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Orchestra Takes a Trip to Disneyland

Rachel Dunham

Rachel Dunham

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Sage Hill student musicians spent the day at Disneyland and California Adventure parks last Saturday participating in a film recording workshop, an activity the wind ensemble and strings orchestra have participated in for the last three years. In looking for something educational and non-competitive, Brent Dodson came across the Soundtrack Session.

“Students have always wanted an outside-school activity,” said Brent Dodson, instrumental music teacher, who discovered the soundtrack session.

“Whether it’s a competition or a festival- kind of special and unique experience. This is such an important learning experience” said Dodson. This soundtrack session will combine the ensemble and orchestra into the Sage Hill School Combined Orchestra for Disneyland purposes.

Participants go into a film scoring environment as soon as they arrive to the theme park, Dodson explained. This workshop provides a similar experience to what professional musicians get when they go to record music for television and film. The music is not given in advance, it remains a mystery. After the pages are distributed, we get to play the soundtrack of clips from actual Disney film excerpts, he said.

The fact that the music chosen for the group remains a mystery until the playing time provides an opportunity to practice sight reading and playing with click- track headphones. These headphones play a metronome sound that syncs up the music with where it needs to be on the film.

The students participating pay for their respective tickets, but the session fees are funded by the Producer’s Circle.

“One of the best things about the soundtrack session is that it will be directly related to the concert that we will be playing on Feb. 10,” Dodson said. This performance is music- themed What Does Music Look Like–a blues reference for film music with imagery. Dodson’s orchestra currently holds rehearsals for music from the films Superman, Schindler’s List, The Typewriter and other modern pieces as well.

“The soundtrack session will be an insider experience in which we will be creating our own film music, in a way,” he said.

At the end of the session the recording will be played for the students to see the product of their improvised genius.

“Interesting way to start the day,” Dodson said. As soon as the session was finished, students were set free to roam around either Disneyland or California Adventure park until departure time, which happens around 9:30 p.m.

“Space mountain, you cannot miss,” said Sarah Kim, who has been to the park before and was looking forward to going again as a performing musician. The experience for students simply isn’t enough without going on this ride! The program accomplishes the goal of bringing the wind and strings students together in a spectacular learning experience, which magically just happens to be at Disney.

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Orchestra Takes a Trip to Disneyland