MISSION VIEJO – Andy Waldukat looked around as thousands of second graders sang along to “Grand Ol’ Flag” as the Disneyland Band played for them in the Capistrano Valley High School gymnasium Thursday, March 16.
“My heart is so full right now,” Waldukat said after the first of two performances.
The band was on hand to help introduce the children to instrumental arts by playing jazz, patriotic and symphonic music in a fun atmosphere.
Thousands of second-grade students from Capistrano Unified and Saddleback Valley Unified school districts were entertained by Mickey Mouse and the Disneyland Band as part of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s Youth Music Education Program for 2017.
The partnership between Disney and the philharmonic society started 33 years ago. Each year the band visits the two school districts, said Rita Major, director of education with the philharmonic society.
Major said introducing second graders to the instruments is the first step in introducing children to the arts. In third grade, they’ll be introduced to symphonic arts, and in fourth grade interested students have the opportunity to pick up an instrument.
“Years ago, there were no electronics, so what do you do for entertainment?” Major said. “You’d go to the park, you’d see a community band. We’re giving children examples of the music they might hear in life.”
The band, under the direction of Kurt Curtis, a Trabuco Canyon resident, introduced instruments in sections: percussion, brass and woodwinds before playing jazz, patriotic and symphonic music. The group ended the performance by playing Disney favorites and inviting Mickey Mouse out to conduct.
“They loved it,” said Michelle Ramirez, a teacher at Lobo Elementary in San Clemente. “They were familiar with the patriotic songs because they learned them in school.”
Current Capistrano Valley junior Leila Salem remembered watching the Disneyland Band when she was in second…