It was the ninth trip to Disney Magic Music for Sue and Gale Graham, but this one was one to remember.
Glide High School’s music programs have been making a trip to Disneyland every other year to perform and learn from professionals.
“The last two have been the best for us, as far as talent,” Glide High School music teacher Gale Graham said. “These kids are really talented and able to put up with the pressure of performing at Disneyland so the last two runs to Disneyland were fun to go and perform.”
Sue Graham, who teaches math at the high school, helped organize the trip to Anaheim, California, for the students in band and choir at Glide High School.
This year 51 students made the trip to Disneyland during spring break and performed on stage and took direction from The Walt Disney Co. professionals.
“It really makes all the difference,” GHS Principal Kristina Haug said. “They work with a director and people in the industry. And they work until it’s perfect.”
Glide High School students participated in fundraisers for two years to raise money for the $37,000 trip. In addition to raising funds through an auction and selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts on Black Friday, students also had to pay $250 to go on the trip.
Students put on a concert in the theme park and worked in a professional studio to make their own soundtrack.
“It’s an opportunity to sing with professional stage crews. We were miked up pretty good, because we sounded really good,” Gale Graham said. “Disney has incredible microphone systems so they pick up lots of stuff and they are very professional and things go pretty smoothly with the Disney folks.”
Choir students performed Africa, Betelehemu, Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet, Baba Yetu, Bonse Aba, Stay and Sisi Kushangilia for the professionals.
“We were able to learn how to work professionally with other people and it’s a really fun experience too,” junior Maddie Clark said.
Choir students worked with director Melissa Wackerman, a Disney ambassador who has performed at a variety of different theme parks.
They also learned about different jobs in the music industry.
“We performed on a bigger stage in a bigger auditorium,” senior Mashayla Belloir said. It was the second time Belloir went to Disney Magic Music.
Just like the choir, the band performs a soundtrack to a video. Band members had a chance to watch the video without music first.
“It was absolutely dead, there was no sound and you look at that and you go ‘that’s terrible,’” Gale Graham said. “And then you add the kids’ soundtrack and all of a sudden it comes to life.”
There were eight students who participated in band and choir during the visit to Disneyland, which meant they spent about five hours each day performing.
Gale Graham will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, and this will likely be his last trip to Disneyland.
“We don’t know what it’s going to be like yet,” Haug said. “We’re not going to say it will be or will not be. It just depends upon the next person and what they’re willing to put into it, because it does take a ton of time.”