My husband will tell you there is one reason he made it through middle school, high school and college.
It wasn’t his interest in math, or reading. It wasn’t the cute girl who sat next to him in science class. Or maybe it was, a little. Math and reading are essential skills that every child needs; he learned those subjects and more. But the thing that made my husband come alive was music. Music was the reason he got out of bed each morning to get his tired, teenaged body to school dragging his french horn behind him. It was the reason he applied, and was accepted to a four year university, with a scholarship. At the age of sixteen, his parents asked him if he wanted a new horn or a car. He picked the horn. The car was less expensive and he ended up with that. But Judd took that car, got a job, and raised enough money for the new horn he still plays to this day. Wise decision by his parents!
Music is the reason my husband now gets up every morning at the crack of dawn, heads to our local middle school, and teaches kids how to play their first instruments.
Walt Disney World in Orlando recently hosted me at the park to tour the Disney Youth Performing Arts and Education programs. I saw not only talented kids on a fun trip to “the happiest place on earth,” I saw kids who had worked hard for a long time to raise money, prepare their crafts, and now had the chance to be a part of the cast at Walt Disney World! (click to visit Disney Performing Arts program website)
I was never in the band in school. I stuck with chorus, show choir, drama and dance. But when I saw the feather clad marchers coming down Main Street, U.S.A. with Cinderella’s castle in their view, the pride they exuded made me wish I was with them.
It’s the same for the choral students who perform in the 300-voice Candlelight Processional choir, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra, a celebrity narrator and Disney’s Voices of Liberty.
10 years of Festival Disney
Festival Disney is an annual event held at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. This year, celebrating its 10th anniversary, this exhilarating, Disney-produced competitive festival brings together middle school, junior and senior high school performing-arts groups for two days of adjudicated performances. The event is open to choirs, bands, orchestras, and auxiliary ensembles and includes competitions for top-awards.
Over my many years as a chorus teacher, band director’s wife (aka assistant), and performing arts mom, this is the most exciting adjudicated music festival I’ve seen! And I happened to be there on the first Festival Disney weekend of this year! Aside from the opportunity to perform and receive instruction at Disney, the kids were treated to a concert with Danielle Bradbery, season four winner of The Voice. Danielle encouraged the students to continue to work hard and follow their dreams. Who better to share that message than a young person who did just that. Each weekend, the Festival Disney participants experience a high energy awards ceremony with a surprise event such as a concert or special dance party. Of course, there is always an appearance by the greatest mouse of all time – MICKEY!
How can your child perform with Disney Performing Arts?
- Disney Performing Arts OnStage gives students the opportunity to perform in front of international audiences at theme parks and other areas at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Instrumental, vocal and dance groups from middle schools and high school are eligible to audition year-round. Chosen groups showcase performance excellence as they dance, sing and march their way through once-in-a-lifetime performances.
- Workshops: Performers looking to improve their skills or develop new ones can learn from industry professionals in a series of workshops created by entertainment experts.
- Festival Disney: Festival Disney is an annual event held at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. This year, celebrating its 10th anniversary, this exhilarating, Disney-produced competitive festival brings together middle school, junior and senior high school performing-arts groups for two days of adjudicated performances.
- The Disney Honors: The Disney Honors is a non-competitive bi-annual festival that takes place each spring at the Walt Disney World Resort. The festival challenges students to reach new musical heights and features performances, clinics, guest speakers and feedback from an outstanding panel of evaluators.
You may be thinking, “We go to our state contest, why do we need to travel to Disney?” The “Disney difference” is hard to put into words. You really just have to experience the excellence, inspirations and thrill of being a part of the happiest place on earth.
In the slide show below, see some of what the Disney experience meant to the students, parents, and teachers. Click the right and left arrows to scroll. (Reading this in your email or RSS feed? Click here for the slide show)
Why are Disney Performing Arts Programs different?
What about you? Have you ever been to Disney for their performing arts programs? If not, are you hoping to go someday?
Disclosure: Walt Disney World is hosted me for the weekend so I could learn about their education and arts programing. No other compensation will be received. All thoughts, opinions and statements are 100% my own.