An adventure three years in the making

High school band and choir relishes in finally being able to go to Florida
Ozaukee Press staff

Soaking up the Florida sun, getting soaked on rides — including the bus trip — and spending quality time in the pool with friends in Florida was how the Cedar Grove-Belgium High School band and choir members spent their spring break.

Those lifelong memories made the sunburn, lack of sleep, broken monorail and sore feet all worth it.

The band and choir finally got to perform at Disney World, after the pandemic delayed two years of trips.

“We’re lucky we got to go. The seniors last year missed it,” color  guard member Kaylee Cherney said.

The band played the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and “On, Wisconsin!” as it marched around the Magic Kingdom.

It was around 9:30 a.m., but the temperature had already eclipsed 75 degrees, which made hauling heavy instruments while wearing wool uniforms a tall task.

“It heats up quick, but we got free water,” baritone saxophone player Ethan Beardsley said.

Some members struggled to keep their balance while walking over train tracks. Alto saxophone player Quinn Schmidt said she got her foot caught but was able to keep on marching and playing.

“Marching through Magic Kingdom was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — it was so neat to turn the corner while marching and see the castle in the distance,” director Alanna Ford said.

The crowd got into it. Cherney saw a little girl trying to twirl her flag like the color guard, and a few apparent fellow cheeseheads yelled, “Go, Wisconsin.”

The rest of the time students partook in all the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks had to offer, as well as Cocoa Beach and shenanigans at the hotel.

During the Mission: SPACE ride, Cherney said, “It was kind of scary seeing the barf bags.” Band members fortunately didn’t need them.

Color guard member Ava Nagorsen, who had never been to Florida, remembers the Tower of Terror ride. The doors opened to get on but the seats weren’t there. An employee talked on the phone for 10 minutes, and when the doors closed and reopened, the seats were back and riders got on to prepare for a series of drops.

She was more afraid on the King Kong ride.

“That one did get me,” she said.

Beardsley said it felt like he could touch the water on the Velocicoaster.

The coasters seemed to be easier to handle than the bus trip there and back.

Beardsley said someone decided to play the movie “Cars” at midnight and his seat was right below the speaker.

“Vroom, vroom, I am speed” he heard at full blast.

Some people got stepped on while sleeping. Others had soda or water spilled on them, and they said the bus stopped too often — every two or three hours.

But the bus driver let the teens call him “dad” and the hotel security guard kept the pool open longer than posted since the band and choir got back so late from the parks each night.

The trip took its physical toll. Tenor saxophone player William Stemwell said the “Simpsons” ride gave him a headache and he had blisters all over his feet from walking, but it was worth it.

Cherney and Nagorsen played a trick on their freshman friends, calling their room and saying they were getting kicked out for being too loud.

“They did the same thing to my room and I didn’t buy it,” Beardsley said.

The band watched the choir’s 25-minute performance of “No Time” by Susan Brumfield at EPCOT.

“The concert went very well. It was an amazing experience,” choir director Linda Ruona said.

The travelers returned late on a Friday and said they needed the weekend to recuperate before going back to school. Some had more of a break than others.

“I had to go to work at 8 a.m. the next day,” Beardsley said. “It was a rough day stocking fruits and vegetables.”



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login