The Emmetsburg High School Music Department recently returned home from a four-day trip to Orlando Florida to perform at Festival Disney, hosted by Disney World. The students also were able to enjoy the Disney World parks, Universal Studios, and the outstanding facilities of the Orlando area during the trip, which took place April 25-28.
On Thursday, April 25, at 1:15 am, ninety-eight students and chaperones boarded charter buses for the trip to the Minneapolis airport. Upon arrival, they were met by a Brightspark representative who helped the groups get checked through airline security and boarded their flights to Orlando. After a smooth flight, the groups were met in Orlando by their Brightspark host, Betsy Brown, who would help the Emmetsburg Music groups throughout the tour with all arrangements. The students loaded charter buses at the airport and went right to Disney World for the remainder of the day and evening, starting out at the Disney World "Magic Kingdom" The day at the parks concluded with the fantastic "Parade of Lights" show, and at about 11:00 p.m. when the students left the parks, checked into their hotel and got ready for the next day's events and performances.
Friday found the EHS Choirs eating breakfast at the hotel, and then traveling to the Epcot Center for the rest of the morning. At 12:30, the groups loaded the buses from the Epcot Center and traveled to Saratoga Springs Resort for the Festival Disney performances. The EHS Concert Choir got things started out by earning a Superior Rating in the Mixed Chorus Division. Following each performance, one of the three judges joined the performing groups onstage for a short clinic session, offering suggestions and compliments. "The adjudication panel was just outstanding," noted EHS Vocal Director Dave Fog. "They were so complimentary of the choirs' technical skills, their appearance, the level of literature- I think they found out what Iowa groups can do! They also gave us such constructive ideas for improvement."
AWARD-WINNING?GROUP - The Emmetsburg Concert Choir, Womens’ Chorus and Mens Chorus all received Superior Ratings for their performances during the 2014 Festival Disney trip April 25-28. The students also enjoyed visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, pictured below, and Universal Studios during their trip. -- submitted photo
The Womens' Chorus continued the Emmetsburg performance schedule and also received a Superior Rating for their set of songs and was then followed by the Mens' Chorus, who wrapped up the EHS performances with another excellent performance and a Superior Rating.
Over forty choirs performed over the three days of Festival Disney. Emmetsburg was the second smallest school to attend the competition, which was loaded with outstanding choirs who were accepted for the competition based upon current and past performance ability and success.
"To receive the ratings we received in such a strong filed of choral performance is quite an accomplishment for our students," commented Mr. Fog. "They worked very hard in preparing these selections and were really intent on doing their best at the festival."
Following the performance, the students returned to the Epcot center to displays from around the world. The day at the park ended with the inspiring Epcot Center closing ceremonies, "Illuminations-Reflections of Earth" which was presented on the World Showcase central lake.
Saturday found the music students traveling to the Disney Animal Kingdom Park for the morning, and then transferring to the Disney Hollywood Studios Park for the afternoon and evening. The Festival Disney Awards Ceremony concluded the day, with over 4500 student performers in attendance for the awards recognition for the Festival.
The final day of the tour found EHS students and chaperones checking out of their hotel and traveling to Universal Studios for the day. Everyone enjoyed the various rides, roller-coasters, and movie based-presentations until departure time at 12:30 and the trip to the Orlando Airport for check in, boarding and the flight home. The group arrived home about 11:00 p.m. Sunday night.
The tour culminated a year of planning, fundraising and rehearsing for the students, directors, the Vocal and Band Booster groups, parents and the EHS school system. The Band and Vocal Boosters decided to support each student with $300 each. Individual and group fundraising, along with community and individual support allowed the students to meet the expense of the trip.
Emmetsburg students and directors would like to thank their music booster groups, and especially the officers of the groups for all their effort and time in helping to make the trip possible. Also, thanks to the Emmetsburg School administration and school board for their support and allowing everyone to "dream big". A huge thank you goes out to the parents of the group's members for their support, sacrifice and encouragement in making this performance tour possible. The directors and students would also like to thank the outstanding group of chaperones who accompanied the choir on the tour. Doug Drost, Dan Jackson, and Kurt Bonnstetter left early to drive the luggage and instrument trailer to and from Orlando, then chaperoned through the trip along with Sara Bonnstetter, Denise Reimer, Margaret Drost, Michelle Jackson, Kim Hutchison, Tammy Christensen Jill Harson, Kathy Jackson, Lori Wickman and David Van Heuevelen. The directors and chaperones would especially like to thank the EHS students for being such a responsible and positive group of young people. Everyone is very proud of you!