Spring break, for many Manhattan College students, means a way to destress from midterms and jet off to a tropic paradise. For the performing arts department, it meant taking advantage for one of the most prestigious stages for any college student: Walt Disney World.
Students that were part of the Singers student choir had the opportunity to perform a set of well-rehearsed songs for the general public in the parks, along with spending the time together riding rides and meeting characters.
For some, this was their first trip to Disney and an item crossed off their bucket list. For others, this was a rewarding time after generous amounts of preparation and hard work. For all, it was a fun way to spend spring break and strengthen bonds between their friends in the choir.
“When I first found out that the Singers were going to Disney, I was so excited! I remember watching another college choir perform on my last trip to Disney and thinking how much fun it must be to perform in such a famous place. Now, a year later, I can say that I was one of those performers! It almost doesn’t feel real,” said freshman Audrey Sabatino.
Sabatino and Singer Samitheus Savinon before performing on stage in Disney.
AUDREY SABATINO/ COURTESY
Singers prepared three songs for their performance, with director of the performing arts department, Andrew Bauer conducting the choir. The set included a 17-minute long medley of songs from “Hairspray” the popular musical that just returned to the public eye after NBC’s “Hairspray Live”. Sabatino recalls a couple jumping up and dancing during the musical’s finale tune, “You Can’t Stop the Beat”.
The choir also performed Baba Yetu, which is the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. To top it all off, the members, donning their green Manhattan College Performing Arts polos, performed Queen’s famous song “Somebody to Love”.
Sabatino and friends getting on Hollywood Studio’s “Rock N Rollercoaster.”
All members believed the performance went really well. On the stage located in Disney Springs (a shopping center/marketplace located in Orlando, FL), the MC choir impressed hundreds of tourists and family members.
Performing Arts is an important component within the Disney Company, allowing many middle school/high school/college choirs the chance to come down and show their skills on the Disney stage, proving that choirs, bands and orchestras are still a very key part of our educational culture.
“Singers is a very important group to such an athletics-engineering-business-education focused school. I understand Manhattan College is not known for its performing arts. However, simply sweeping the creativity of students (no matter their passions) under a rug promotes a bunch of coffee-sipping nine-to-fivers who wear gray suits, gray watches, and gray lives […] Students need an outlet for any (not just musical) creativity. Besides, music is about listening. Music teaches you to listen in detail […] So many college kids talk, and very few listen,” said sophomore member David Cartolano.
The group, having grown from their time as performers coming together as one, “earned their ears”, a Disney-specific term where the student performers received exclusive Mickey Mouse ears only given to those that have performed on a Disney stage.
Then came the fun part everyone was looking forward to: spending their days in the parks. Since the choir had grown so close during their time at rehearsals, they traversed the four parks together, making memories with those who had become their best friends.
“[On the] very last night, we hit Fantasmic, the People Mover, Space Mountain, ice cream sundaes, the Haunted Mansion, and Thunder Mountain in maybe 2 [or] 3 hours. In the Haunted Mansion, a silent, creepy employee actually scared the hell out of two of my friends (he appeared behind me when the lights snapped on), who in turn scared the hell out of me. On Thunder Mountain (when the park was closing), we screamed “one more time! one more time!” and they smiled and actually let us go again. It was a fantastic night,” said Cartolano.
It was a fun spring break for the Singers, that is for certain—many members are thrilled for their next chance to go back, but Sabatino is also optimistic for even greater opportunities the choir will receive in the future.
“I think the Singers have performances in more than just Disney in the future. I’m only a freshman, so I’m excited to see where my upcoming years in Singers will take me,” said Sabatino.