Local students get the chance of a lifetime with Disney

Thurber band learns the recording ropes from professional clinician

Band students at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School recently took the trip of a lifetime to perform at Disneyland alongside band director Jennifer Mann.

“They were on a high in the performance being able to play in the park. I think the thing that they also enjoyed too was seeing kids from other schools there as well,” said Mann.

Mann estimates that there were probably six other schools in the park at the same time. The opportunity to play in the Disneyland came about when Mann went to a conference and picked up the information regarding how to get involved.

“I found out you had to submit an application and part of that was a video audition so I put that together in the fall.”

Later, after having submitted all the required application pieces, Mann learned that her students had been accepted to go on the trip.

By the time her application was accepted, she had already gained school board approval for the students to attend and the trip planning was under way.

Along with performing in the theme park, the band also got to perform in the California Adventure Park, a theme park across from Disneyland.

Both performances consisted of four pieces, but Mann chose to have six pieces to select from so each show would be different.

The group of 43 students also got to visit the new Grammy Museum as well as spend some time in Disneyland on the rides.

On the trip were 12 graduating students who Mann had a special surprise planned for.

“There is a program called Disney’s Grad Night so a couple of weeks before we left I contacted the parents and found out if they would allow me to do this with the students.”

Grad Night is an all night event during which the graduating students have access to the park all to themselves after the park closes to the public.

One of the things that Mann says is important for the trips the band does each year is to make it a learning experience of some sort.

This year’s trip allowed the students some time with a clinician in a recording studio.

“They recorded a song and then when they played it back it was played to the film clip of the movie the song originated from.”

Kate Goertzen, one of the students on the trip said the studio time was the best part of the trip.

“Kids said they really enjoyed the soundtrack session because they were treated as professional musicians and given the opportunities to work in the studio where professionals would,” said Mann.

The group was also told by the clinician that most bands get through three or four pieces in the soundtrack session as opposed to Mann’s students’ six pieces.

“He said if we weren’t the most outstanding group that he’s worked with that we were definitely in the top three.”

Goertzen explained that one of the biggest things she learned was that being a part of the music industry isn’t just what you see.

“Musicians can get into different places and if someone wants to continue in music that there’re always jobs that you wouldn’t expect out there.”

Some of these unexpected jobs were shown to the students in their behind-the-scenes experience where they learned about the sound technicians, recording studio staff, as well as seeing the clinician and learning about the work they do.

“Band is a lot of fun and you meet tons of new people that you’ll stay friends with for a long time. It gives lots of opportunities to travel and get new musical experiences,” said Goertzen.