into the sunshine state. The first day was began at Hollywood Studios after yet another clinic with performers from Disney, then Epcot as students wondered throughout all the countries of the world, followed by Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom  

Sophomore marching band student Claire Nowak describes the memory as, “It was so surreal…you have to stop and look and take it all in.” In the ninety degree weather of  Magic Kingdom, Geneva High School’s own marching band performed  in a parade  in front of the Magic Castle as friends, family, and Disney enthusiasts  cheered them on. For most, this was the most memorable part of the entire trip.

The trip was a huge accomplishment and memorable experience for all Geneva High School band and orchestra students.. To describe the trip as a whole, orchestra and color guard member Alexi Ascensio put it, “It was honestly magical…. everything went as perfect as it could go.”