The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Chorus travels to Florida to sing at Walt Disney World’s Candlelight Processional

A group of chorus students embarks on some sightseeing near Walt Disney World’s Hollywood area on December 7, 2023. They plan to explore for the first two days and perform on the third. Photo used with permission from Shelby Bruhjell.

The Ocean Lakes mixed chorus has been selected to perform at Walt Disney World’s Candlelight Processional on Dec. 9, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. 

This will be the first time current seniors get to go, making it an even more special occasion and a fitting end to their career as Ocean Lakes singers.

“I have never been to Candlelight, and I am really excited for this opportunity,” said senior Bailey Pohl. “Usually, Mr. Boardman does this every other year, but since COVID, he has not been able to.”

William Boardman, the chorus director, attests to the long-lasting tradition.

“We’ve done it since 2010 [on] every even year… so every two years,” said Boardman.

Twenty-seven singers will depart from Virginia Beach on Dec. 6 and return on Dec. 10. They plan to explore the park in small groups before heading to Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) to practice with a multitude of other high school choirs. 

“I’m definitely very excited,” said freshman Shelby Bruhjell. “I can’t wait to go and sing at Walt Disney World.”

The Voices of Liberty, Disney’s accomplished eight-part acapella group, will join the choirs, and a surprise celebrity announcer will read “The Night Before Christmas” between songs.

“Disney’s arrangers have taken traditional carols and ‘disney-fied’ them,” said Boardman. “They made them cooler…and more exciting because they go in and around the Christmas stories.”

The mass choir will perform a variety of songs, from carols and Christmas songs to upbeat choral pieces. Positioned at the front with individual microphones, the Voices of Liberty will lead as the choir weaves in to form different melodies and five-part harmonies. Altogether, the processional consists of approximately 15 separate pieces sung by over 200 singers.

A great amount of work has to be put in to sing at such a level. The chorus has rehearsed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during lunch for the past month in addition to in-class run-throughs, after-school practices and summer sessions, especially leading up to the audition recording.

For the audition, the chorus recorded Disney’s version of “O Holy Night” along with another piece of their choice. When the news came of their selection, travel plans immediately strung into action.

“It’s unique,” said Boardman. “There’s no other way you would have an opportunity to do this. As a performer, it’s special.”

Bailey is proud the chorus gets to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, especially in relation to the influx of aspiring singers.

“We have gained a lot of talented freshmen, and I am glad I am able to ‘pass the torch’ down to them,” said Bailey. “I’m glad I’m able to participate and experience this in my last year, and I’m sure I will remember this as a goodbye.”

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About the Contributor
Mahi Sakharpe, Design Editor
Mihika Sakharpe, a freshman in the Math and Science Academy, is a design editor and first-year journalist for The Current. She loves to swim, watch cricket and learn languages (seven so far). Apart from journalism, she is involved in Model UN and debate. Outside of school, she is a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. Her dream is to pursue rocketry and make humans an interplanetary species. Her goal is to write a diverse array of award-winning articles for The Current.

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    SanjivaniDec 8, 2023 at 10:48 pm

    Well done mahi once again .All the very best to your school choir group