The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 30, 2008


The CCHS Chorus meet Mickey

The CCHS Chorus raise their voices in song on an outdoor stage at Downtown Disney. (Courtesy photo)

I believe I speak for everyone when I say that the morning of May 1, 2008, was like no other morning. That was when 44 students from the CCHS Chorus and six chaperones departed for Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to do what we all enjoy – sing!

There was no greater feeling than walking into I-6 at 7:20 a.m. and dropping off bags and other belongings, because at that point there was nothing else to do but wait. Concentrating in classes was impossible because the only thing on our minds was 2:05 p.m., when we would stampede to the meeting point outside the chorus room while the bus drivers loaded our luggage into the buses.  Hearts racing and energy waiting to escape, we arrived at Logan International Airport to board our Delta flight to Orlando.  I have never flown in the evening, so watching the sunset at 21,000 feet was an incredible experience. 

Welcome aboard!

Shortly after announcing that we had reached our cruising altitude, the captain said, “We would like to welcome aboard the Concord-Carlisle High School Chorus and wish them the best of luck!”  I felt bad for the other passengers onboard.  It was just their luck to be on this flight with all the loud and ecstatic teenagers.

After we landed at Orlando International Airport and collected our stuff at baggage claim, we were met by reps for Pathfinders (our tour company).  They escorted us to our own coach, and we were whisked off to the Disney All-Star Music Resort.  After unloading the bus and getting food after a long day/night, it was curfew time.  Doors were taped so there was no escape until 7:45 a.m. on the morning of our day at Epcot. Marvelous wonders awaited us, but no day could be started without breakfast, and we were given breakfast vouchers each morning.  There’s nothing like enjoying strawberry pancakes with bacon while sitting outside by the pool with your friends, trying to plan which rides were going to be tagged first.

Out-of-this-world rides

After dozens of pictures in front of the Epcot ball, we ventured toward our first ride, Mission: SPACE!  That was more than just a ride, it was a realistic space mission and a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be an astronaut.   Directly next to that was Test Track, a ride that simulated all the rigors of being a
crash-test dummy. You sat in a car and went through a bunch of tests that a car would need to go through in order to pass a safety test.  It was kind of cool.  Sadly, we were not able to get to Soarin’,  due to a two-hour wait.  That was okay, we did have a workshop to look forward to. 

At the workshop, the three hours went by like nothing. During the process, we recreated the music to The Lion King and it was put over a video from the movie – Disney really is where Magic happens!  On performance day it was very satisfying to see that there were people in the audience during our concert. At least we weren’t roasting in our tuxes for nothing! Despite the heat, it was exciting to perform on a Disney stage. 

Mickey Mouse vanquishes villains

One of the best shows was Fantasmic, the night show a group of us went to see at MGM/Hollywood Studios. In this show, presented over the water, Mickey Mouse defeats all the villains of the Disney movies. There were astonishing pyrotechnics, and different Disney clips that appeared on a huge cloud of mist. Although this event and many other things made
this trip great, the highlight for me was the last-day adventure for the Goon Squad (Mike Flaherty, James Smith, Ben Lesser and I). 

On our last day in Disney, we managed to do something that I’m fairly sure no one has ever done:  defeat the Tower of Terror by
riding it a total of eight times in a three-hour period.  That means we averaged one ride every 12 minutes.  On what we thought was our last ride, we were pulled aside by one of the “bell hops.”  None of us had any idea what was going on as the four of us were brought through a door that said
“Employees Only.”  We walked down to a tunnel area, and on the other side was a line of people waiting to get on the ride. So in simpler terms, we got to cut to the front of the line because we rode it so many times!

Trip brings students together

But aside from rides and shows, I think that this trip brought a lot of kids closer together. Some of us have even started friendships that probably would not have existed had we all not been together on this trip. There are different outlooks on chaperones now, having seen them outside
the classroom, but never a loss of respect.  Overall, I think we have become a very close-knit group, instead of B block, C block, Select and Women’s.  We are all members of the Concord-Carlisle High School Chorus. We left for Orlando as individuals, but came back a family.∆

More on the concert

Daniel Rivenburgh, CCHS student teacher, offers his own recollections of the chorus’s workshop and performance at Disney.

In the workshop we had the opportunity to work with a professional Disney singer on a medley from The Lion King, which we then recorded onto a video montage of scenes from the film.  Amy, our clinician, had us working hard the entire time and ended our session with a rendition of the Mickey Mouse song, complete with choreography. We were told we were performing for an audience of 1,000 invisible people, but unbeknownst to us, there was a very visible guest waiting behind the scenes. As we were immersed in song and dance, a large set of ears made its way from behind the curtain. As we sang, “Hey there, Hi there, Ho there, you’re as welcome as can be...” out rushed the very animated (no pun intended) Mickey Mouse.  After a big hug to Ms. Smith and attention from some other enthusiastic chorus members, Mickey shared some words of advice and, most importantly, told us all to keep on singing.

Performing outdoors

And keep on singing we did!  The following day was our performance on the Dock Stage at Downtown Disney. The sensation of singing in a full tux at 12 noon on an outdoor stage in Orlando is a sensation that I experienced along with the boys of the CCHS Chorus. While the breeze was helpful, it was not the best thing for keeping music on a stand. 

In the end, despite the wind and the heat, the performance went very well.  We were given a Mickey statue commemorating our Magic Music Days performance, and it now sits proudly in the CCHS chorus room. While there were many fun rides, great meals, and interesting moments, performing and conducting these students under those “extreme performance conditions” (as Choral Director Deborah Smith so accurately put it) was the most memorable moment of the trip. We could now fully relax and spend two days enjoying the rest of the Disney Parks. After hours of roller coasters, scary elevators, talking candlesticks, and safaris, we were ready to head back to Massachusetts with new memories and experiences within us. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito