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The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Pascack Hills Music Department trip to Disney

On Dec. 6, the Pascack Hills Chamber Choir and Concert Band made a long-awaited journey to Orlando, Fla. to share their music on a global stage.
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Alex White
The Pascack Hills Music Department.

On Dec. 6, the Pascack Hills Chamber Choir and Concert Band made a long-awaited journey to Orlando, Fla. to share their music on a global stage. As the student musicians boarded the bus to take them to the airport, the music department realized a dream six years in the making.

This trip was originally planned to take place in Dec. 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic put it on hold. After many years of planning and countless hours of rehearsal, the five-day excursion became reality.

Julia Du, a senior member of the Concert Band who was supposed to attend this trip her freshman year, reflects on the experience. 

“It was wonderful to finally bring our department on this trip after waiting so many years. It felt like a full-circle moment to have this final hurrah with my bandmates,” she said.

Many helping hands helped bring this trip to fruition. Bringing numerous musical instruments and two ensembles to Florida was no easy feat. 

It was wonderful to finally bring our department on this trip after waiting so many years. It felt like a full-circle moment to have this final hurrah with my bandmates

— Hills senior Julia Du

“The logistics of the trip were jam-packed! We had 14+ hour days on this trip,” said Ryan Dore, the Pascack Hills Director of Bands.

Upon reaching Orlando on Wednesday morning the group promptly headed over to Disney Springs, Disney’s downtown shopping center. Following some dinner, students found themselves with time to explore, shop, and were enlightened by all the beautifully adorned lights and Christmas trees on the property.  

On the morning of Dec. 7, the Concert Band was brought backstage to Disney Imagination Campus, an opportunity that allowed band members to learn how to contribute to guests’ experience at Downtown Disney. The band then performed repertoire including “Star Wars The Marches” by John Williams and Jerry Brubaker and “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Klaus Baddelt and arranged by Ted Ricketts on the Waterfront Stage for an audience of people from all around the world. 

“It made me realize what music can do. I even got chills during the performance,” said senior band member Christine Yang.

The musicians then made their way to EPCOT, where they were amongst some of the first to see the new fireworks and light show, “Luminous The Symphony of Us at EPCOT,” which celebrates Disney’s 100th anniversary. Through curated music and visuals, the show tells the shared stories of the human experience. 

The following day, the Chamber Choir was featured at ICON park in downtown Orlando, singing songs that included “The Circle of Life” by Lebohang Morake and Hans Zimmer and arranged by Roger Emerson, and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” arranged by Pentatonix, in front of the iconic ferris wheel. 

“The Chamber Choir captured the hearts of the audience, and the performance left an indelible mark on the students,” said Margarita Elkin, the Pascack Hills Director of Choir, “Families, tourists, and Disney enthusiasts alike were captivated by the harmonious melodies and skillful execution of each piece. The students’ hard work and dedication to their craft shone through, creating a sense of pride and accomplishment that will be cherished for years to come.”

This trip fostered a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the students. Shared laughter, singing on the bus, and the joy of exploring a new environment together all contributed to the music family formed during this adventure

— Director of Choirs Margarita Elkin

The remainder of the trip was filled with thrilling rides and butterbeer at Universal Studios, and Disney magic at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, respectively. 

“This trip fostered a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the students. Shared laughter, singing on the bus, and the joy of exploring a new environment together all contributed to the music family formed during this adventure,” she said.

The connection between musicians is crucial to the success of an ensemble, and this trip allowed students to learn the value of team performance.

“The shared experience of performing for a global audience in such an iconic place was a huge accomplishment. As most students in attendance take choir and band for four years, this trip has continuously solidified the family bond amongst members,” said Dore. 

Check out this gallery for photos, contributed by Elkin and Dore.

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About the Contributors
Bethany Chen, Hills Life Editor
Bethany Chen is a senior at Hills. She joined the Trailblazer her sophomore year as a staff writer and edited for the Hills Life section her junior year. This year, Chen is excited to continue reporting on the clubs and student life at Hills. Fun fact: Chen was born in Los Angeles, Calif.
Alanna Karuru, Staff Writer

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