(ORLANDO, Fla.) — The St. Paul’s band program spent the Easter Holidays in Walt Disney World participating in Festival Disney, a competition for school bands, in which they won Superior, Best in Class, and the Gold Award for Marching Band, Excellent in Jazz Band, and Good in Concert Band.
“Overall, I think we did really well,” Band Director Andrew Moran said. “The thing that we take the most pride in is what we did the best in, and it was some of the best playing and marching we’ve done since I’ve been here.”
The awards showed Moran and his bands how their preparation and skill can benefit them in competition.
“In some aspects, it shows how our bad habits can influence us,” Moran said, “and it also shows that when we are with the right mindset, we can accomplish great things.”
Mindset was one of Moran’s biggest points of emphasis going in to the competition, and he believes that the program’s success in marching band is a direct result of a proper mindset.
“You go in, and you get one shot,” Moran said, “and if you don’t have the right mindset going in, you’re not able to take advantage of what can be done. When you are focused… you see the outcome that can happen. The overall lesson to be learned is that you practice how you perform, and you perform how you practice.”
Senior Drum Major Dustin Simoneaux had the opportunity to go to competition at Disney three times over his St. Paul’s career, and this past visit stands out to him.
“We had a pretty okay year my eighth grade year, and then my sophomore year, we had a pretty bad year,” Simoneaux said. “I don’t think the band won any major awards.”
Those subpar performances led up to this year, where Simoneaux said the people made the difference.
“It varies with the group you have. This group is the best group I’ve seen in all my years at St. Paul’s, and even of the bands I’ve seen before coming to St. Paul’s.”
This time around, Simoneaux says he feels that the program’s performance is one that merits his seal of approval.
“It makes me feel very proud of the legacy I’m leaving behind, very proud of the work we’ve accomplished this year, and we’re able to show it with the awards that we won.”
According to Moran, the trip was a positive experience for all that went.
“They’re long days, you’re tired, but you’re in Disney having fun,” Moran said. “And it’s not like going with your parents; you’re with your friends, and you get to experience the parks in a different way, and I think that everyone had a complete awesome blast of a time.”
(Photos by or courtesy of Nick Ashton.)