Arrowhead High School senior Brianna Meyer contributes monthly articles to the Lake Country Publications to be published in the Living Lake Country Sunday edition. The following is Bri’s article, which will appear in the January 27th publication:
Arrowhead Band Heads to Disney
Late last year, the band directors at Arrowhead announced that all five ensembles would be able to travel to Disney World from February 21-24, 2013. Now, with February 21 quickly approaching, directors Jacob Polancich and Stacey Zwirlein are putting the final touches on their group before they head to Disney to participate in the Disney Performing Arts concert and clinic.
Two years ago, Arrowhead assembled a group to go to Washington D.C. and play in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The band explored the city, toured the Smithsonian, and ate on roof of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Although the D.C. trip was impressive, this year’s Disney trip aims to top it.
“Combining the music with the founding history of our country had a resounding effect on me,” says Arrowhead junior Sam Yellick of the D.C. band trip. “But I’m really looking forward to experiencing the music in a more lighthearted way at Disney World.”
The Disney Performing Arts experience gives kids of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to play classical Disney music in front of an international audience. Arrowhead will be participating in the Performing Arts OnStage concert and the You’re Instrumental Workshop. The concert includes a performance on Downtown Disney’s Waterside stage on the Disney World grounds, and the clinic gives kids the chance to play classic Disney songs in front of the movie scenes they appear in.
The workshop is designed for students in instrumental music programs of all levels and provides a “studio recording environment.” Arrowhead already sent in a recording of their music to qualify for this opportunity.
“We needed to send in a video recording of the group in order to have our Disney Park performance approved,” says Zwirlein. “The Disney music committee has strict requirements about performing on the park grounds, so we wanted to make sure we were prepared and had a good video to submit for our performance. Successfully enough, we were selected to perform.”
Eighty three students spanning through all skill and grade levels, Arrowhead’s Disney band has been rehearsing since November of 2012. According to Polancich, they have had “limited rehearsals, but should be in good shape for a successful performance.”
For their stage concert, the set includes tunes like Blue Goose Rag and Stars and Stripes Forever, as well as pops songs like Pirates of the Caribbean and Aladdin.
“Music selection is always very important in every situation because it represents what you're trying to communicate musically,” says Polancich. “In this case, we needed to select music that would be appropriate for a Disney venue and audience. They only allow thirty minutes of music, so we needed to be mindful of the length as well as the difficulty level.”
In addition to the band, Arrowhead will also be taking a small group of their Chamber String players on the trip to perform on the Give the Kids the World grounds—a park where kids with life-threatening illnesses can go on weeklong vacations with their families.
Students will depart on Thursday, February 21 on an AirTran flight bound for Orlando—a small change from the overnight bus ride to D.C. Students will then have four days to explore the Disney World grounds and participate in the concert and workshop.
“I’m really excited for the workshop,” says Arrowhead senior Annika van Ryzin. “I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to play on a movie soundtrack, and this trip sounds like the perfect opportunity to experience that and more.”
The group is lined up to play in the workshop, but they plan to spend some time at the Disney park while they are there. Some of the attractions: Disney Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, and the Disney Animal Kingdom.
“I’m really looking forward to spending four whole days with my band friends in such an iconic place. It’s going to be so much fun,” says Arrowhead sophomore Olivia Dellamodarme.
Polancich agrees with her. “Being able to provide opportunities like this for kids is the reason I do this job. Disney holds a special place in my heart because I used to go with my family as a kid,” he says.
“Our hope is to bring these exciting and musically rewarding opportunities to the Arrowhead music students for years to come,” says Zwirlein. “Sharing these musical experiences creates memories that will last students well into their adult years.”