Disney Update – Day #6

Saturday has arrived so quickly. It is our last full-day in Florida and it is all about our Festival Disney performance. The morning started off with a 7am wake-up/breakfast call. It appears that our decision to give everyone that extra time to recharge on Thursday was the right one. Everyone seemed well-rested and ready to go. At 9am, we started unloading the equipment from the truck while the hotel staff turned our breakfast room into a makeshift rehearsal space. We had a very productive 60-minute rehearsal session where we made our final adjustments for the afternoon performance. The lunch arrangements were the same as the previous day's at Ci-Ci's. This was a very convenient and affordable meal option for us. After lunch, students got into concert attire, picked-up their instruments and started loading the busses. We departed our hotel at 1:30. Our destination was the iconic Contemporary Resort hotel (yes the one with the monorail running through it). The performance was held in the "Ballroom of the Americas." It was a fabulous performance set up. Everything was perfect (would not expect anything less from Disney). The announcement for our group was pre-recorded by the official voice of the Disney parks. Everyone had goosebumps. The students were so incredibly focused on their performance. It was some of their best playing to-date. I then had the pleasure of relinquishing the podium to one of our adjudicators. He had some very complimentary things to say about the group and their performance. The amazing thing thing was to watch him squeeze out an even higher level of excellence in their performance of a few different section of the pieces, showing the kids that there is always room for growth. The results would have to wait until later this evening. There was hint of things to come when one of the Festival Disney Coordinators chased me down as we were leaving asking for the name of the Saxophone soloist in the second selection. We had a quick stop back at the hotel to get changed for the evening. We then headed to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon for the evening. The kids were able to get some dinner at the park and then join the dance party happening on the beach. There were at least 1,000 students present. While I had asked the kids not to swim (we had already packed), I did allow them to get wet up to their knees. The presentation of awards stared at 7:30. The Concert Band received a "Superior" rating (although the announcer pulled a Steve Harvey and mistakenly announced the rating as "Excellent"), "Best-in-Class" award, overall "Silver Mickey" for second highest score (92.7) across all divisions, and an "Outstanding Soloist" award for alto saxophone Sarah Melanson. After a little more celebration & dancing, it was back to the hotel to load the truck. It was a team effort to complete the loading process. Everyone was in back in their rooms at or before midnight. What a FABULOUS day!

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