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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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Florida trip offers anticipation, challenges

Students and the music director discuss the upcoming Disney band trip and its cost.
The+instumentalists+get+ready+to+play+Land+of+1%2C000+Dances+at+the+end+of+the+third+quarter.
Sara Ventriglia ’24
The instumentalists get ready to play “Land of 1,000 Dances” at the end of the third quarter.

The band and orchestra travel to one of Orlando, Florida’s amusement parks every other year, and for some, it is considered a highlight of the music class.

The trip costs $1775.00 per student, plus travel insurance. Around 210 students are going on the four-day trip to Disney.

“A lot of people use [the trip] as something to look forward to if they’re able to go,” Band Director Mr. Nicholas Pignataro said.

The Disney trip will have the band playing in a parade at Magic Kingdom and the orchestra playing to a Disney movie soundtrack.

“What makes it worth is watching kids get to be children, it is the coolest, most worthwhile experience as an educator,” Pignataro said. “I want the kids to go and be able to relax with their friends if they can.”

The four parks that the students will visit when they are not practicing or performing are the selling point of the trip for many students—a chance to bond and enjoy time with each other, especially the seniors, as the year comes to a close.

“For some reason, they’re more casual, more social, and more comfortable with each other,” Pignataro said. “And it allows them to play out, string players in particular, when they’re more comfortable physically and emotionally… It is worth it in that way. The primary reason is the social combination, but we do get musical benefit.”

There are many reasons why band and orchestra members might not want to attend.

“A big problem is that the school is having it cost too much. But the solution is not [to] give funding—the solution is make the trip not in Florida and not flying to Florida,” sophomore Casper Stockman said. “I’d rather use the money for something not flying to Florida.”

Another reason can be scheduling conflicts.

Sophomore Yuhang Li plans on taking the SAT during the Disney trip, and also has a conflict with a Science Olympiad competition.

“I mean, I could do [the trip in] 12th grade,” Yi said. “Why would you want to go on a trip twice like that?”

According to Pignataro, the school does not sponsor the trip at all. However, the Band Boosters play a large role in the Disney trip.

“The SHHS Band Boosters, which is a parent and guardian organization, is the mechanism and vehicle for funding the trip and are really organizing the trip,” he said.

According to Pignataro, the Band Boosters play a key role in determining the costs for the trip.

“It charges students what it costs the band boosters to run a trip like this,” Pignataro said. “Which includes everything from what the travel agent provides us, which is all these features, plus emergency things or resources for emergencies, and also some limited resources for scholarship.”

Resources for scholarship have been able to assist students in paying for the trip in the past.

“The boosters does what it can to offer some assistance to make it somewhat possible,” Pignataro said. “It’s not for everybody. But it’s been able to help a few students that can’t go otherwise. Without that, I think it’d be impossible for some of these people.”

Pignataro wants to make sure all students feel included during rehearsals, and makes a point to not work on Disney music during school rehearsals.

“I talk about it as a highlight, but not the only highlight. The emphasis on all of our work is on the progress and the programming that we’re doing right now,” he said.

The band tries to have a larger emphasis on activities that everyone can enjoy.

“We do end of year ceremonies and everybody’s involved,” Pignataro said. “Senior Night, everyone is involved, and everyone’s involved with our biggest event of the year, which is the Penncrest festival event.”

Pignataro has been on five trips, not including three that were canceled by the pandemic. Making sure the students that want to go on the trip know that assistance is an option is only one facet of his job managing the trip.

“I remember lying awake in bed in the hotel room just waiting for my cell phone to buzz because there’s an emergency for four straight days,” Pignataro said. “I am completely in charge of 224 individuals– we’re bringing adults, so 224 individuals– and that’s nerve-wracking. It is a sigh of relief when they all go home on the last day.”

“Not that I don’t enjoy the time, but for me, it is no vacation,” he said.


DISCLAIMER: Reporter is an orchestra member going on Disney trip.

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Ho '26
Kaitlyn Ho '26, Managing Editor of Web
Kaitlyn Ho is the current managing editor of web and the health and sciences editor of The Panther Press. Her first article was on the German Exchange Students. There was no turning back after that. She loves to learn about communicating complex science in simple ways, reading, dancing, artificial intelligence, and playing (badly) the piano and cello. Her future self can confirm that she will laugh at and enjoy every single thing her past self wrote.
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