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District 214 steps up to march with Mickey

Published December 1, 2022

District 214 band students were part of the holiday magic at Walt Disney World. The Prospect High School and Elk Grove High School marching bands were selected to perform in the 2022 Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

More than 500 students from four Illinois high schools performed together in front of Cinderella’s castle, including 140 musicians from Prospect and 44 from Elk Grove. This was the first time for both schools to participate in the Thanksgiving Parade of Bands, but not their first time at Disney. It has been at least 20 years since the Marching Knights performed at Disney World, and the Marching Grens had a more recent trip performing at Disney Springs in 2016. This was a monumental experience for everyone involved to get a chance to perform with Mickey Mouse in front of thousands of guests.
“It was a magical experience for our students to be a part of. For many, it was their first time at Disney. I am so proud of how our students represented themselves and our community,” said Elk Grove High School band director Ron Fiorito.
Added Prospect High School band director Chris Barnum, “We are super excited for our students to have had the chance to perform at Disney and enjoy time with their friends. These band students work hard year round and deserve to experience these unique opportunities.”
For these band students, it was a Thanksgiving to remember. Not only did the students receive the opportunity to perform, they had an exciting Disney experience. Students learned from and performed with distinguished clinicians including the Presidio Band, and they enjoyed a fun day at the park and rehearsed there before it opened, just like the professionals. The students were also provided a Thanksgiving dinner. This trip was a unique networking opportunity as the schools got to converse with each other and share their experiences.

“It was great to get to share the experience with the Prospect Marching Knights and see our students work together to provide an outstanding performance on a very important day,” said Fiorito.

“It was particularly fun to perform alongside our friends in the Elk Grove Band. The band programs in District 214 all work so hard and we are fortunate to share many events throughout the year including concerts, festivals, competitions and travel,” said Barnum.

This trip celebrated the end of a successful marching band season for District 214 schools. Both Prospect High School and John Hersey High School placed first place in the Class 5A and Class 4A fields in the Illinois State Marching Band Championship. Rolling Meadows High School and Elk Grove High School placed 5th and 7th respectively in the Class 4A category.

Editor's note: Elk Grove High School senior Margherita Weiner produced this story as part of a Multimedia Apprenticeship with District 214's Community Engagement and Outreach team.