By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Members of the Laconia High School Marching Band are full of anticipation and excitement as they prepare for next week's trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where they will be leading the Main Street Electric Light Parade in the Magic Kingdom on Thursday, April 28, at 8:30 p.m.
It's the first performance outside of New England for clarinet player Taylor Gagne, the president of the band, who says that performing before the large crowds at Disney World is "a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Gagne, a senior, has been playing the clarinet for eight years, and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and has been selected four times to play with the New Hampshire Music Festival. He's also performed at Plymouth State University in it's All New England Festival featuring the best high school musicians from the six-state region.
"I'm definitely excited about the whole trip. It's kind of nerve racking to think about how you'll perform in such a large setting and it will be a challenge for all of us to do our best," says Gagne, who says that although he'll be far away from Laconia he won't be lonely as he'll be traveling with over 40 other band members as well as chaperones. "It's like being with a large family away from home," he says.
Gagne is the co-drum major and will be leading the marching band and along with Mariah Hawkins, the other co-drum major, who plays tenor sax, and says that she is very excited about the trip.
"It's going to be a wonderful experience for everyone involved," said Hawkins after the musicians went through a practice session Monday afternoon under the watchful eye of Laconia High School Music teacher Debbie Gibson, who has been teaching music in Laconia ever since 1988 and has led other LHS musicians on trips to Disney World. This will be her last trip with the school to Florida, as she is retiring at the end of the school year.
"Since our first trip there in 2000, we have been invited back on a regular basis," says Gibson. She says that, in addition to the marching band, complete with color guard, the school's jazz band, concert band and concert choir will also be making the trip and taking part in competitions, which will take place off grounds with the exception of a Parade March to be held on Friday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m., in the Epcot Center's Future world.
The Sachems will also be wearing new band uniforms during the trip, which were purchased thanks to a $30,000 fund raising campaign undertaken by the Laconia High School Band Boosters.
Emily Huckins, who plays the sousaphone in the band, says she has been involved in music since the sixth grade, when she started by playing a trombone, and says that all the band members are counting down the minutes until they'll be heading to Florida.
'Everyone has the countdown on their cellphone and we're staying in touch with each other and sharing the excitement we all feel about making the trip. And we're working real hard in our practices so that we'll be really prepared to good a good job when we perform," says Huckins.
Laconia High School Band members practiced Monday in preparation for next week's trip to Disney World in Florida where they will lead the Main Street Electric Light Parade in the Magic Kingdom on Thursday, April 28. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
The Laconia High School Marching Band will be traveling to Florida next week for performances at Disney World and the Epcot Center. (Courtesy photo)
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