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THS Band & Guard Perform at Disney

By Michele Premeaux-Johnson

Students from the Taylor High School Band & Color Guard had the experience of a lifetime over Spring Break.  The group entertained thousands of people as they marched down Main Street USA in Disney World to the cheers and encouraging remarks from the crowd. 


The band played an upbeat Disney medley consisting of The Mickey Mouse March, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious , and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.  The color guard performed in their beautiful bright pink, music note uniforms with matching flags.  81 THS students marched in the mile-long parade that twisted and turned through Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Main Street USA – right in front of Cinderella’s Castle. 


Freshman Tuba player, Levi Luedtke said, “Marching with the band through Disney is a memory I’ll never forget!”


In addition, Junior Color Guard member, Lily Estrada stated, “It felt surreal to be marching down Main Street and seeing everyone cheering and having a good time.  One thing I’ll remember the most is hearing a little girl say, “Mommy, I want to join Color Guard!”


In order to perform in this parade, an application process had to be submitted and approved by the Disney Imagination Campus staff months in advance.  Videos, award recognitions, uniforms and flag types must be submitted for approval before being selected as meeting the Disney standard!   Four directors:  Mr. David Motl, Mr. Jared Perry, Mrs. Briana Perry, and Mrs. Marcie Svatek helped in this process and managed the students throughout the week.


The staff is more than proud of the student’s performance, but even more so, they are proud of the kid’s behavior while traveling for six days together.  Everyone was exhausted, but the kids and adults supported each other to make this a fantastic trip for all involved!  The staff would like to thank the Duck Pack, their booster organization, for paying for the charter busses.  Their generosity allowed for an overall lower cost per student and allowed many students an opportunity they would have otherwise not been able to afford – so again, thanks to the boosters who are appreciated more than they realize!


The trip was memorable not only because of the parade, but also because students experienced so many things that they had never before.  For instance, most of the 81 students had never been to another state.  Now, they can say that they have been to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida – making stops in each one.  They can also say they traveled over 2,300 miles in a bus!  And finally, they were able to attend two Disney parks and Universal Studios! 


Mr. David Motl, TISD’s head band director summed it up by saying, “This trip is good for the kids in so many ways!  They have to be independent and responsible in order for it all to work.  They get to be on their own for several days – maybe for the first time in their lives – which is a great step toward adulthood.  And, of course, they are making memories for a lifetime.  Historically, the band takes this trip every four years, and it’s a highlight of their high school experience.”


Mrs. Marcie Svatek, TISD’s color guard director mirrors Motl’s sentiment saying, “This trip is not just about Disney.  It’s about doing something that you’ve never done before.  It’s about dreaming big and following through.  It’s about working together to achieve something memorable.  And, it’s about making lifelong friends and creating lifelong beautiful memories!”


Some quotes from students:


Alex Ramirez, Senior Percussion captain said, “My favorite memory of our Orlando trip would be the Happily Ever After firework show at Magic Kingdom.  I enjoyed each and every minute of it because it had brought back my inner child and allowed me to have a “magical moment” that everyone is bound to have at some point while visiting Disney.  I was very honored to have been able to participate in marching in the parade at the Magic Kingdom.  Seeing as it was a once in a lifetime experience, it’ll stay with me forever.  At first, I was nervous due to the extremely large crowd, but I relaxed and was able to live in the moment and enjoy it.  I definitely encourage future band members to go on this trip when their time comes and to enjoy it all!”


 “It was a once in a lifetime experience for me – for many!  And, for me, my favorite memory is seeing all the characters from my childhood.” Brooke Schweiger, Senior Color Guard officer,  remarked.


Izabel Johnson, Junior Percussion member stated that her favorite memory was speed walking through Hollywood Studios with her group and being stopped by the “First Order Stormtroopers!”  It was incredible!”


Melanie Badillo, Senior Color Guard Captain remarked, “Going to Disney World with the band and guard was such an incredible experience.  It was like going to Disney with all your friends and family because that’s what our organization is – one big family.  We got to experience so many things and had so much fun, thanks to the band directors, color guard director and the DUCK PACK.  Performing at Disney was also a huge part of our trip that was incredible.  We performed to make people happy, which is the most amazing feeling in the world!  What meant a lot was the people who came from Taylor just to see us and cheer us on.  And, a huge thanks to Coach Svatek, who had us prepared to give an excellent performance.”


Junior Saxophone player, Gray Talavera said, “It was an exciting new experience that I was thankfully able to enjoy with some of my closest friends!”


 “My trip to Orlando was an amazing and magical experience that I got to have with my favorite people!” said Lilah Reynolds, Sophomore Color Guard.


Ebeny Cosme, Senior Drum Major stated, “Disney at Orlando was a once in a lifetime experience that I can only begin to try and put into words.  I felt so full of pride and joy that our small town was blessed with an opportunity as such.  My friends and I were screaming and laughing as we approached the castle, feeling like little girls again – and to later have marched down Main Street in front of it was euphoric.  There were a few times I felt a lump in my throat, unable to believe where I was and what I was doing!  I’m forever grateful to have shared this experience and create these everlasting memories with my band family.