Sumner marching band makes memories at Disney World

Music: Spartans join groups for mile-long parade route on day after Thanksgiving

of the HeraldDecember 25, 2013 

The Sumner High School marching band performs down Main Street at Walt Disney World last month. They joined several other groups for a four-hour rehearsal, and they played the “Mickey Mouse March,” “Star Wars” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

RICK LARAMORE/COURTESY PHOTO

The Sumner High School marching band got to perform at Disney World last month. On the day after Thanksgiving, more than 140 students from Sumner became the first West Coast marching band to perform as part of Disney World’s Thanksgiving Parade of Bands. A combined 400 students performed the “Mickey Mouse March,” a giant three-part melody of Star Wars tunes, as well as “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“It’s neat to see 400 students come together and perform after just one four-hour rehearsal,” said Joe Carl, director of the Spartans’ marching band. “It was fun for students to visit with bands from other parts of the country. It was nice being treated like professionals. (Disney) are professionals in the entertainment industry without compare.”

Carl said the marching band made its plans for the trip a year ago. It cost $1,700 per student, and Carl said each paid their way. No school funding was provided.

The Sumner marching band performed down Main Street on Nov. 29 at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

“It was a big, giant parade of all the Disney characters,” Carl said. “It was about a mile.”

Carl, who is in his 24th year as band director at Sumner High, said he has the best job.

“They are just the best students,” he said. “Several students hadn’t ever been on a plane. Most hadn’t been to Florida. This was a neat experience in a lot of ways — more than just music.”

The Spartans marching band performed in 2005 during the National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C.

“That was our last big marching band cross-country trip,” Carl said.

The band also performed in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade that accompanied the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day in 1998.

The band was presented a commemorative trophy and an exceptional performance award in recognition of its participation at Disney World.

“Students had an absolute fantastic time,” Carl said.

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew.fickes@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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