First of all, I would like to apologise about the lack of updates with the blog, which I have now finally had the chance to complete.
As many of you who are reading this are aware, Ullswater Community College music department teamed up with Appleby Grammar School to form a formidable team of ninety-six young musicians and staff who have been working for over a year to get to the standard required to play in some of Paris’ most prestigious locations.
In all honesty, there’s very little that I can say about today, apart from there was a lot of travelling. Leaving just after midnight on Monday morning, the two coaches loaded with musical instruments and our luggage, we departed from Cumberland yard and hit the long trek ahead of us. Surprisingly, sleep seemed to come naturally to everyone, although that didn’t last long. As the sun began to rise above what was a sunny day in England, the members of Coach B woke and decided to have last minute rehearsals at the back of the coach by singing each of their individual parts for the full ninety-minute set.
Approaching Dover, we had made very good progress. In fact, it was so good that both of the coaches managed to catch an earlier ferry, whereas the original plan had been to take two.
Once on the ferry, we had some time to ourselves, so we went in search of breakfast. Many students managed to find a Starbucks on board selling all day breakfast sandwiches and tea. Now, if you don’t know Starbucks, it’s an American firm, which means that the tea provided was of no standard to a proper British brew. No matter, us plucky brits can last a week, can’t we? Whilst us students settled for a café breakfast, our group leaders managed to find the ferry restaurant where they were serving full English breakfasts.
All full up, the teams once again joined for the second half of the journey which would take us to our final destination – Paris.
Arriving at around 4:30PM (French time) we were given a few hours to freshen up before we were to dine in the hotel, where we were provided with a three course meal, consisting of couscous, burger and chips and a slice of apple tart.
Evening entertainment consisted of what every music tour entertainment should be – a music quiz, although, due to many of us being tired after a day of travelling we were giving the option of taking part or retiring to our rooms for the night with the thoughts of Disneyland the next day.
This is it. The big day. The day of the Big Band Disneyland performance, and what a day it was as well. The sun was shining bright, temperatures reaching the mid-30s and everybody was raring to go. As we arrive it is time for our very own Mr Bryant to take to the stage, or to the phone in this case, as he takes part in a live radio broadcast for BBC Radio Cumbria. Those who are not performing have an hour to explore the park before we meet at the Videopolis stage where the band is to perform the twenty-minute set which they have been practicing hard for.
As the sound checks are underway, we realise that this is going to be a special moment because this is not only a once in a lifetime opportunity, there is a full team dedicated to helping set up and make sure that the band’s needs have been catered for. As the clock hits 12, the music starts with ‘Uptown Funk’ followed by a variety of hits including ‘Birdland’ ‘Living on a Prayer’ and the star of the show ‘Superstition’ which provided the opportunity for some solos by the band members, one of which earned the award for “biggest show off”.
The rest of the day was continued in high spirits after the performance was taken well by locals and others alike. Once again, we had the opportunity to finish exploring the area, ride on the variety of rollercoasters and play on the side shows which were available.
Dinner at Planet Hollywood was also a success, with the options consisting of burgers (yes, again) or pasta, with the meat being cooked to our liking. Some of the older students had the option to have a drink with the meal which was very well received by those that chose to accept.
After dinner is the reason that everybody wants to go to Disneyland. The fireworks. Due to a slight mix up with the busses, we were at the back of the crowd, but what we could see was something that none of us will ever forget. The views were spectacular and there are no words to describe how amazing it was to watch the fireworks over the iconic Disneyland Castle.