Disney Youth Programs recently concluded another exciting Disney Student Seminars at Walt Disney World Resort. This event honored Black History Month with a special presentation from Khalil Kinsey, curator of The Kinsey Collection. Khalil shared his passion for the contributions and achievements of African Americans and inspired the audience to appreciate their own heritage and family history.
Over 500 students, parents and educators gathered inside The American Adventure pavilion at Epcot to engage in Khalil’s story. Among the audience were students of U.B. Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts from West Palm Beach, FL — a school named after Khalil’s grandfather. These students had the opportunity to experience a piece of history for themselves, by meeting Khalil and discovering the roots of their school.
The Kinsey Collection is a national touring museum exhibit of rare African American art and history. It is showcased around the country in a variety of museums. We are honored to have pieces of this incredible collection currently on display as part of “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” at Walt Disney World at The American Adventure pavilion, where guests can explore and appreciate all aspects of American history.
Last week, our Disney Performing Arts team “seized the day” to create a magical moment for the Cape Coral High School Dance Team from Cape Coral, FL. The group was at the Walt Disney World Resort to participate in a two-hour “Disney Dancin’” workshop where they learned techniques to help maximize rehearsal time and deliver a focused performance. What the students didn’t expect was a surprise visit from the touring cast of “NEWSIES”. The students had the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight from these professional performers.
The five “NEWSIES” cast members included Dan DeLuca and Stephanie Styles, who play the lead roles Jack and Katherine, dance captain Andrew Wilson and ensemble dancers Evan Autio and Chaz Wolcott. Disney Performing Arts alumni Andrew and Evan also reminisced about their experiences with the program and how what they learned has helped them throughout their careers.
It was a pleasure to have Evan and Andrew return to their Disney Performing Arts roots and to have them and the other talented “NEWSIES” cast members be part of an unforgettable surprise for the students from Cape Coral!
Take a look at the exciting moment here:
Each year thousands of students participate in Disney Performing Arts programs at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. It’s a chance for them to entertain guests, practice and improve their skills, and learn from our professional teaching artists.
Every vocal and instrumental group that participates in the Disney Performing Arts program is experiencing a dream come true when they perform on a Disney stage. But there was a little extra Disney magic for the Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences choir by arranging for them to perform on the stage of Cinderella Castle.
The talented kids – ranging in age from 8 to 13 – had long dreamed of participating in Disney Performing Arts. Their fortunes went off the charts when their performance of Pharrell’s hit single, Happy, went viral, amassing more than 1.5 million views. The video also captured the attention of national media and led to an appearance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Check out the photos from this exciting moment. The morning capped a magical weekend for the young dreamers who saw their performance dream come true, learned about the business of show business and did what kids do best – play in the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
This past weekend, we kicked off the 10th anniversary of Festival Disney in a big way – with a surprise performance by Danielle Bradbery, the 17-year-old country music sensation and winner of The Voice. Her Saturday-night appearance was a highlight of the awards ceremony for the annual music festival that we host for school bands, orchestras, choirs and other ensembles.
It was also Danielle’s final stop on the Music In Our Schools national bus tour that kicked off at Disneyland Resort on March 2. Sponsored by Disney Performing Arts, the week-long tour was a collaboration with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and Big Machine Label Group.
Singing songs from her self-titled debut album, including the current “Top 15” single “The Heart of Dixie,” Bradbery gave an unforgettable Festival Disney performance that had our 3,000 participants on their feet, dancing and singing along.
Festival Disney was the perfect place to close out the Music In Our Schools tour. As we wrote about in last week’s post, Bradbery traveled across the country visiting high schools to inspire and encourage students and to create awareness about the importance of music education.
Each of the five schools she visited received a grant from NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation and a Disney “Mousecar” Award. Another highlight of each stop was a performance by Danielle.
Check out this video of tour highlights:
Being involved in the Music In Our Schools tour was an honor for our Disney Performing Arts team because we believe there’s nothing more important than inspiring young people to follow their passions, fulfill their dreams and celebrate their accomplishments. Together with NAfME and Danielle, we hope we inspired students and encouraged them to recognize how music education can help them learn, achieve and succeed.
If you’d like to learn more about Disney Performing Arts, check out our Facebook page.
The Music In Our Schools national tour launched at the Disneyland Resort yesterday, with 17-year-old country-music sensation Danielle Bradbery off to visit high schools in five cities – Albuquerque, Houston, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Charlotte – before the tour wraps up at Walt Disney World Resort on March 8. Our Disney Performing Arts team is thrilled to sponsor this week-long event that celebrates the importance of music education and the benefits music teachers bring to their students and school communities.
Danielle is a great tour spokesperson, since she’s living the dream of so many participants in our Disney Performing Arts programs by performing live in front of thousands of people. Originally gaining fame as winner of The Voice, season four, Danielle added to that success with the release of her first self-titled album and her single “My Day,” which was a signature song leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
At each high school Danielle will talk about her personal journey, participate in a question-and-answer session and perform songs from her new album. One of our Disney Ambassadors will also be at each high-school event, serving as co-host and emcee.
The Music In Our Schools tour is a collaboration with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and Big Machine Label Group. Our team chose to be involved because Disney Parks has had special affinity for music education since 1955. That’s when Walt Disney personally invited California high schools to perform at the grand opening of Disneyland park.
What Walt knew then is still true today – the company he founded relies on the talents of musicians, composers and other artists across its many businesses every day. And it wouldn’t surprise me if future Disney musicians say they got their career inspirations from the Music In Our Schools tour.
Be sure to check the Disney Performing Arts Facebook page for all the latest tour happenings.
No one does a better job bringing magic to education than Disney, and students from the Los Angeles-based Windward School experienced that firsthand this month.
The school won the nationwide “Imagine Big” sweepstakes presented by Scholastic, Inc., with the prize really being two prizes in one. The high school students spent a day at the Disneyland Resort experiencing Disney’s Approach to Leadership and Teamwork, which is part of the Disney Youth Education Series. Following that, our Disney team spent two days on the Windward campus hosting custom creativity workshops for high-school and middle-school students.
As one student said, the workshops provided a “powerful view into the inner workings of one of the most creative and successful corporations in the world and gave us the confidence and creativity to make our crazy ideas come true.”
See the images below or visit the school website for an inside look at the Windward School’s incredible experience.
With school back in session across the U.S., and fall right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for our Disney Youth Programs team to debut the second edition of Disney Extra Credit Magazine.
Designed for educators and students, it’s the source for exciting content that covers education and the performing arts. I’ll admit that I’m biased, but I think it’s really a “must read” for any Disney fan.
In the current issue you’ll see stories by Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President and Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, and Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President of Walt Disney Theatrical. Joe tells how Imagineering relies on research to create the fantastic worlds found in Disney Parks and Resorts. And Thomas’ “Career Spotlight” complements another story about talented Disney Performing Arts alumni who are lighting up the stage on Broadway. There’s also a fascinating story about Walt Disney the educator.
Of course, if you happen to be an educator, Disney Extra Credit Magazine includes lots of inspiring ideas for adding creativity to your classroom. It’s also full of in-depth education news, tips for student travel, and information about upcoming Disney events for aspiring performers everywhere. Click here to view the latest issue and get incredible insight to inspire the innovative educator.
If you’re an educator who would like to make sure your school is signed up to receive our next print edition of Disney’s Extra Credit Magazine, click here. For more information about all of our Disney Youth Programs, visit disneyyouth.com.
Last week at Disneyland Resort, students from across the country got the chance to hone their performances skills at the first ever Disney Performing Arts Conservatory. This five-day comprehensive series of workshops focused on select areas of the performing arts including: Acting, dancing, and vocals.
Led by entertainment professionals, students participated in master classes, went behind the scenes of beloved Disneyland Resort entertainment offerings, and learned what it’s like to have a career in the entertainment industry.
“I’ve grown up coming to Disneyland Resort, watching the dancers in the parades and on the Disney Channel,” said Shai Skrzynski of Juno, Alaska, “Disney has always been an inspiration for me. I’ve always wanted to work with Disney choreographers and the [conservatory] gives me that opportunity.”
The week of learning culminated with a live performance in front of an international audience of theme park guests. There was also a surprise visit by Disney Channel star Caroline Sunshine of “Shake It Up”. The actress, singer and dancer spent time answering students’ questions and talking about her career in the industry.
If you’re interested in being a part of this incredible new program for individual performers, the next Disney Performing Arts Conservatory week is scheduled July 29 – August 2 for students ages 15 to 19.
The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade airs on December 25, but the holiday magic actually began back in September. That’s when Mickey Mouse and his friends from the Disney Performing Arts team travelled to Morehead City, N.C., to surprise 180 students at West Carteret High School.
What was the big news? The West Carteret Marching Patriots had been chosen to perform in the parade as the Disney Performing Arts guest marching band.
Out of the hundreds of bands who apply each year to participate in Disney Performing Arts workshops, festivals, and performance opportunities, West Carteret was selected to march down Main Street, U.S.A., in the biggest Disney parade of the year. Adding to the excitement, the Marching Patriots would march alongside Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas and perform The Olympic Fanfare.
The September announcement moment was a “wow” for the Marching Patriots, but then the hard work began. The band had less than three months to prepare for its moment in the spotlight. Students put in countless hours of practice, rain or shine, to perfect their music and marching routine. When the big day finally came, they turned the corner in front of Cinderella Castle and the crowd erupted in cheers from family, friends and other park guests thrilled to share in the moment.
Congratulations, West Carteret Marching Patriots, on all your hard work and achievements this year.
Check out the video to see the band’s parade journey from start to finish. The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade airs December 25 on ABC. Check your local listings for air times.
For more on the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, check out the posts below:
I have big news to share from the Disney Youth Programs team. We’ve just released our first edition of Disney Extra Credit Magazine, an exciting new publication designed specifically for students and educators who have a passion for performing. Disney Extra Credit Magazine puts Disney Performing Arts and Disney Youth Programs in the spotlight, showcasing behind-the-scenes looks inside some of Disney’s world-class entertainment.
This premiere issue has a little bit of everything. You’ll see what it takes to be a Disney Cruise Line dancer, read interviews with Broadway stars from Disney Theatrical Productions “The Lion King” and “Newsies,” and see how far Disney Performing Arts alumni have soared. Disney Extra Credit Magazine is full of in-depth education news, tips for student travel, and Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort events for aspiring performers everywhere.
Click here to view our first issue and get insights from professional performers as they encourage you to continue to shine.