Disney Magic

Marching down Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has often been described by students as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So imagine the surprise and awe of Tracie Ervin, honored by Disney on March 14 as the 2 millionth performer in the Disney Magic Music Days program.

“When they announced for me to come to the podium … I was in shock,” says Ervin, a senior mellophone player. “I didn’t know what to say or what to think.”

Disney cast members—including Mickey Mouse himself—surprised Ervin and the 165-member Mount Hebron High School Marching Unit from Ellicott City, Md., in front of parade spectators near the park’s entrance. With a podium blocking their way, the students patiently marked time and continued to perform as an announcer congratulated Ervin and presented her with a commemorative Mickey Mouse statue.

Combining this moment as part of The Year of a Million Dreams celebration, Disney treated Ervin and her family to a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite. Ervin also received an all-inclusive return trip for her entire family and a $500 gift certificate from Conn-Selmer, Disney World’s official instrument sponsor.

Magic Music Days, a part of the Disney Youth Group Programs, has formally existed since 1985, with approximately 30,000 participating groups—including bands, orchestras, choral ensembles and dance troupes—from all 50 states and fivecontinents.

Mount Hebron has traveled to Disney World 15 times. “We look for various venues that provide a musical experience, a cultural experience and … social excitement,” says director Bob Johnston.“We’ve been going to Disney, I believe, for alternating years since the mid-70s.”

This trip had been particularly meaningful for Ervin and her family because it was the only year she could march side-by-side with her sister, a freshman mellophone player. Ervin’s parents both chaperone and volunteer with the band, and her mother is in charge of uniforms.

“It was an amazing honor to be picked to represent Mt. Hebron and the Marching Unit,” Ervin says. “I’m very appreciative to be given that opportunity.”

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman is founder and chief executive officer of Muse Media, LLC, creator of books, magazines, and additional content highlighting performing arts and youth activities. Magazine assets include Halftime Magazine for marching arts participants and fans as well as Yamaha SupportED Magazine for K through 12 music educators. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Crain Communications and Imagination Publishing and a marketing manager at Chatsworth Products, Inc. Christine also worked for Yamaha Band and Orchestral Division. As a child, Christine learned five instruments, with flute being primary. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. Christine graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997 and earned an MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in 2007.

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