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Vergennes Union High School symphonic band took part in Festival Disney

Student members of the Vergennes Union High School symphonic band, Commodore jazz ensemble, and concert choir took part in Festival Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., March 22-24. The students traveled from Vermont to Florida to take part in this uniquely Disney festival. "I felt that the Festival Disney experience was wonderful," said Susan O'Daniel, VUHS band director. "The organization and efficiency were excellent." The festival series schedule included two days of adjudicated performances, where ensembles received valuable written and recorded feedback from nationally recognized music educators. At the conclusion of the event, the students took part in the Festival Disney Awards Ceremony. The ensembles received Festival Disney Awards, and each member of the ensemble received a Festival Disney Medal to commemorate their participation. Competing groups were awarded Best in Class and Festival Disney Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. "I was impressed by the panel of adjudicators from large, well respected university programs. The clinics for each ensemble were informative and provided useful feedback," said O'Daniel. Prior to the event, the O'Daniel selected the group's classification and one of three adjudication categories. The categories included Competition - where groups are rated and ranked for the top awards; Ratings Only - where the ensemble is awarded a rating but not a ranking; and Comments Only - where the group receives only written and verbal feedback. Immediately following their performance, concert ensembles participated in a feedback clinic with one of the adjudicators. "Our students had a positive and powerful experience. It was challenging to prepare for a competition featuring schools which were up to four times the size of Vergennes Union High School," said Karen Jordan, VUHS choral director. "Many of our students do not normally have the opportunity to travel outside of Vermont. This was a once in a lifetime experience for some of them." The VUHS symphonic band, concert choir and jazz ensemble were all awarded "excellent" ratings. Festival Disney is open to junior, middle and high school music groups. MENC: The National Association for Music Education officially endorses Festival Disney. This music festival is part of the Walt Disney Performing Arts Programs which offer instrumental, vocal and dance groups the opportunity to learn, perform and celebrate at the Walt Disney World Resort. For more information go to or call 1-800-603-0552.

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