The Most Magical Performance on Earth

The band’s spring break trip to the happiest place on Earth

Every year, millions of people visit Walt Disney World in Orlando. They travel in search of the park’s promised magic, re-discovering their inner child. During spring break this year, many MN Band students made the unforgettable trip themselves. 

The band trip proved to be an enjoyable experience for all involved. The students were able to go through a variety of educational experiences across Florida and develop new connections with bandmates and their directors.

“My personal favorite part of the Orlando trip was going to Universal Studios. There were many fun rides in Universal, such as the Jurassic World VelociCoaster, the Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster, and many more,” freshman Akshat Magesh said.

The students also took advantage of their location and visited the many attractions offered in Orlando besides its theme parks. 

“My favorite day of the trip was when we went to the Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa Beach. I really love STEM-related activities and seeing the space center was super cool. It was also very nice outside, and I love warm weather so it was also the perfect day to go to the beach,” junior Sarah Sharp said.

While the band makes the trek to Disney every four years, this year’s journey was extremely different than before, with complications ranging from delayed planes to COVID-19 implications.

“The airlines and other travel vendors are operating at a much lower capacity due to insufficient staffing, which creates some travel issues. Masks were also still required but our students were very used to this because of the policies that MPS previously instated,” director of bands Ryan Placek said.

In addition, due to storms and other weather hindrances, one of the two groups headed for Orlando experienced severe complications in their flight time.

“Our flight got delayed for nineteen hours. We weren’t sure if we would miss some of the planned activities. But we knew that the band directors would figure something out. Naturally, we all got fed up but we tried to make the best of the situation, by talking with each other,”  Magesh said.

Despite an inauspicious start, the benefits of the trip were plentiful. Perhaps most importantly, the Disney trip aided students in developing as musicians. At Disney, the students performed their Spanish-flavored piece Mirada multiple times in a parade. Throughout these performances, both band directors and students believed they grew in many ways.

“The band trip did such a great job of helping students grow as musicians on an individual level. They push everyone to do their best at every rehearsal,” Sharp said.

However, along with the prestige of performing at Disney, there also comes an added pressure of perfection.

“There was a lot of added stress. We had to perform in full uniform in 80- 90 degree weather, and we still had to perform well for the hundreds of people who were at the park. The dressing room was just one big room, with nothing to separate people,” said sophomore Mansi Singh.

But this pressure eventually wore off as the band members got the opportunity to do what they love.

When I perform, I zone in on the music and my personal performance, and I kind of tune out the audience so I can focus. It was just like any other performance, except it happened to be 90 degrees and humid in our full uniforms,” senior Sam Wang said.

The trip to Disney not only offers a place for band students to hone their musical abilities but also can help them develop a deeper connection to the band community.

“It is a great learning opportunity to get to watch, learn, and interact with members of bands from all across the country. It is really fun when our students realize that students from other bands are just like them,” Placek said.

Overall, the band is a place for students to grow, both as musicians and individuals. It fosters a sense of community that the band will never forget. But most of all, it gives students the chance to make their own kind of magic.