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Watertown Select Choir students bring home Golden Mickey award

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WATERTOWN — Members of Watertown High School’s Select Choir made the journey to Walt Disney World to compete with schools across the country in Festival Disney, bringing back a Golden Mickey award.

“They really had no idea what to expect. You never do till you get to a competition,” WHS Director of Music Russell J. Faunce said. “Out of all the 32 years I’ve gone to competitions, this was one of the top trips.”

Festival Disney is a musical competition open to concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching bands, orchestras, vocal ensembles, show choirs and auxiliary units. Mr. Faunce said the 32 Watertown High School students from the Select Choir participated in three competitions over spring break at the Disney theme park in Orlando, Fla. Students sang in the classical choir, male choir and show choir competitions.

The students’ performance in the show choir category won the Golden Mickey award and best in class. Classical choir also won best in class, and Mr. Faunce said all three groups received high scores.

“For the best in class awards, they were counted among the schools with a similar size and music program,” Mr. Faunce said. “Judges look at performers in all groups for the Mickey awards.”

He said the Golden Mickey is the highest award a group can win.

In 2010, Watertown students attended Festival Disney and brought home a Silver Mickey award, Mr. Faunce said.

For the show choir competition, he said, the students sang from a variety of popular shows and plays, including songs from the musical performed at the school earlier this year, “Shrek.” They also sang songs from the television show “Smash” and from the movie “Pitch Perfect.”

Classical choir sang “Awake the Harp,” “Sure on This Shining Night,” “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” and “Stand Upon the Rock.”

The Cyclones male choir sang “Bring Him Home” from the musical “Les Miserables,” “Hello” from the musical “The Book of Mormon” and “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel.

The students participated in the competitions for the first two days they were in Orlando. For the rest of their weeklong trip, from April 10 to 17, Mr. Faunce said, the students enjoyed Walt Disney World.

“On Monday we performed in Downtown Disney after the official competitions,” Mr. Faunce said. He said it was a strangely intimate Watertown experience at the Disney stage, with an audience filled with Watertown-area people on vacation, and family members of the students who live in Florida. “Family, friends, Watertown alumni; it was a pretty neat group of people connected to Watertown,” he said.

He said it was the “icing on the cake” for the student performers to have a local link to the cheering and clapping in their final performance for the week.

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