top of page

And they sang their hearts out… happier ever after. Concert Choir Tour to Disneyland – R

What started with a dream, a plan, a video audition, and our Choir’s remarkable talents, became a marvellous experience of professional music education (and five days of playful fun).

This March, many of our Concert Choir singers (ages 11 to 16), traveled to Disneyland in Anaheim California to participate in the renowned Performing Arts Programme, as well as to present a magical performance of their own. The trip, as the choristers would attest, was “awesome”.

As part of their music education, the Choir attended two workshops where experienced clinicians demonstrated how business and artistry mix. In one lab, Choristers learned the vital elements of teamwork and self confidence. Through theatre games and exercises, choristers tested their courage and realized that “fear is something false appearing real,” “performers create and share who they are,” and you “never need to ask permission to be yourself.” They strengthened their skills to work as a performing group, which will benefit them as they grow older and meet many challenges in their lives. From Disney, our singers learned much about themselves and each other, and are looking forward to putting their new co-operative skills, energy, and confidence to use in rehearsals and performances.

During the “Professional Level” Sound Recording workshop the “industry” life of a musician was felt by all. There was “no molly-coddling here”, says Madeleine. “[Choristers] had to meet the work ethics required to succeed in this competitive business. The expectation was that within one and a half hours they had to learn two short pieces of music, record each three times with a ‘click track’ and original backup accompaniment, and have it completed and ‘in the can’ by the end. The surprise when we finished was that each song had been mastered on the spot! Play back revealed that these songs were arranged from actual Disney animated movie hits, and suddenly the Victoria Children’s Choir was providing the background music for a scene from “The Lion King” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

A highlight of the trip was a special opportunity to perform at the park. Not every group is given the chance to present their work; this exclusive honour is only given to those who are considered “top level” artists. Upon gathering at the informal outdoor stage, the Choir had been advised that it was not unusual for people to enjoy their music while rushing by to the next ride or attraction. Yet we created a little magic of our own that day! Approximately 30 passersby were compelled to stop and enjoy how the children sang their repertoire – particularly the sing-a-longs.

Throughout the workshops and performances we were not shocked to hear our choristers praised for their abilities and maturity. But still, it was an exceptionally proud moment to hear the music booth technician, who sees countless rehearsals and shows, sigh and remark that it was lovely to “hear children singing properly”.

A trip to Disney wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the wonder of the park itself, and we made every moment count. There were the rides that looped, and dropped through the dark. Backlot tours with scores of film secrets. Memorabilia from decades of movie magic. And topping all the action was an incredible two-encore concert by South African jazz musician Hugh Masekaela (Grazing in the Grass), and special guest Ziggy Marley. Their performance – in the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall (designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry) – made the lessons of “focus, energy and teamwork” real, commented the choristers. And though our singers did not know this great musician before the concert began, by the end they were amazed by his musicianship, happily joining the audience in dancing, clapping and singing with the excitement of the music. In an unforgettable treat, the Choir concluded the evening by meeting the performers, joining in to sing “Happy Birthday” to Masekela and South African song “Dubula” with the professionals. Truly, everyone was blown away.

Every incredible moment and whirlwind of tour activity was accomplished with the help of many. From our chaperone parents and volunteers to our staff and board members, and our great sponsors and donors, we feel lucky to have a whole family of fairy godparents who help make our dreams come true.

At Disney, the goal is quite simple – everyone should feel good. And if the break-out songs, serenades, and sing-a-longs our choristers led were any indication, this was a goal achieved. We’ve come home with new experiences and knowledge to know that finding happiness as artists involves learning and challenging our abilities, having fun and being fearlessly playful, and supporting and appreciating other. Now we’re ready to take our passion for singing our hearts out to “awesome” new places.

Story contributors: Madeleine Humer and Hilary Groos




bottom of page