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Orchestra in Florida

Once every four years, Arcadia High School’s orchestra program, along with Chanteurs, gets to travel across the country and compete in the WorldStrides Festival located in Orlando, Florida. Luckily, this trip came in time for the AHS students of 2023 to attend. The week-long Spring Tour from March 31 to April 6 was an ultimate bonding experience. Not only did it include competitive music playing, but also a ton of theme park time! Here is an eventful recap of each day.

Students in line with their travel belongings.

Day 1. Four flights left for Orlando, Florida starting from the night of March 30 to the early morning of March 31. Everyone was super excited to go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip with their classmates. The flights that arrived early were able to explore Universal CityWalk, a bustling, touristy shopping center outside Universal Studios Park. However, there was a long day ahead for the musicians; the WorldStrides Festival, the main music competition occurring within Orlando, which everyone needed to get a good night's rest for.

Orchestras readily await news of competition results.

Day 2. The musicians woke up bright and early to get ready for the long day at Universal Studios. The day was filled with screams, laughter, and extreme humidity. However, the most important part of the day was performing on the WorldStrides stage. Premier-String Orchestra performed first, followed by Concert Orchestra, then Symphony Orchestra. Amazingly, Arcadia High School earned more trophies than any other school across the country! AHS Orchestras won the Overall Sweepstakes Award, Instrumental Sweepstakes Award, Outstanding Orchestra Award, three Adjudicator Awards, 1st Place in Division 3A, and three Gold Ratings. Chanteurs earned a Bronze Rating, and Catherine Pei won the Maestro Award for her solo. Outstanding job to everyone who participated in the WorldStrides Heritage Festival!

Day 3. After winning all trophies and prizes, the musicians were able to enjoy a full day at Universal Studios. The lack of sleep did not stop them from having as much fun as they could. The day was once again brimming with fun and excitement throughout each ride!

Day 4. After spending their last night at Universal's Dockside Inn & Suites, the travelers began their Disney World experience! From the park transfer, the students were given a choice between Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT to visit over the span of three days.

Day 5. The next two days would consist of an invite-only workshop at Disney’s EPCOT, where each orchestra level could trial their sight reading skills and embark on the process of creating a soundtrack for Disney classics like Tangled and Mary Poppins - plus so much more. On the first day, the Chanteurs had their workshop bright and early. Later that afternoon was the Premier-String Orchestra, and during the evening was the Concert Orchestra’s session. These singing and string groups went backstage in EPCOT Italy, where they had sight reading lessons and recording sessions with one of Disney’s own cast members leading the 2.5-hour class.

Symphony orchestra in their sight-reading session.

Day 6. While the three groups were working creating Disney soundtracks, it was Symphony Orchestra’s free day in Disney World, with their workshop the following day. This enclosed, private music session consisted of the same procedure - sight reading Disney melodies, and having their recordings paired with actual movie scenes. Afterward, the hard-working students were able to watch and listen to the masterpiece they had created themselves.

Heading back home!

Day 7. On the last day of this eventful learning vacation, all four flights were packed and ready to say their goodbyes to Orlando. Many students went home with pictures at destinations like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, moments captured in the WorldStrides Festival ceremony, or left with their duffle bag stuffed with souvenirs and memorabilia. 212 students plus caring chaperones gave up their spring break to spend time with their peers across the country. This trip contained not only a successful time at the WorldStrides Festival and EPCOT workshop, but also a week packed with Disney and Universal Studios park hopping, including delicious foods, amusing rides, and beautiful sights to walk through. The Spring Tour is one of the many perks of joining the performing arts program here at Arcadia High School, so come join us for our trip to San Francisco in 2024!

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