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PICTURED ARE: AHS Bearcat Band at Orlando included (kneeling from left) Andrew Cole, Chad Lewis, Cory Lewis, Bailey Woods, McKinley Payne, Carley Wayman, Shanda Hindman, Megan Cole, Heather Cole, Jessica Blan, Elizabeth Rowland, Emily Dahl, Kelly Gage; (back standing from left) Faith Folsom, Silas Maple, Ryan Lewis, Conner Copeland, Hannah Maple, Noah Payne, Caleb Harrington, Crystal Mallett, Tripp Sanders, Dyllynn Bell, Andi Routon, Shylor Lawrence, Daniel Anderson, Tristan Baggett, Jacob Brandon, Travis Petty, Kassie Bell, John Ables, Jessica Armstrong, Kali Clark, Kara Cole, Katie Paredes, Samantha Headrick, Susan Anderson, Amber Freelove, Ron Potter, Miranda Mack, Samantha Miller, Heather Scott, Regan Leathers and Katie Mitchell.
The Antlers High School Bearcat Band spent their spring break in Florida. The group had been chosen to perform in the Universal Orlando Resortâ€™s STARS Performance Program.
The Universal Orlando Resort STARS Performance Program is a musical program that allows marching bands, concert bands, dance teams and choirs a chance to perform in front of an international audience. Each group who wants to perform must submit an application months ahead of time, submit a photo of the uniforms to be worn, and a DVD of a recent performance. Groups who are selected will then be invited to perform at Universal Orlando Resort.
Antlers High School Band and the Band Boosters have been planning this trip since May 2012. They have been having fundraisers and receiving donations in order to lower the cost down for the band students. Fundraisers they held included a Krispy Kreme donut sale, a Halloween dance, a cake auction and a garage sale. They also sold Bearcat cups, gloves, and food basket chances. Angie Holiman Photography held a fundraiser for them where she donated all the profits of a sitting fee for a family session to the band. This raised $900. Curtis Video gave the band the profits from band photos they sold. This raised $622. Jack Austin, councilman from Choctaw Nation, gave the band $1000. Pushmataha County Chamber of Commerce gave the band an $850 donation. First Bank gave the group $100. Masonic Lodge #39 of Antlers held a bake sale for the band and raised $1198 to go for the purchase of new polo shirts that the band wore for their performance. The band students and sponsors then put in the rest of the money for the trip.
The band journeyed to Florida in a double decker charter bus and arrived in Orlando on Saturday, March 16. The group then went to the Universal Orlando Resortâ€™s CityWalk where they dined at the Hard Rock CafÃ©. Afterward, they explored CityWalk.
On Sunday, the group went to one of the theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort, the Islands of Adventure theme park. They went to the other theme park, Universal Studios, on Tuesday of their trip.
On Monday, the group loaded onto the charter bus and headed southwest to Tampa Bay/Clearwater/St. Petersburg where they went to the beach and ocean at Fort de Soto State Park. The band students, and many of the adult sponsors, enjoyed their beach day. They had lunch with a catered BBQ meal from a local restaurant. That night, about half the group decided to catch a performance of the Blue Man Group while others stayed at the hotel and relaxed by the pool.
Tuesday, March 19, before the group headed into the theme park for their last day, they performed on the Plaza Stage center view of the two theme parks and in the middle of CityWalk. The band was awesome and gave an excellent performance. Band Director Ron Potter was very pleased with the band students.
After their last day at the park, the group had to load back into the bus and head back to Oklahoma. The 73 people from Antlers had a great time but were ready to get back home. The Antlers Band and Band Boosters would like to thank everyone in the community for their support in helping make this trip possible and giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience.