Vikes marching to Disney World

Published 2:15 am Thursday, March 23, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - For one evening, the streets of the Magic Kingdom will belong to the Niles High School Marching Vikes.
Band instructor Steve Gruver and 91 members of the school band will travel to Orlando, Fla. over spring break to perform through the streets of Disney World.
Also making the journey south will be around 70 parents of band students. In all, Gruver said 161 people will travel in three coach buses for the trip between April 3 and 8.
The band will take part in a three hour instructional workshop at Disney called ‘You're Instrumental.' Gruver said the program is designed to give students tips on being a professional musician.
But, an evening zig-zagging through the streets of the Magic Kingdom should be the highlight of the trek for Gruver and the students. The group is scheduled to start at the Depot and end in Frontier Land. Along the way, Gruver said the band will play a rotation of tunes, including the NHS fight song, the Star Wars theme and groups of drum cadences, or solos, which will be “kind of salt n' peppered in-between the songs.”
Penciled into the schedule for the week is time at Blizzard Beach water park, the Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios.
The marching Vikes had to be chosen for the Disney gig, Gruver said. The process started with an application, a video tape of a performance and pictures of the band's current uniforms.
Students who wanted to attend the trip then had to do some fundraising to cover the $600 all-inclusive price. Gruver said students began raising the money last April. Band members sold flowers, cheese and sausage and also made money from the annual December fruit sale, Gruver said.
Scholarships were also provided by the band's booster group.
The trip falls right after the band's performance at the district six competition of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, which was held last week at Lake Michigan College. Around 22 high schools making up 70 bands participated in the event, Gruver said.
Niles was represented by their varsity and freshmen bands and both earned a division two, or excellent, rating, Gruver said. The highest rating possible is division one, with the lowest being division five.
Gruver said the performances by both bands was a big improvement from last year's competition, especially considering spring break was right around the corner.
Following their return from Florida, Gruver said the band will be focusing on their spring concert, as well as the Memorial Day and Blossomtime parades.