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The royal treatment: MHS band travels to Walt Disney World

Not many bands can say they've marched down Main Street of Walt Disney World -- but soon Mitchell High School can. The band hit the road Wednesday afternoon for a 32-hour bus drive to Orlando, Florida, where the group will spend the next several ...

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Mitchell High School band students receive assistance loading instruments, equipment and luggage onto buses on Wednesday at the performing arts center in Mitchell. The Mitchell High School marching band is traveling to Walt Disney World in Florida to march in the Magic Kingdom and attend a musical workshop. (Sarah Barclay / Republic)

Not many bands can say they’ve marched down Main Street of Walt Disney World - but soon Mitchell High School can.

The band hit the road Wednesday afternoon for a 32-hour bus drive to Orlando, Florida, where the group will spend the next several days exploring the park that is commonly known as the “happiest place on Earth.” While there, the band will participate in a parade that few other bands have: the Magic Kingdom March.

With band director Ryan Stahle at the helm, an approximate 80 students and 10 chaperones will make the trip. This is a major trip held for high school band students every four years, Stahle said.

The busses will pull into Florida Thursday night, and Friday the activities begin.

The first item on the itinerary is an instrumental workshop at Epcot Park in Walt Disney World. There, students will spend hours working with a Disney clinician and sound staff to record an animation soundtrack to a popular Disney movie.

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When the band traveled to Disney World in 2013 and 2009, Stahle said the groups scored Disney classics “Lion King” and the “The Little Mermaid.” The music created was recorded, synced to the movie and put on a DVD for the group to have.

“They really treat you like royalty and get you in staging area and everything is so professional,” Stahle said. “The kids I can tell are more excited for Space Mountain, and all those rides, but what they don’t really know until they get down there is those workshops and the parade is just a ton of fun, too.”

On Saturday, the real work begins. That morning the band will line up to march in the Magic Kingdom parade that runs through the park’s Main Street.

While the MHS band has marched before at Walt Disney World in the parade held at the Epcot park, Stahle said the band has never been invited to participate in the Magic Kingdom March, which is significantly harder to be a part of.

“They’re so meticulous with everything about that park, you can’t just be any band and get in there,” Stahle said of the parade. “They typically don’t allow you to perform in that parade unless you’ve got experience.”

And the parade is quick, too, lasting approximately 15 minutes, Stahle said.

It hasn’t been the easiest to prepare for this gig, either. Stahle said luckily with the recent warm temperatures, the band was able to march outside, but in the past practice sessions have been indoors.

But Stahle’s not worried, stating students are already good to begin with. And while the Saturday performance won’t be perfect, it’ll still be worthwhile.

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For the rest of the trip, the group will be exploring the Walt Disney World Resort, and enjoying the trip it has been fundraising for months - and for some, years - for.

“It’s fun to see the kids enjoying themselves and see them come together and enjoying things for music, which is main purpose for taking the trip,” Stahle said. “And just having that time around one another. We obviously get a lot of that time during the marching band season and during the course of the year, but it’s just a different environment and atmosphere.”

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Mitchell High School students prepare to get on buses on Wednesday at the performing arts center in Mitchell. The Mitchell High School marching band is traveling to Walt Disney World in Florida to march in the Magic Kingdom and attend a musical workshop. (Sarah Barclay / Republic)

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