Lawrence High School students will once again bring music to the most magical place on earth. And it wouldn’t happen without a little magic from the community.
On March 24, 240 students from the Lawrence High School Orchestra, Dance Team, Chorus and Marching Band will board a flight to spend three days in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. This will be the fine arts program’s seventh trip to Disney since 1999.
Assistant Superintendent Gary Schall, who will take over as superintendent on July 1, was the district’s director of music when he started organizing the biennial trip.
“No one is excluded that is deserving of this opportunity,” Schall said. “This is something that we have parental support and community support to make happen.”
No public money is used, so the high school’s fine arts program spends the entire two years between trips raising funds. Since 2009 the band has played at several events to raise money, including Greek, Israeli Day and India Independence Day parades in New York City. It also had the thrill of being the musical escort for the All-American Rejects at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Various civic organizations in Lawrence help sponsor the trip, including the Kiwanis Club of the Five Towns, which raised $800, the entire cost for one student. And the trip gets help in other ways. Terry Inglis is a parent of a former Lawrence High student and a founder of JetBlue. The airline gives the group discounted rates and first-class service.
“Let me put it to you this way, you can’t move through an airport as quickly as I can with 240 students,” Schall said, laughing.
Wayde Daniels, another Lawrence parent, owns Sound Moves, a Queens-based music equipment transportation company with clients like U2, the Rolling Stones and the American Ballet Theatre. He offered his services to the program free of charge.
On March 25 the marching band and dance team will be featured in the Magic Kingdom’s daily parade. The following day the orchestra, comprised of more than 70 students, will give a concert on the stage in Downtown Disney. The chorus will also perform a Disney medley at Downtown Disney.
Schall, a yoga enthusiast, will be offering pool-side classes at the Marriott Sea World Hotel, where the group is staying, each morning at 6 a.m.
“They are counting on me to lead the yoga classes in the morning,” he said, joking about his purpose on the trip.