Every kid and adult alike dreams of going to Disneyland. For the Vista Ridge High School Band Program, this became a reality. Three days before their classmates were released for Spring Break, a group of forty-four VRHS band students and parents embarked on an eighteen hour trip on a charter bus to Santa Monica, California. The participating students were: Shelby Arthur, Onyx Raychel Bengston, Ryann Boots, Caitlin Burleson, Cece Crawford, Bobbi DiAmco, Jennifer Durbin, Mark Fahey, Kevin Figurski, Rachel Gahagan, Kaitlyn Hanson, Jenny Heimerman, Ian Hess, Laura Huber, Andrew Keene, John Lipp, Heidi Logsdon, Teal Low, Angie makris, Brock Mrofcza, Jonathan Noggle, Josh Olson, Henry Reyna, Adam Schaff, Patricia Snow, Arisson Stanfield, McKayla Stoltenberg, Chandra Sundaram, Dylan Tilton, Wes Turner, Alex White, Jamie Williams, Zach Wood and Lauren Young. The chaperones were: Nate and Kate Crawford, Beth Moore, Carol Olson, Laura Snow, Nancy Stoltenberg and Jim Williams. They were accompanied by 3 staff members from Vista Ridge: Scott Julius (Band Director), Kyla Greenfield and Jim Bonavita.
Attractions along the way included the beautiful land marks of Utah, and passing through heart of Las Vegas. Everyone enjoyed seeing all of the casinos and hotels. The day after arriving consisted of sightseeing on Colorado Blvd, shopping in the Santa Monica Mall, and sitting on the beach. After spending most of the day in Santa Monica, VRHS drove to the beautiful campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where they were given the honor of having a concert band, and a jazz band clinic with the respected Pepperdine Music Director, Mr. Tony Cason, in order to prepare for competition the following Saturday with “Music in the Parks”. The students had nothing but great things to say about Mr. Cason, and were happy with his input. After the clinic, the students traveled out to Anaheim, California where they stayed the night in a hotel near Disneyland.
The next day for everyone was a full day in Disneyland and California Adventure parks. Both the students and parents were thrilled to be there. Everyone had a great time with everything from the Tower of Terror, to California Screams, to the personal favorite of the Indiana Jones ride. "This is the best time I've had in a long time. I love Disney!" Said Adam Schaff, a current senior and trumpet player in the VRHS band. He plans on attending Texas Tech University in the fall to major in music education. The night was completed with seeing the classic Disney firework show.
On Saturday, the students woke up at an early 6:00 am to drive to Valencia High School to compete with Music in the Parks in the concert band and marching band divisions. After excellent raves from the judges, Vista Ridge HS placed first with a superior rating in the marching band division, and first place with an excellent rating in the concert division. The students were ecstatic with their results, and proudly took home two first place trophies. Even the director, Scott Julius, said, " The students were very good. I was really pleased with how well they played for the judges." After the award ceremony that included a lot of excitement and a couple of great performances by the Disney crew, including the famous Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the band was allowed to leave to enjoy Disneyland for a few more hours. After the classic firework and the World of Color shows, the band headed back to the hotel to get ready for another full day of travel back to Colorado.
All of the VRHS band students and parents agreed that the trip was very worth it and well earned through many fundraisers. The more challenging fundraisers included operating a firework stand in late June and early July, and baseball vendors at Sky Sox Stadium throughout the summer. "I have not laughed that much or that hard in a long time," said Jim Williams, Treasurer to the VRHS Band Boosters, as he recalled the trip . Though most students say they never want to see another bus ever again, everyone agreed that they had an amazing time and an unforgettable experience."