Students will also learn directly from Disney musicians

    Along with making memories and getting to perform in front of huge crowds at Disney World, the trip to Florida taken every four years by Crookston High School band, choir and orchestra students is also meant to expose them to things some of them have maybe never seen or done before, like seeing the ocean or flying in an airplane.

    But the whole “new experience” thing reached a new level during the 2013 trip, said then-chaperone Chris Fee, who’s head of the Crookston Music Trip Parent Organization (CMTPO) this time around, as everyone gears up for this spring’s trip. Updating the Crookston School Board this week on the trip, Fee recalled how two girls, once everyone arrived at the airport, had never seen an escalator before, much less tried to go up or down one. One of the girls almost fell over, he said. It was all good, though, he added.

    “It makes the trip worth it just to see kids experience so many things for the first time,” Fee said.
Nuts and bolts of this year’s trip

    According to Fee, here’s how this year’s trip will shake down:

    On March 31, 160 music students and 18 chaperones that include the three music instructors will fly out of Grand Forks and fly direct to Orlando. Bergan Travel is being utilized to set the trip up, Fee said. “We made the switch to go with someone local like Bergan, and it’s been a nice change so far,” he said.

    The group will be staying at Music Resort on Disney Properties. The first day, Friday, they’ll spend five hours at Sea World. Saturday, they’ll be at Magic Kingdom. The Marching Band will perform that day, and Fee said Band Instructor Chris Gough was able to get the band into the Main Street Parade, which is one of the major parades.

    “Everyone’s pretty excited about that,” Fee said. “Thousands and thousands of people will see the Crookston Marching Band.”

    It’ll be a long day, he added, with everyone at Magic Kingdom from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    Sunday, Epcot Center will be the daylong destination.

    Monday, it’s off to Animal Kingdom for a morning visit, then Hollywood Studios in the evening. Between those two excursions, the orchestra will perform at Disney Springs at 2 p.m., followed by the choir at 5:15 p.m. Fee said efforts are underway to see if the two performances could possibly be scheduled closer together.

    Tuesday, everyone will be at Universal Studios all day. Then, on the last day of the trip on Wednesday, everyone will visit Kennedy Space Center, the first time that excursion is on a music trip itinerary. “It’s not music related, but they will definitely learn some new things,” Fee said of the new excursion.

    Then, Wednesday afternoon, another new stop has been added: Coco Beach, where the kids will be able to splash in some ways and dip their feet in the sand for a couple hours. Previous music trips to Florida did not allow for any beach time, Fee noted, but over the years so many students, as they’ve descended into Florida and seen the Atlantic Ocean outside their airplane windows, have asked if they’re going to the beach that CMTPO members decided the kids should get to experience the sea and the sand.

    Also new to this year’s trip are Disney music workshops, Fee said. Every band, choir and orchestra student will spend 2.5 hours with a Disney musician, learning how to better their craft. “That’s a pretty neat opportunity, we think,” he said.

    The chartered plane is expected to land back in Grand Forks on Wednesday, April 5 at around 10 p.m.

    Each student going on the trip has had to raise or otherwise come up with $1,850, Fee said, or around $50 more than the kids who went on the 2013 trip had to pay. Every kid going on this year’s trip has paid in full, he noted. Frozen food fundraisers and other initiatives have been underway since almost the moment the 2013 trip concluded.

    “This last year especially has been really busy, but everyone’s excited,” Fee said. “The kids were very well behaved on the last trip, and we’re anticipating that again on this trip.”