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!