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 has played the flute since the age of 8. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry as a writer and editor and helped launch Play Music, a magazine for recreational musicians, sponsored by American Music Group (now Music and Arts Center). In the summer of 2006, Christine worked at Yamaha where she interacted with staff and students in various marching bands and drum corps. Christine earned her MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in May 2007.

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