PCHS jazz band heads to Disney World

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Four Pike County High School senior band students have paid their dues and earned the opportunity to go to Disney World. About 11 other band students will benefit from the dedication and perseverance of their “seniors.”

Keon Smith, Jared Guilford, Gregory Dees and Savannah Disney-Smith have been students of the PCHS band program for six years. Jimmy Oliver, PCHS director of bands, said the seniors have been totally dedicated to band program for six years. They and other members of the PCHS Jazz Band are deserving of an opportunity to put their musical talents in the spotlight and also to have a good time together as “family.”

The PCHS Jazz Band will leave for Orlando Friday to participate in the Disney World Festival and before a panel of judges who will critique the jazz band and also the individual band members.

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“This is a unique opportunity for the jazz band to perform before nationally certified judges and to benefit from how they scored individually,” Oliver said. “The band will perform for about 25 minutes at the Hollywood Studio on Saturday morning. Their performance will be critiqued by the three judges as will their individual performances.”

Following the jazz band’s performance, the band members will spend the afternoon in the park and attend the “Lights, Camera, Action” awards program that night.

“At the awards program, the band will be ranked and medals and awards will be presented,” Oliver said. “We look forward to the performance and to the fun of being at Disney World.”

Smith said he is looking forward to all of the fun and excitement of Disney World but he is especially looking forward to the jazz band’s performance.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity for us,” he said. “You never know who is listening. And, there are opportunities to get scholarships for college. I’ll do my best so if there’s an opportunity for me, I want to be prepared.”

Guilford said performing at Disney World will be a learning experience.

“We’ll have three judges who will critique us and I’ve been performing all my life,” he said. “I want to know what they think I’m doing right and what I need to improve on. I’ll be more excited than nervous.”

For Dees, the Disney World performance will be the culmination of six years of playing music.

“To get to play before people that you’ve never seen before and for a panel of judges that will know what you did right and what you did wrong, will be a different experience,” Dees said. “But we’ve practiced together and at home by ourselves. We like the music that we’re going to play. We’re ready.”

About 34 band students, parents and teachers will make the trip to Orlando. Each band student raised funds individually and collectively for the trip.