Riverside band plays, struts to Disney World glory

Published 12:05 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

RESERVE — The members of the Riverside Academy band thought they might be in trouble.

While waiting backstage at Disney World’s Epcot theme park, Marching Pride of Riverside was warming up to take its turn marching through the World Showcase as part of Festival Disney, a competition for high school parade bands held in March.

Each of the three bands in this particular competition would take a turn marching through the park and be judged on their musical and visual performances.

Just as the Rebels were about to go, though, they heard the competition.

“We thought we were going to finish third,” said Trinity Hill. “They sounded so good.”

Mickey hadn’t heard anything yet, though.

When the Rebel Band marched out from behind the Disney fences, crowds gathered, said Riverside band director Darryl Clement.

Awards for Best in Class and Outstanding Auxiliary bookend the Golden Mickey honor.

“We came out of the gate right there by England and people were pouring out of the buildings,” he said. “Some people were singing to it and doing dances. Then, the more we paraded through the park, the more people came out into the streets and were videoing us. It was a great experience.”

A few days later, after a day of fun at Typhoon Lagoon, the Rebels reaped their rewards.

The Marching Pride of Riverside took home the top prizes for musical and visual performance with superior ratings across the board and scores of 95 and 98 in the respective categories.

The band also won Best in Class. Riverside competed in Class A, which was under 75 members, and finished with the highest score.

The judges also named the auxiliary, which includes the flag and dance teams, the most outstanding.

Then, at their discretion, the judges awarded the band a coveted Golden Mickey, the highest award a group can win.

“It was incredible,” said Clement, whose previous bands had brought home bronze and silver Mickeys, but never a golden one. “They really earned it. They did phenomenal.”

Marching Pride of Riverside members live up to their name during a performance last month in Disney World. (Photo by Ron Jung)

Clement attributed the band’s tremendous success to hard work, a perfect song choice (“Ex’s and Oh’s”) and a spot-on performance by the 40 or so musicians.

“One thing we know is, we’re a small band so everybody’s got to play,” Clement said. “If someone doesn’t play, it makes a difference.”

Junior Matt Tregre, the band’s drum major, said he could tell early on that his ensemble was on.

“When we started marching, I felt like we were doing phenomenal,” Tregre said. “The music was fantastic. I couldn’t really see the marching well because I was trying to pay attention to everyone around me, but I felt like the music was great and I was praying that the marching was on.”

It was.

Of course, the Rebels have an advantage.

“Coming from Louisiana, we have a little bit of an edge because we march in parades all the time,” Clement said. “We work on it.”

Clement said his band members work hard on all of it and this is their due.

“We work probably harder than any group on this campus,” Clement said. “Our season never stops. To have that experience makes the work worth it.”