Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Eagle Brigade marches in the Magic Kingdom

November 19, 2009

The Arkansas Baptist Eagle Brigade marched down Main Street in Disney's Magic Kingdom.

The Arkansas Baptist Eagle Brigade marched down Main Street in Disney's Magic Kingdom.

By Danielle Hodges, Director of Bands

Anyone would be proud to be an AB Eagle as the loud speakers across the Magic Kingdom rang out with the words… “Today for your enjoyment, Walt Disney World proudly presents our featured performers, The Arkansas Baptist Marching Eagle Brigade from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Arkansas Baptist School System.” The three story tall metal doors to the courtyard of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom slowly swung open and the sound of our students’ music filled the air strong and proud, spilling into the cheers and excitement of the thousands of people from throughout the world.

Was it the fact that the students were playing Raiders of the Lost Ark like it had stepped off of the movie screen and into the streets of Disney that made this crowd so excited? Or was it something much more than just the sounds of the music and pride of the parents, teachers and administrators in the crowd? The students marched as one unit without a single misstep, heads held high and a confidence and pride was within them like never before. And, for one special person it was a start to a new life. It is a spectacular feat that our band was honored as the featured performer in one of the most prestigious places in the world, but what was much more meaningful was what happened just hours before the band loaded the Disney Express for the Magic Kingdom. For what has not been seen or heard about is the victory our students are choosing through Christ Jesus. That Sunday morning, Arkansas Baptist Percussion Instructor and Pastor David Fox, preached God’s Holy Word beside the calm waters of the piano pool in Orlando, Florida’s All Star Music Resort. Although many heard the word of God, one was called to commit their life to Christ. This was truly the most spectacular moment of the trip. I am so very thankful for a school that honors God and has allowed a band program to be built in such a way that those involved can see His marvelous work. As you read about the trip please understand that every aspect of this trip was blessing from God, but our greatest blessings are with Him alone.

The Eagle Brigade played for many onlookers during the daily parade at the park.

The Eagle Brigade played for many onlookers during the daily parade at the park.

The Arkansas Baptist Eagle Brigade was selected by Walt Disney World to be a featured performer in the afternoon parade on November 8, 2009. For the past four years the Eagle Brigade has been raising money not only for instruments, uniforms, and other various needs, but to possibly one day have the opportunity to go to Disney World as a part of the Magic Music Days. Recordings from three different concerts, marching video, professional photographs, and a history of our band program was submitted for evaluation before being selected with this honor.

The first day in Disney World, the band spent nearly three hours behind closed doors of a secret location in Epcot working with one of the Disney Symphony Recording Artists. The artist took our students through a real life experience of recording a score for a Disney movie. The students then were asked to sight read the score to Disney’s Fantasia 2000 and the recording technicians replaced the Disney Symphony version with our students’ recording. A copy of this is available for viewing in our band department. Disney was shooting a promotional video at the time for their Magic Music Days workshops and chose to use video and recording samples of our band.

After the recording session, our students spent the rest of the day at Epcot, capping this eventful experience with a perfect evening including a private dinner buffet on the water for viewing the Illuminations “fireworks” display.

The second day was the parade followed by an evening in the Magic Kingdom. Main Street was absolutely beautiful aglow with Christmas lights. The weather was a nice 75 degrees with a slight breeze; even though Hurricane Ida was lurking in the Gulf of Mexico, no one could have asked for a better day to be in the Magic Kingdom.

On Monday, the flag line traveled to the Springs of Saratoga for a flag workshop and a special performance with Goofy before joining the rest of the band for multiple trips on the Rock’n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.

Tuesday topped off a perfect trip when the band was invited to have a private breakfast party and ride the Mt. Everest Roller Coaster before the park opened to tourists.

God blessed our students with musical experiences of a lifetime, great weather, and a beautiful gift of salvation. Blessed are we as we lift our praise and Thanksgiving to the Lord for Arkansas Baptist School System and all those who have supported the band in its development of what it is today.

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