Central Orchestra students to play at Disney World’s 2023 Disney Festival


Jay Deegan

Central’s Symphonic Orchestra rehearses for a March 16 concert. Members of the orchestra, along with other students from Central and Naperville North, will play at Disney World on March 25.

Mack Gowan, Staff Writer

Members of Naperville Central’s orchestras are going to Disney World from March 24-28. The last time a trip like this took place was during the 2018-19 school year. 

Jesse Gross, the Director of Orchestras at Central, began planning the trip when he was hired by Central in the 2019-20 school year. A limited number of students were offered the opportunity to go on the trip due to its scale.

“The trip was offered to our Symphonic Orchestra, which is our top orchestra, and then audition members from our other two orchestras based on availability,” Gross said.

Central’s orchestra will be combining with Naperville North’s orchestra for the trip.

“They’re bringing roughly the same amount of students, so we’re going as sister schools,” Gross said. “We’ve been combining our orchestras and we’ve been rehearsing [at Central] before school for the last few weeks.”

The orchestra will be attending various events at Disney, including Festival Disney.

“[For] Festival Disney, we get to play in a clinic, basically a performance festival where we go and compete against other groups,” Gross said, “We’re going to go and play for the judges and they’re going to score us, and then we get a 15 minute clinic with one of the judges at the venue. And then we get to go to an awards ceremony in conjunction with the festival.”

The orchestra will also be attending a soundtrack session.

“They have arrangements for string orchestras of Disney movie music,” Gross said. “Your group gets to work with a clinician for a couple hours and prepare some music and then you record it like you would in a real recording studio. A sound engineer takes your orchestra and mixes it and puts it into a Disney movie and you get to watch your orchestra play live with the Disney movie.”

Clinicians are experts in the field of orchestra, such as professional conductors or music educators.

Along with educational opportunities, the trip is also an opportunity for fun, according to Gross.

“We get to go to all of the parks and we’ve got a night where we get to go to Disney Springs and eat dinner,” Gross said.

Senior Luke Dufner will be attending the trip.

“I’m excited to spend a lot of time with my friends and enjoy Disney,” Dufner said, “The performance part [will] be fun.”

Gross is excited to be able to go on trips like this.

“I adore trips like this because they get people excited about being in the program and having fun and learning and having great experiences and that should be part of a great high school music experience,” Gross said. “ I’m so glad that we can do it and that these kids are going to have memories that last them a lifetime.”