Riverhead students in the high school’s chamber choir, jazz band and chamber orchestra performed at Walt Disney World last Friday as part of a music celebrations with high school bands from around the country.
The 70 young musicians from Riverhead High School were invited to the music festival after submitting audition tapes to Disney Performing Arts specialists, school officials said.
The group spent 10 months practicing and raising money for their trip through cupcake and jewelry sales, a garage sale and an Applebee’s breakfast.
“This entire journey is one of my proudest moments professionally and personally,” said chorus director Dena Tishim. “I am sure that this was an experience that will change these students on a level deeper than I can understand, and open their eyes to their world in new ways.”
The students performed at EPCOT Center’s Melody Gardens along with other student groups.
Last Saturday, one of the students, Taylor Burgess, auditioned for the American Idol experience at Hollywood Studios. Though she didn’t win the grand prize of performing on American Idol, she was chosen out of hundreds to perform with 14 other participants in the competition.
Debbie Stanislawek, whose daughter Rachel is a bass player with the chamber orchestra, said the musicians all spent hours preparing for the trip.
“They work very, very, very hard,” Ms. Stanislawek said. “They practice every week at the school, after school hours … These kids are going to go very far with the music.”
Ms. Stanislawek said she was proud of her daughter, and her classmates’ accomplishments.
“It was a big thing for them to go down to Disney … it was a wonderful experience they’ll never forget,” she said.