Kyle Talbot said he isn't shocked, but the 17 year-old senior at Valley Center High School (VCHS) sure is excited that he along with 64 other students get to travel to Disneyland in December and perform in the popular amusement park's daily parade.
Members of the percussion section show off their skills. Photos courtesy of Laura Talbot
"I was very happy that it happened," said Talbot, drum captain for the band. "I wasn't surprised as much, after watching the video and everything I figured we were pretty prepared for what we had to do. Everyone worked hard enough. I knew after we sent the video that we had to get in because I was really impressed with how well we performed."
As the VCHS Marching band does every year, they set a goal to be selected to perform at Disneyland last year after hearing about the program, Talbot told the Roadrunner in an interview earlier this week. The group made and submitted a video for consideration and was ultimately chosen to march in the parade. They'll perform on Dec. 9, he said.
"We actually heard about it the beginning of last year, Talbot said. "Mr. Beck told us about it and that basically became one of our main goals. We wanted to move ourselves up as a band in general. We started with a smaller goal and we wanted to get bigger and bigger so that was our goal for last year and we achieved that goal."
Disneyland's Community Arts Showcase program offers an exclusive performance opportunity in Disneyland Park of Disney California Adventure for performing groups within the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, according to John McClintock, a spokesman for the park.
"There is an auditioning process," McClintock said of the program that involves schools and non-professional groups. "They usually submit an audio tape of performance to make sure they meet our performing standards."
Once a group is selected they either march in the parade or perform on the stage at one of the two parks.
"They do whatever is appropriate based on their performance." McClintock said.
"Our band members will not only have the honor to perform a Disneyland parade, but will receive free admission to the park as well," said Jeff Beck, band director. "We were invited by Disneyland to perform December 9th, 2013."
The performance at Disneyland isn't the only outstanding achievement the band has achieved. According to Beck, The band also won first place in the Escondido Christmas parade last year. "This recent accomplishment with the free trip to show off their skills at Disneyland goes along with the Valley Center High School Band's winning tradition," he said.
Performing at a venue the size of Disneyland doesn't mean the band gets to rest on its laurels though. The group is currently practicing hard to prepare for their performance in what could potentially be thousands of guests.
"The students are very excited and are practicing hard to prepare," Beck said.
Talbot agrees with Beck that there is a lot of practice involved, but says the payoff will be worth all of the extra time the band is putting in.
"We definitely had to do more training with the marching and getting everyone on the same page," Talbot said. "We did a lot of marching practice outside of school too. People were going over to each other's houses to do different sectionals like the drummers had to come over to my house and we worked together on how to stay in step, how to work properly and all that stuff.
Of course, while the tickets into Disneyland are paid for the group still has expenses that need to be covered said Band Booster president Diane Conaway.
"We need about $4,000 for transportation, uniform cleaning, drum heads, supplies and building shelves inside our recently purchased band trailer," she said, noting that the band just wrapped up one fundraiser and is looking at others to raise money for the trip.
"One way that the community can help to support the band is by becoming a member of boosters," she said. "Every dollar raised will go towards them getting there," she said.
Memberships are available and start at $20 per family. Sponsorships are also available and will receive ads in each of the band's performance programs and start at $100. To become a member of the boosters or become a sponsor send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Conaway at 760-500-1030.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids," Conaway said. "It's an honor to be selected."