After nonstop practices, perfecting every chord, and weeks of anticipation, the day had finally come. AHN Quarter Notes rushed down to the music room at 10:15 am, having no time to waste. With only fifteen minutes to change before the bus came, the young performers discarded their typical AHN uniform and slipped into something a little more adventurous.
The bus pulled up. It was show time. The girls boarded the bus ready to dazzle Disney professionals with their own magic. This was the day – April 19th, when AHN’s Quarter Notes traveled to Disney World in Orlando to participate in a performing arts workshop and reach their potential as future Broadway stars.
Pulling up to the audition building at Disney, the girls were filled with a mix of anxiety and excitement as they waited for an employee to guide them inside. Winding through the creme colored hallways with pictures of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they were led to one single open door. Taking their first steps through the threshold, the room was a performer’s dream: a room surrounded by mirrors, a smooth, tan colored wooden floor, a sound system more intricate than one could imagine, and a Disney performing legend, who had performed for over 30 years.
Thomas had worked for Disney since he was a little boy, traveling the world as one of the Kids of the Kingdom, spreading the Disney charm from coast to coast performing the legendary show, “Disney World is Your World”. He easily shattered any fears that the Quarters Notes harbored and cleared the room for warm ups; both vocal and bodily. Thomas motioned for the technician to play the upbeat music of Lady Gaga and he began to lead the young ladies through grape-vines, lunges, and twirls. He then began to guide the choir through a few voice warm-ups.
Merline Lamour, an AHN freshman Quarter Note, especially enjoyed this part of the session the most.
“The director was really funny and treated us just like Disney professionals.”
Thomas then proceeded to hand out the sheet music. Upon reading the title of the song, “Adventureland,” a song featured in the show Thomas used to perform in, the girls smiled. Again the director motioned for the technician to begin the track and the Quarter Notes abandoned the music in their hands. The director adorned a face of amazement as the choir already had every note and word memorized because of the hard work and persistence of their own director, Ms. Linda Ruescher. Both the technician and Thomas could do nothing but applaud at Ms. Rucher and the girls’ strive for perfection.
Having vocals already perfected, the more difficult challenge posed itself to the choir: choreography. Singing is one skill, and dancing is another, but together they can prove quite arduous. Then more pressure plagued the young performers as Thomas declared that the Quarter Notes would be performing this very dance before a live audience within two hours. With time ticking, there was no time to waste.
The choreography proved fast paced and tricky as the moves required a lot of footwork, hand gestures, and facial expressions, all while singing the already complicated music.
Two hours later, the girls had every move memorized and were ready to perform. The director exclaimed that the dance room’s mirror actually opened to reveal the previously mentioned audience and that the Quarter Notes were already on stage. Thomas added that he had the entire cast of Beauty and the Beast would be viewing their work. The girls went into frenzy, not expecting this news, but then gave Thomas a puzzled look as he laughed at the reaction. He was only joking!
In reality, the girls’ audience proved to be none other than the two Quarter Notes directors, Ms. Linda Ruescher and Ms. Melissa Cox. Both ladies beamed with pride at how well the girls did.
As the Quarter Notes danced for their small audience, Disney provided an extra surprise. Minnie Mouse came bouncing inside the room and began to sing and dance along! She congratulated the girls on their success, giving them certificates of completion for the performing arts course.
Nasya Blackshear, another freshman Quarter Note, was overwhelmed by the experience. “I never would have thought I would have the opportunity to sing and dance with Disney professionals. It was an honor and an experience we should treasure.”
Junior Quarter Note Carly Stagg valued the workshop’s lessons as well. “This course taught us perseverance. It brought us closer as a team.”
The young performers then loaded back on their bus to celebrate their accomplishments by spending the remainder of their day in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Upon entering the Adventureland area of the park, the girls giggled as they sought out the landmarks from the lyrics of the songs they had just sung – Pirates of the Caribbean, The Tiki Room, and Jungle Cruise.
They left the park well after typical school dismissal, exhausted yet happy. Freshman Merline Lamour gave a sleepy smile. “I would definitely want to do this again or even shoot for the Candlelight Procession next year. Perhaps we could stay overnight and enjoy the Disney magic some more.”
Quarter Notes who attended include Melissa Alvarado, Arlyn Barlaan, Nasya Blackshear, Ashlyn Bradshaw, Valerie Ely, Gracie Hancock, Felicia Nelson, Rebecca Parrillo, KeTaira Phillips, Juliana Sowers, Carly Stagg, and Emilie Ulbricht.