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Liberty Band earns top awards at Festival Disney

The Liberty Middle School Symphonic Band performs on stage at Festival Disney in Orlando. (CONTRIBUTED)
The Liberty Middle School Symphonic Band performs on stage at Festival Disney in Orlando. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Mickey obviously was impressed with Liberty Middle School band members when they visited Disney World.

At Festival Disney, the Liberty Symphonic Band received a superior rating and won Best in Class for their division. “We also won the Gold Award for middle school bands, given to band with the highest overall score,” director Gwen Rakoff said.

“This was a huge accomplishment for the band and me,” Rakoff said. “I’ve taken bands to Festival Disney twice before and won second place both times. It was great to win the Gold Award this time.”

The combined symphonic and concert bands were invited to perform an exhibition concert at the Waterfront Stage on April 6.

Liberty’s program started with the traditional American march, “Allied Honor” by Karl King. Trumpets and saxes carried exciting melodies, punctuated with strong bass and percussion and woodwind flourishes.

“All the Pretty Little Horses” or “Hush-a-Bye” by Anne McGinty is an American lullaby. Eighth-grader Yoon Yi was featured soloist on orchestra bells.

“Images of Ireland” by Brian Balmages blends three Irish folk songs. Eighth-grader Chenny Yoon on flute played a solo.

After an all-night bus ride, the Liberty entourage spent April 3 in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The next day was devoted to rehearsal and Magic Kingdom. They also enjoyed Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Disney Quest.

The Disney awards ceremony at the Lights, Motors, Action Theater at Hollywood Studios included 56 ensembles in the stands with a deejay, live band and, naturally, Mickey Mouse. Hollywood Studios then treated festival bands to a street dance.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the band’s performances. It was a very demanding program musically. The kids were prepared mentally and physically and carried it off without a hitch. They maintained their poise and character,” Rakoff said.

Bandsmen will vie individually at Solo and Ensemble Festival at Meridianville Middle School on May 3. Their spring concert on May 16 at 7 p.m. will be held in the James Clemens High School auditorium. The free concert is open to the public.

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