Disney Bound!

South High music programs receive $5,000 grant to assist in trip to Disney World.


Keep Alive St Louis board member, Greg Hagglund presents a $5,000 check to South High Band teacher, Matt Wall.

April 20-24, all three South High music programs will have the opportunity to learn at Disney World, thanks to a $5,000 grant.

 Assistant Band Director Matt Wall said the purpose of this trip is to learn about how music is produced in a professional setting and the students will even get a chance to record music using Disney’s equipment. 

South applied for the grant after hearing about the opportunity by a parent of a choir student.  The grant was offered by Keep Alive St. Louis and the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit. The idea for the grant was to provide money to performers who were losing money due to COVID-19  wiping out their ability to have live shows. 

The $5,000 grant will go toward defraying expenses, but students will still have to pay roughly $800 to attend the trip. Junior clarinetist Roselyn Chen is attending and said she is excited for the trip.

“The main purpose of this trip is to get a taste of how professional musicians do their jobs but to also have fun,” said Chen.“I hope this trip opens more opportunities for the music programs at South.” 

Even with all the excitement surrounding the trip, Chen still has some concerns.

“I do have a few concerns that this trip could be canceled due to COVID concerns, but nothing has come up yet,” she said.

Sophomore flutist Haley Parks talks about how it feels for the trip to involve all 3 branches of the music department–choir, orchestra and band.

“Honestly, I think that it’s a great opportunity for the students to expand their music out in the real world, and build bonds with the fellow music students around them.  Because it’s with the band, choir, and orchestra, it’s a great way to get to know more people in our music program, especially because Covid has restricted the ways that we can interact in groups,” said Parks.

Parks said she plans on continuing music after high school.

“In college I plan to get a minor in some music degree, and possibly become a private flute instructor later in my life. Though whatever I decide to do, I know that I’ll for sure continue to play music for as long as I can” says Parks.

Wall explains the purpose of the trip.

“Two choirs, our orchestra, and our band will each participate in a workshop in which they will be rehearsed and coached by Disney music professionals so that they can aptly perform music that will serve as the soundtrack to a Disney movie clip. They will then get the experience of recording that music in a professional recording studio and hearing their work played back with the accompanying video,” he said.

Wall has been teaching at South since 2018. He started his teaching career  in 2006, but hasn’t always taught every year. This will be his 9th year of teaching.

Band Director Lisa Kinworthy said she is also excited for the trip, but mentions other places she would want to take the music programs.

“There are so many places that music groups can travel. I’d love to take the group to Carnegie Hall to experience a nearly perfect performance environment. I’d like to take the groups to Europe to visit cathedrals and experience music where many organized forms of music started a thousand years ago,” she said.

Although trips are thrilling for both students and teachers, they can also be tiring, Kinworthy said.

In the past , the band went to a College Bowl Game every other year. Those games are held over the Winter Break. That meant every other year, I could not be with my family for the holidays that I celebrate during that time of year. That does get tiring, but if we took the trips during different times of the year, I would love to be able to take them,” she said.

Kinworthy said this trip will be a unique opportunity to have all three South High music programs learn together.

The music department and all of its students have been waiting so long to be able to perform together in one area.  Music isn’t meant to only be played alone or on a computer.  Performing with others creates a whole new world of emotions and we love to do it,” said Kinworthy.