UA student spends 'best summer' yet with Disney World band

Heather Hiscox

Arizona Daily Wildcat

What would you say if you could spend a summer making money, making friends, and doing what you love, while staying in Florida's Magic Kingdom?

Kris Wiedeman, UA music education senior said, "sign me up!"

Although it was not quite this easy, and okay, he had to go through interviews and applications, he still said it was, "the best summer I have ever had. I loved it and I would do it again in a heartbeat."

Wiedeman was one of 23 college students from all over the United States to participate in the 1995 All-American College Show Band.

Wiedeman, who heard of the Walt Disney World Band from others and from fliers posted around campus, said, "I knew I had to get a summer job, like a person would bus tables, and I would get to play my instrument."

Although this summer job would beat bussing tables, it did have it's demands. The day would consist of a couple of hours

of rehearsal with guest clinicians, Marvin Stamm, Jiggs Whigham, and Jeff Kashiwa, followed by six performances each day from Tuesday until Saturday of each week.

"They (the clinicians) were all fun to work with. They shared their experiences with us about the music industry. Even though other people have done stuff in the real world, they saw it first hand," said Wiedeman.

The program's goal is to educate students in a real world entertainment work setting. The band of musicians from 21 colleges and universities were selected on the basis of their musical talent, and by the image they presented of an "All American" : outgoing, enthusiastic, well-rounded, and dynamic.

"Most of us knew it was part of it (acceptance). We all had a close shave and a clean haircut. On the surface everyone looks like that, but it didn't necessarily mean that you were like that," said Wiedeman. "You had to look the part."

Wiedeman, earning $313 per week for his involvement in the band, also said that he gained a lot personally from the experience.

"There were a lot of things I enjoyed. I was exposed to a lot of different types of music that I had never played and never heard before. I learned a lot about the music industry," said Wiedeman. "It was pretty exciting. It was the best crowd I have ever had. The people were there to see stuff like that; they were excited and into it, so that was pretty cool."

Wiedeman, who has been playing instruments for eight years trumpet in High School and tuba through college as a member of the UA marching band through the 1994 season, said that he hopes to incorporate tuba into either his career as a music educator or to perhaps join "a community band, or who knows, I might get a professional gig, we'll see."

This "we'll see," outgoing attitude, not only helped him to get into the band but allowed him to deal with some humorous situations while at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Wiedeman said that when he and his three other roommates who stayed in a trailer together, attempted to hook up their phone with the telephone company, the company believed it to a crank call. The boys lived in Snow White's Vacation Village in Seven Dwarfs Land. Go figure.

"One night, during a hurricane scare, we had to live under the Magic Kingdom, " said Wiedeman.

Wiedeman admitted that although he had an idea of how everything worked at the park, he found it interesting and was once able to dress as the character Eeyore, the donkey, and Winnie the Pooh. "It was weird and it wasn't what I was expecting. It was much harder."

"Overall, it was pretty cool. I was amazed how well everyone got along. I was worried about the problem of huge egos, but it really wasn't like that at all. It was fun to work with and meet so many people," said Wiedeman about his experience.

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