Performance trips are a great way to showcase a marching band, orchestra, ensemble or choir. This type of trip always includes a public appearance of the band at a desirable venue. For Kris Parish, Performing Arts Chair at Santiago High School in Corona California and his co-director, Joe Dudek, historic venues are preferred. “We played at Pearl Harbor twice and Carnegie Hall,” says Parish. They have been bringing their high school band on a trip each year for many years. “The band has been to Hawaii, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C.” recalled Parish.
Band Trip to Orlando Florida Includes Performance at Kennedy Center
This past spring, Parish and Dudek brought their band to Orlando, Florida, where they spent six days and five nights exploring the theme parks and sites. This particular band trip included a performance at Kennedy Space Center. Other high school bands have performed in Magic Kingdom or other Disney parks – so there are many options open for student musicians bound for this destination. The band performed at an outdoor stage. “It was a great location to perform,” said Parish. “Kennedy Space Center enjoyed having us and the crowd was very receptive,” he added.
Students Raise Funds to Travel
Parish and Dudek direct a 210 piece marching band (recently selected to perform in the 2013 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade), three jazz ensembles and three concert bands for Santiago High School. The marching band prepared for this trip with extra rehearsals. About 100-130 students attend these performance trips each year. Students fund their trip a variety of ways. “They have all kinds of fundraisers: selling candy, entertainment books, and holiday greenery,” said Parish. And, parents make contributions to the band trip as well.
Disney Performing Arts Workshop a Memorable Part of Student Trip
One of the highlights of the trip was attending a Disney Performing Arts Workshop, “You’re Instrumental.” This interactive learning experience put the band in a real Disney recording studio, where they were asked to sight-read music in preparation for a recording. A Disney clinician who watched their performance and commented on their skills and attitudes critiqued band members. Finally, the band was asked to perform music along with a Disney animated feature film. “They got to see the performance DVD playback,” said Parish, who retained a copy of the DVD for the students.
High School Band Performance at Magic Kingdom Rained Out!
There was a minor disappointment for the group. They were slated to play in the “Celebrate a Dream Come Tru” parade in Magic Kingdom, but were rained out. “The park was absolutely swamped,” said Parish. The itinerary was packed with plenty of activities that eclipsed this minor disappointment: Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, Universal Islands of Adventure, and the Kennedy Space Center. The group also visited Cocoa Beach and had a cookout.
Orlando is an excellent choice for a marching band trip because of the obvious draw of Walt Disney World and Universal Islands of Adventure. Disney does a great job of incorporating active learning programs alongside the exhibits and invites students to participate in park performances. Other cities, such as New York City and Washington D.C., also have a great deal to offer in terms of performance venues and entertainment.