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UPFRONT: DESTINATION ORLANDO

Mike Lawson • June 2003 • June 1, 2003

With its pleasant climate and copious attractions, Orlando, Fla., has historically been a popular destination for school music groups across the country. With so many festival and performance opportunities available, directors may have a difficult time deciding which option is best for their ensembles. With that thought in mind, SBO presents an alphabetical guide to some of the music-related activities in the Orlando area.

All American Music Festival

The All American Music Festival, a not-for-profit educational organization, offers bands and orchestras the opportunity to perform live at the Hard Rock Live Concert Hall, located at Universal Studios CityWalk. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the All American Music Festival specializes in providing adjudicated musical events for concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, orchestras, choral groups, color guards, drill teams, and other performance groups.

As a member of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Youth Travel Planner Advisory Board for the last decade, the All American Music Festival can arrange trips to Disney’s Magic Music Days program or Universal Studios’ “Lights, Camera, Music!” through its official travel company, American Tours and Travel. For more information, visit www.bandfest.com.

Disney Magic Music Days

Musical ensembles become honorary Walt Disney World entertainers for the day when they perform as part of the Disney Magic Music Days program in Lake Buena Vista (also held at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.). Marching bands are featured in the mile-long pre-parade shows down the Main Street, U.S.A. route, as well as at Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios. Concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras and other musical ensembles can perform at outdoor and indoor stages in Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Downtown Disney Marketplace.

In addition to the performance opportunities, Disney Magic Music Days offers four educational workshops for instrumental ensembles, led by professional entertainers. The workshops focus on developing musicianship skills such as sight-reading, performance techniques, self-discipline, professionalism and setting priorities. For more information, visit www.magicmusicdays.com.

Festivals of Music/Music in the Parks

Festivals of Music offers adjudicated weekend festivals for instrumental and vocal ensembles at a variety of destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including three weekends in Orlando in spring 2004. Festival packages include taped and written comments by a panel of three adjudicators; post-performance clinic or sight-reading session; and park admission with a picnic meal.

Music in the Parks offers one- and two-day adjudicated events that include an awards ceremony at Universal Studios on weekends throughout April and May 2004. Ensembles – marching band, concert band, jazz band, orchestra – can enter for competition or rating only.

For more information about these two festivals, visit www.festivalsofmusic.com and www.musicintheparks.com.

Musicfest Orlando

Produced in conjunction with the Walt Disney World Resort, Musicfest Orlando offers educational events and competitions for concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, choirs and auxiliary units. The festival includes a clinic/critique conducted by an adjudicator following each ensemble’s performance and culminates with an awards presentation at the Disney-MGM Studios, featuring Disney entertainment. An assortment of packages include admission to the Walt Disney World theme parks. For more information, visit www.musicfestorlando.com.

Ron Jon Surf Shop

The Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach invites performing groups from schools across the country to perform for its shoppers, through its Group Tour program. (Each participating student receives a 15 percent discount card for Ron Jon merchandise.) The 52,000-square-foot surf board, swimwear and beach apparel shop, which opened in 1963 and operates 24 hours a day, attracts 2.4 million visitors annually. For more information about performance opportunities, visit www.ronjons.com.

Universal Orlando

The Universal Orlando resort features the “Lights, Camera, Music!” program, which allows music students to be the stars of the show and entertain thousands of guests at venues inside Universal’s movie and adventure theme parks. The resort is comprised of two theme parks – the original Universal Studios park and the new Islands of Adventure park.

Stage performances for concert bands, orchestras and other ensembles are conducted on the CityWalk Plaza Stage in the CityWalk Entertainment Complex. Marching bands follow a half-mile route through the outdoor Islands of Adventure park, passing through attractions such as Seuss’ Landing and under the Hulk Roller Coaster. For more information, visit www.universalorlandogroupsales.com.
 

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