Betsy Band to open for Magical Kingdom light parade

Published 9:57 am Friday, April 8, 2016

Contributed Photo  Betsy Band members celebrate their stardom at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.

Contributed Photo
Betsy Band members celebrate their stardom at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.

Backed by half a million twinkling lights and characters like Pinocchio, Cinderella and Snow White, Elizabethton’s Betsy Band will perform the opening act for Disney’s Magical Kingdom Main Street Electrical Parade tonight.

Along with two other nationally-acclaimed marching bands, the Betsy Band will open the show with renditions of Van Halen’s “Jump” and Carlos Santana’s “Smooth.”

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“This is a great, great slot to be performing in, and the kids really enjoy and look forward to it,” said Band Director Perry Elliott.

The band submitted video footage as part of its application for the performance, and though the parade takes place on multiple nights, they were selected for the premier Friday night performance.

“We got picked out of bands across the country,” said Elliott.

Fundraising for the trip is no small feat, as Elliott said the buses alone cost $25,000.

“It takes us about two years to raise the funds to enable the band to go, and the band club works really hard at that,” he said.

Dozens of parents joined in the excursion, either as chaperones or as Betsy Band fans.

“It’s an honor to watch not only my child, but the entire band perform at such a magical place in a prestigious show that showcases their gifts and the many hours they have devoted to practice,” said Debbie Guy, mother of Betsy saxophonist Logan Guy.

Elliott said the band is only able to make the trip every two years, and they feel very lucky to be highlighted in the Friday night event this time.

After their performance, the light parade and an extensive fireworks display, Elliott said students will each receive a gift.

“Disney always has a gift for them, and this year it’s going to be something they’ve never gotten before,” said Elliott, reluctant to spoil the surprise.

After three days of enjoying Disney World, band members will head home Saturday night.