GEHS musicians and staff are pictured in front of the NASA Kennedy Space Center. Photo courtesy of Ernie Biggs

Gardner Edgerton High School orchestra and band members and staff traveled to Orlando this past week to participate in Festival Disney. Festival Disney is an annual musical performance festival open to concert bands, marching and parade bands, orchestras, jazz bands, vocal ensembles, show choirs, and auxiliary performers, such as color guard and majorettes.
The GEHS musical groups performed for three distinguished judges and competed against high school musical groups from across the nation.
Seventy-eight GEHS orchestra students participated in the festival and received a ‘Superior’ rating from two of the three judges and an ‘Excellent’ rating from the third judge. Festival Disney averages the numerical scores awarded by each judge, and the average score yielded an overall ‘excellent’ rating with a score of 89.3, just missing an overall superior rating by 0.7. This was the fourth highest score given to any string orchestra and fifth highest for any string or symphony orchestra awarded during the week.
“Having such strong scores awarded on our very first trip with an immensely large group, strict judges, and challenging literature just confirms how hard our students work,” said Brian Scott, GEHS orchestra director. “Receiving unsolicited compliments from festival staff on our students’ behavior and professional manner confirms their strong character. I could not be more proud.”
In the band competition, the groups were classified based on school size (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A). The GEHS band placed in the 3A category, competed against 17 other bands and received the third highest score. The GEHS jazz Band received an ‘excellent’ rating with an overall score of 85. The GEHS concert band received a ‘superior’ rating with an overall score of 92, and received the bronze award.
“The groups performed extraordinarily well in an extremely competitive environment,” said Will Biggs, GEHS band director. “The kids performed with more than 90 different ensembles from schools around the country over the past weekend, and they performed like true pros.”
The students and staff also took in a few sightseeing opportunities by visiting the Hermitage and the First Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Fla.