A Disney performance
BHS band travels to Orlando
Baldwin High School band members recently had a chance to perform for Mickey, Donald, Goofy and some 60,000 of Disney's friends.
About 70 BHS band and pom squad members traveled to Orlando, Fla., Nov. 3-7 for Disney's Magic Music Days Festival, a bi-annual festival giving students an opportunity to perform at Disney World.
The Baldwin students marched in the afternoon parade Nov. 5, performing the song "Jumpin' Jack" in front of approximately 60,000 spectators on hand in the Orlando theme park.
"It's a great experience for the kids," Will Cooper, BHS band instructor, said.
This was the band's first trip to Orlando since performing for the festival in 2001. The band had and will continue to have several fundraisers to help the students cover the trip's expenses.
Cooper said the trip allowed his band to have a rare performance outside of the Baldwin area.
"It's a great educational experience for a variety of reasons," he said.
Not only have a majority of the students not ever performed in front of that large of a crowd, he said, many of them have also not traveled outside of Kansas, flown on a plane or visited a major theme park.
"It exposes the kids to a lot more," he said. "It was a real eye opener for them. It kind of got them out of their comfort zone in many ways, and I think they learned a lot from it."
Those that perform at the Disney festival must audition before being accepted as a participant, Cooper said. A tape of the band's performance and pictures of the uniforms must be submitted to Disney before a group is invited to the festival.
"While you're there, Disney considers you an employee," he said.
Marching from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to Main Street, the students walked the length of the Maple Leaf Festival parade. But Cooper said it was a lot different than the local parade.
"We weren't just playing in a parade for Maple Leaf," he said. "This is on a whole different scale. It's the magnitude of it."
In addition to performing at Disney, the students also had the opportunity to visit several area attractions including Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios.
BHS senior Isaac Burbank, who plays percussion in the band, said performing for that large of a crowd had its anxious as well as enjoyable moments.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking, but fun," he said.
Band seniors A.J. Osborn and Ellen Schroer both said the trip was worth the hard work that was needed to get to Orlando.
"It was incredible to play in front of that many people," Schroer said. "And we got so many compliments from people."
"It's one thing to hear it from your town," Osborn said, "but it's another thing to hear it from people all over the country."
Cooper said the band's performance and behavior were top notch.
"The kids really represented the school and city excellently," he said. "I got a lot of comments on how well-behaved the kids were.
"I was pleased with the level of behavior and the level of performance our kids had," he said. "I think that reflects well on our community and our school."