‘Twas the night before Christmas… No wait, ‘Twas May 21st. Just months before this momentous day, it was official that the Foxcroft Academy Marching Band was invited to perform in Disney World in Orlando Florida. This may not seem like a big deal to someone in a larger school in a larger state with a larger band program. But to this rural school in central Maine, the feat of getting accepted to perform at Disney was an accomplishment unmet for many years in Dover.
I heard this idea freshman year when in a small ensemble with the band director when he said “It would be really cool if we could take a band to Disney!”. At the time I thought that his idea was just a day dram at the most. But the more time that went by, the more I saw that the chance of this happening was increasing. The next year we started practicing our songs and we could see the band coming together. At the end of the sophomore year we started the fundraising.
Faster than I could imagine, it was Junior year and we starting fundraising at a rate which I never thought possible. We had a price estimate of over $30,000 to raise in less than six months. I remember that we had $9,000 saved when we went to send our audition to Disney. Outside it was far from a Magic Kingdom. The day that we recorded the audition it was well below freezing. You can view the audition for yourself here.
A few weeks later we were contacted by Disney in Orlando saying that they would have us perform in their park. The band was overcome with joy. Many of the members including myself had doubts about the odds of our being accepted.
But the work was far from over. With the morals of the band being at an apex, the fundraiser was kicked into high gear. When May rolled around we had an excess of $30,000. With months away from our performance date, we were putting our whole attention on practicing our pieces.
The band left Dover-Foxcroft Maine on May 17th at 11am. Fortunately I was not with them for the bus ride. I flew into Orlando a day after they left Maine and made it to Orlando minutes after they did. I had been out of the state for about 2 months and I didn’t think I would be moving back to Maine afterward so the the excitement to see my friends again was indescribable.
When we were at Orlando the the temperature was over 100 degrees with a soaring humidity rate. The first day at Disney we went to Epcot. With the total of three days at Disney we only performed for 2 hours. You can see us perform for over 15,000 people here.
The rest of the time that we had at Disney was for us to use as we pleased. We spent an entire day at Epcot, and an entire day in The Magic Kingdom, and the final day in Hollywood Studios.
With all of the hard work that we did to make this idea a reality only made the time there more enjoyable. I believe that being in band was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not because of the trip to Disney, or the prospect of adventures. But the memories, and the nice people that I met.