Va. band can’t ride Disney attractions
A Great Bridge High School marching band trip to perform in the Orlando Citrus Parade in Florida and in Disney World's parade down Main Street won't include riding the attractions.
The Great Bridge band has played in both parades over winter break every four years, for the past 16 years. Their performance in the Citrus Parade is broadcast on national television.
Band members and their parents have been going back and forth with school officials over the trip. Permission was denied earlier this year, and parents were told again last week the trip was off.
The decision was based on a 2006 Chesapeake Public Schools rule that bans trips to amusement parks and water parks, school spokesman Tom Cupitt said. The rule was in response to incidents that happened elsewhere in which students were injured on park rides. Cupitt said officials have now decided to allow the band members to travel and perform, provided they don't go on any of the park's rides.
"They can do it, as long as once they're done with the performance, they get back on the bus and go to the hotel," Cupitt said.
The school division said it is concerned about supervision of the 159 students signed up for the trip, but organizers say about 40 people have volunteered to go as chaperones.
Whether students and their parents will make the trip is unclear, but some plan to take their concerns to the school board at its Aug. 25 meeting.
For the band's senior members, four years of work, including after-school practices and daylong sessions of band camp during the summer, build up to the Disney World trip, said Geoff Smith, who plays the trumpet.
"It was my light at the end of the tunnel, my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," Smith said. "You're going to take a bunch of high school students during Christmas and New Year's Eve to Disney World, and tell them they can't go on any rides?
"It would still be fun. But it wouldn't be the same."