Imagine being a student in the high school band and performing in front of thousands of people. At Disney World! That’s precisely what happened to 140 Salem High pupils on Saturday, February 10.
To ensure that every student gets an opportunity to perform at Magic Kingdom during their high school career, the Pride of Salem Marching Band takes a trip to Orlando, Florida, every four years. Preparation for this year’s four-day trip began last December.
Band Director John Wright says getting to work with passionate students who are dedicated to their craft is what he enjoys most about his job.
“There are no words to describe how proud I am of these students. I have the best job in the world,” he said. “The support from the school system and community is remarkable. Without that, we could not accomplish everything we do. There is no other place I would want to be the band director.”
Senior Audrey Lewis, a drum major, was understandably excited about performing at Disney World. “My favorite memory was marching down Main Street and turning around to conduct the band and seeing Cinderella’s Castle behind them,” she said. “It was breathtaking.”
Tyler Epperson, another senior, said, “My favorite memory was seeing that amount of people along the parade route watch us perform. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Director Wright’s overall goal for his band has been the same since he took the position at the school in 2016: to work hard and have fun while making lifelong memories.
“In January we began playing Disney’s Moana daily. We had one practice after school for everyone to get their lineup assignment. That day we marched around the parking lot in front of the school to the band room to imitate the parade route in the Magic Kingdom,” he said “For many students, this was their first time going to Disney World. I plan on a long career at Salem High School and have so many plans for the future of the program.”