Schreiber’s ensembles (Photos from Port Washington Union Free School District)

Paul D. Schreiber High School’s Trip To Disney Springs

A Memorable Musical Journey

By Devin Spizz

On April 5, the Schreiber High School music department embarked on their quadrennial trip to DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. This trip, which encompassed the band, orchestra, and chorus, provided students with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in a world-famous venue like Disney while furthering their musical education.  

Their biggest performance took place on that Saturday at the Disney Springs complex, where  under the conduction of Mr. Helfer and Mr. Prindle, the band performed a selection of pieces. The repertoire included “Mid American,” as well as melodies from Pixar and Disney movies such as “Under the Sea” and “You’ve Got Friend in Me.”  The musicians also performed “Washington Post,” a classic John Philip Sousa march known for its energetic style.  

Yasmeen Muñoz, a senior viola player, shared her experience, saying “We garnered a crowd of over 100 people which was really gratifying to know so many people wanted to hear us play.  Our performance even moved one woman to tears, with her expressing that after seeing our performance, she wants her son to get involved in music.”

In addition to their performance, the trip included workshops tailored to each discipline (band, orchestra, chorus), where students received specialized instruction, feedback, and exposure to new musical techniques.  All students, regardless of what instrument they play, had the privilege to work alongside a Disney composer.  With this guidance, the students played music which was then overlaid onto iconic movie scenes.  The Orchestra performed pieces from Tangled and Star Wars, the Band from Moana and Star Wars, and the Chorus from The Lion King.  

Outside of traditional musical education, this trip aimed to foster a sense of community and teamwork among students. The Schreiber Music Department spans grades 9-12, and in addition, the band and orchestra both have an audition group, a mixed group, and a freshman group.  Therefore, spending this time together fostered an environment for promoting unity within the music department as well as the broader school community. 

Trombone player Eve Siff-Scherr shared that “Living and dining together allowed for a more integrated experience, fostering camaraderie and unity within the music department. Experiencing music in such a unique and magical setting at Disney added an extra layer of excitement and inspiration. The trip provided a memorable chance for students to bond over shared experiences, create lasting friendships and enhance their passion for music in a collaborative environment.”

Mr. Helfner, one of the Schreiber band teachers, shared a similar sentiment.  He grew up playing music, and to this day says he still has vivid memories of the trips he took as a band student. As a teacher, he hopes to pass down this love to his students and provide opportunities for them to create their own experiences.  

According to Mr. Helfner, “Being in the music program is such a special bond and family in itself, but going on these trips, whether it’s a bus ride or a plane, strengthens this family-feeling.  When I was in the band growing up, it was these trips and family-feel that I remember the most.” 

When speaking of this trip, it is important not to overlook all the work that went on behind-the-scenes.  Fundraising played a crucial role in making this trip possible for all students. The school-wide talent show served as a primary fundraising event, where students, faculty, administration, and even Superintendent Dr. Hynes contributed their talents to attract attendees and raise money.  Additional individual fundraising efforts throughout the year further helped to support this trip’s costs.  Moreover, these performances were the culmination of hours and hours of practice.  This was difficult to arrange, however, as all three departments of the Schreiber music program came together in these pieces.  Their solution: a two-period in-school field trip where the students were able to go over everything together.  On top of this, students attended sectionals for additional practice.  

This trip provided students with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.  Performing in such an iconic place allowed students to explore music at a deeper level, but also an opportunity to  consider it as a serious future career.  After the conclusion of such a magical trip, the program now hopes to have an overnight trip every year in addition to the Disney trip every four years.

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