By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Florida! A land of sunshine, beaches, alligators, and Disney World, and as different from Moapa Valley as can be. This was a fact recently discovered by the Moapa Valley High School Jazz Band.
The band, under the direction of adviser Kim Delgadillo, was invited to perform at Walt Disney World after they submitted an audition tape to the park. This led to a trip of a lifetime for the students. Taking advantage of spring break, the group departed Moapa Valley in the late evening, taking an overnight flight to the east coast where the fun and adventure began.
Although the main goal of the group was to perform at Disney World, they took advantage of the opportunity to tour historical and environmental parks and learn more about the state of Florida.
The group took an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades. There they saw wildlife including giant alligators sunning themselves on beaches, turtles, and even baby eagles.
The group also toured Fort Christmas Historical Park and learned about Florida history, as well as hiking several miles to see the wildlife of Florida in its natural habitat.
The first day also included a trip to the beach. Although it was too cold to swim, everyone got to touch the Atlantic Ocean just so they could say that they did. This was something most of the local kids had never done.
Of course, the main event of the trip was the performance. The students, under the direction of Delgadillo, showed the world how Moapa Valley does jazz. They didn’t disappoint.
Prior to playing, Disney officials had told the band that they were subject to a very strict time limit. If they went over their time, they would be cut off, they were told. However, the band impressed both the officials and the crowd so much, that when their time was up and they moved to leave the stage, the same officials urged them to play just one more song as an encore. This really pleased both Delgadillo and the students.
“They told us we were fantastic! Delgadillo said. “Even our designated guide, who happened to be a music major, told us how great we sounded. So we were really happy.”
The group, which also consisted of MVHS administrators and other chaperones, spent the next couple days exploring the Disney World theme parks, bonding together, and having a great time before returning to Moapa Valley.
Although each student and chaperone was responsible for the cost of their trip, fundraising efforts began almost a year ago. All the students agreed that it was money well spent.
“I thought it was a really fun experience,” said trumpet player Yadon Witsken, a junior. “I got to see a really neat part of the US that I hadn’t seen before. I loved having the opportunity to play in front of a whole new audience full of people I had never met. It was a really good experience”
Saxophone player Kasen Kolhoss, a senior, agreed. “I think it was an awesome experience and I think everyone loved it,” he said. “We got to do Disney World, but we also got to learn a lot about Florida and its history, which was really cool. We played great and it was an awesome experience to become honorary Disney cast members, which is what they called us.”
Delgadillo praised her students for being a “phenomenal group of kids” and so polite and well-behaved on the trip.
“These trips are good because they really teach about life and increase the cohesiveness of the group,” Delgadillo said. “When we become closer, we play better so it’s a win-win situation. We had a such a nice crowd and playing in front of them and having them tell the kids, ‘Oh, you’re so good!’ was invaluable. They hear it from us all the time, but hearing it from someone outside of the valley gives the kids confidence and a sense of pride that makes it all worthwhile.”