"We’re going to Disney World!" Band Tour 2009

As some Ames High students shivered in their goose-down jackets and steam-punk gloves at home this spring break, 180 members of the band were sunning themselves on Florida’s famed Cocoa Beach, parading down the streets of Disney World….and suffering through a 30-hour bus ride, there and back. What extravagant celebration was this? It only comes once every three years: Band Tour. "It was sick," freshman Cheyenne Pritchard said. "Best freaking thing ever." Despite the overnight bus trip (drivers switched several times along the way as to not fall asleep behind the wheel) and general lack of privacy, band members rave about their experience, which lasted from Saturday morning to Friday night. "The best week of my high school career, hands down," junior Max Peterson said. The main focus of the trip was two musical performances: marching as the Little Cyclone Marching Band as the entertainment before the daily Disney Parade at Disney World and a concert band clinic at Epcot. "The performances went smoothly," director of bands Chris Ewan said. "Everything went great." As well as the major performances, the Symphonic Band also had the great opportunity to record a backing track for a Disney film. "It was really cool watching the scene afterwards with our music playing," senior Zach Heilman said. When the band wasn’t performing, they indulged in almost everything central Florida has to offer, including watching the space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral, shopping at the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, and, of course, the beach. "The beach itself was amazing, like the sand part," sophomore Lindsey Shanks said. "But the water was horrible. It was really salty and the waves were rough and everyone kept accidentally swallowing water. Overall, it was great, though, especially the Ron Jon." "I enjoyed removing my shirt," Heilman said. Of course, a big highlight of the tour was tracking the Ames High boys basketball team’s championship win while the band was on the road. "Everyone was watching the game on a laptop at Burger King," freshman Zech Walker said. "I’m surprised they didn’t kick us out." Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the band quietly slipped back into Ames late Friday. And, although everyone missed that warm Florida sun, there was still some comfort in returning home. "I got to sleep in my own bed by myself for the first time in a week," sophomore Tom Gehring said.