In my sophomore year, spring 2008, at East Detroit High School, I had an extraordinary opportunity. As a member of our marching band I went to perform at and tour Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Our band director, Mr. Jim Ohrt, was retiring in June and he desired a last “hurrah” with all of his talented students of music. We stayed at Disney for a week and explored all the theme parks, including Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, and Magic Kingdom. There were about sixty students and ten chaperones who attended this excursion.
Flying there and back offered us a wonderful amount of time to enjoy Florida rather than the bumpy drudgery of long days on the usual busses we might have taken. Flying was precise without confusion and was a mere two and a half hours. We reserved our hotel rooms on Disney’s resort in one of their 6 hotels, a fabulous accommodation with great service. Every day we rose early and visited a new and fun landmark. We would experience the wonderland and excitement until late when the gates closed. The greatest and most important experience we had, was marching in their parade one night at Magic Kingdom. Our participation in the parade was the main reason we traveled to this vacationers paradise.
Just attending such a function as a spectator, let alone marching in the parade, meant the world to me. The authority we commanded to our audience demonstrated our group’s musical talent as high school students and my own personal ability. I am thrilled to have pursued this venture. I am proud that my band was chosen for that special day. I felt the excitement to be honored with such a performance. The thought, the reality that our marching band was considered to have the excellence to be in the top ten percent of such bands across the country was a great honor I will never forget!
Although this challenge for our group in the Sunshine State was pleasure-filled, it was also a fantastic learning experience. During the seven days I had gained knowledge. One moment that truly stands out in my mind is the most crucial and memorable. I learned that if I strive to be the best that I can be on my clarinet and keep practicing at what I’m trying to accomplish, I can complete anything. Anyone, like myself, can reach his or her goal if they strive for industry competency. Never give up on anything. I never thought I would be marching at Disney World in the Magic Kingdom night parade they offer to the public once a week. When I heard about the opportunity, I tried my hardest and therefore, gave all from the fiber of my being to capture this once in a lifetime experience. I had a wonderful time mastering this trip with my fellow classmates and my expert band director. It was a life changing event, that someday I will be sharing with others for years to come, even with my own grandchildren.
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