It was another busy and cold day. We got to see Harvard, drove through MIT, Tuffs, University of Massachusetts and stopped at the JFK Library. We also walked to see Paul Revere's house, Rose Kennedy's birth place, ate cannoli at Mike's Pastry. The students got
Our second day in Boston was filled with lots of walking and lessons in history, culture and animals. We started off the day with a buffet breakfast at the hotel that was very yummy! Took a bus to Boston Commons where we met our walking guides for the Freeddom Trail. Learned a lot about American history, and we got to see several historic sites throughout the Boston area. Our guides were fun, and dressed in clothing from colonial times. We ended up at Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Students had lunch there and then we walked to the New England Aquarium where they got to explore and see penguins, sea lions, fish, turtles, and so many other sea creatures. We came back to the hotel, had dinner and then got ready for the Boston Symphony Orchestra concert featuring Renee Fleming. What a way to end the night!
We left Honolulu International Airport at around 9 pm Hawaii time on Thursday, March 14. We traveled from Honolulu to San Francisco, had the shortest layover ever...basically got off the plane and onto another one...and then arrived in Boston on Friday, March 15 at around 4:30 pm. The students were troupers and we all made it here in one piece. After getting our luggage and checking out all the instruments we made our way to the Westin Copley Place hotel.
To get to the hotel, we had a large bus and a mini-bus. All of the cellists went on the mini-bus with their instruments and everyone else piled into the larger bus. We got to the hotel, checked in and then went to the Prudential Center for dinner. Students ate in their chaperone groups...Eataly, CPK, Wagamama, Ben & Jerry's, Anna's Taqueria...they ate all over and ate a lot.
We are all tired, but looking forward to more adventures tomorrow! Hoping to get a good night's rest tonight.
The Moanalua Middle School Chamber Strings is gearing up for our tour of Boston & Orlando next month. The students will be going to Boston to do a workshop with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and tour various colleges while there. Then we will be flying to Orlando to participate in DisneyWorld's Festival Disney competition. Students will be competing with different orchestras from around the United States. Updates from our trip, along with pictures will be found here. Stay tuned!
I can't believe this is our final day...it just flew by! I am so proud of the students and all that they have accomplished on this trip. They have had a few bumps along the way, but overall, they have done really well representing our school and community.
Today was the awards ceremony, and none of us really knew what to expect. We all met outside of the "Lights, Motors, Action" show theater in the Hollywood Studios park and were ushered into the stadium seating with the other 50 performing groups participating in Festival Disney this week. It was amazing to see the hundreds of students from all the different ensembles from all over the country all in one place and all excited for the awards to take place.
Festival Disney is open to middle and high school performing ensembles in choir, concert band, jazz band and orchestra. There are different divisions within each category, and for the high school groups they are grouped by ensemble type and size of the group (A, AA, AAA, AAAA). All the middle school groups are in a division only based on their group type (band, orchestra, choir or jazz band) regardless of the size of the group.
When we walked into the outdoor theater, there was a DJ, lights, and the stage was all set for the awards. Disney knows how to throw an awards ceremony! The students were dancing, singing and having a good time as the groups got seated and introduced. There was a short concert by one of the Disney bands that was fun and got the students singing and dancing in the stands together.
When the awards ceremony started, we didn't realized that each group's rating was going to be announced to everyone, and our students got nervous. Each group was adjudicated by 3 judges and the average score determines your overall rating. Superior is a score of 90-100, Excellent is a score of 80-89, Good is a score of 70-79, Fair is a score of 60-69, and Needs Improvement is a score of 0-59. They also give awards for "Best in Class" which is for the highest scoring ensemble in a division & category, and a "Gold," "Silver," and "Bronze" Award to the highest scoring Superior rated ensemble within a category regardless of division or class.
Bethany Lapitan and Mataya Hernandez were our two student representatives to receive our rating awards on behalf of the group. As they nervously waited with all the other student representatives, the orchestra ratings were announced. Our orchestra received an overall rating of Superior from the judges! The students were ecstatic! After all the orchestra ratings were called for the 5 orchestras that participated, we realized that we were the only orchestra to receive a superior rating. Which meant that we received the "Best in Class" award for highest scoring string orchestra and then the "Gold" Award for highest scoring orchestra!
All of the students will receive a Festival Disney medal and T-shirt. I will try to post their performance recording on the website once I get home and can upload it. I can't think of a better end to a long journey. The students have worked hard, both individually and as a group to represent our school, families and community. I keep reminding them that we go representing all of you...the teams they belong to, their families, the Moanalua community...and they are a reflection of all of you. We could not have accomplished so much without everyone working together. The awards we received tonight really belong to all of us, and we thank all of you for helping us along the way.
Thank you to all of the parents who worked really hard to pay for the trip. I know many of you personally sacrificed, worked extra hours, and fundraised on your own to make this trip possible for your child. I also know of several students who found ways to raise some of the money for the trip on their own. I hope you feel that the sacrifice was worth all that your child gained on this trip. They will hopefully never forget the time they spent in Boston & Orlando...playing in Boston Symphony Hall, the workshop in Orlando and the Festival Disney performance.
Tomorrow, we return home with memories to share, and more work to be done! We will be waking up at 3:00am so I'm going to finish packing and then get ready for the flight home. Thank you for all of your support!
Wake up was at 5:30am today because we had our group picture in front of Epcot in the morning before the park opened. After the picture taking, we headed to the Magic Kingdom and the groups had the whole day to do whatever they wanted to do at the park. Many of them spent most of the day at Magic Kingdom, and then in the evening headed to Downtown Disney to either play at DisneyQuest or SHOP! The students definitely deserved the day off to explore the park and relax. They have worked really hard and done really well all trip. Tomorrow will be our last day here and then on Sunday we will be heading home.
Today was the big day! We had a rehearsal after breakfast this morning and then had some time to relax at the hotel before heading off for the Hollywood Studio's Superstar TV Studio for our 2:30pm performance. The group performed really well, and the short clinic with one of the judges after the performance was a good experience for them.
After the performance, the students were able to relax and go have fun at Epcot! They spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the park enjoying the rides and watching the "Illuminations" fireworks show at the close of the day.
Sorry, I don't have pictures from the performance because I was on stage, but when I get a few from the parents who were in the audience, I'll be sure to post them here and update this post! Now that all of the performances and workshops are over, the students can really just relax and enjoy the last two days at the park.
Disney's "You're Instrumental" workshop is a chance for students to see what it's like to be a studio musician. We arrived via bus to the backstage area of the Disney parks. It's amazing how you can be in the park and not even know that right behind some of the attractions and places you walk around in the park, there is a whole different world right behind them. It's where the cast members go on break, costumes are made, props and backdrops are held, and there's just rows and rows of warehouses and studios!
After going through a security check backstage, we were escorted to a sound studio in the park by our Disney host, Tim. The students got their instruments out and were told to find their places on stage, but not to open the folders that were on the stands for them. Right before we got to the studio, there had been an electrical short and so the sound technician had to reboot everything! He was awesome and had everything up and running in no time.
Okay, I don't have any pictures right now, but after a very early flight and a stop over in Newark, we have arrived in DisneyWorld! The students and chaperones are all a bit exhausted, but we are excited to be here and start the 2nd leg of our trip. Students will get to explore DownTown Disney tonight and then get a good night's rest for tomorrow's workshop! Sorry, this one is short, but I'm running on very little sleep! :( It's time to meet the group downstairs in the lobby, get some dinner, explore a little, and then get a good night's sleep!
Today was our last day in Boston, and we packed in as much sightseeing as you can into one day. We started our day with another yummy breakfast and the Sheraton and then it was off to do the Freedom Trail walk! Students learned a lot about the history of Boston from two tour guides dressed in period clothing. During the mile walk, students got to see where Paul Revere is buried, see where the Boston massacre happened, learned a lot about the influence of John Hancock and Samuel Adams, and so much more! The guides were great, and the weather was nice for the walk around town.
After the Freedom Trail guided tour, we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then met up with our bus driver and tour guide for our afternoon bus tour of Boston city. Students got to see Paul Revere's home, the place where Rose Kennedy was born and grew up,