All too often guests will run down Main Street when they enter the Magic Kingdom to hit their favorite attractions without realizing all the great details and entertainment they are missing. One such entertainment offering is the Main Street Philharmonic. The Philharmonic is a 12 piece brass and percussion ensemble that made its debut in 2000 when they replaced the Main Street Marching Band. This group fits in perfectly with Main Street’s atmosphere. When they come parading down the street guests are transported back to a time of celebration in a small town such as the fourth of July or Veteran’s Day.
The Philharmonic delights guests with classic songs like Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Seventy-Six Trombones. They also play a great mix of Disney tunes like Under the Sea and Be Our Guest. They do several shows a day in Town Square and on Main Street. During the holidays the band can be heard playing many of the popular tunes of the season. One of my personal favorites is Santa Clause is Coming to Town because they encourage the crowd to sing along.
In addition to their normal shows they also participate in the daily Flag Retreat Ceremony in Town Square. During the ceremony they play a beautifully arranged version of The Star Spangled Banner that is sure to bring tears to your eyes. The ceremony ends with the Philharmonic playing a medley of songs to honor the different branches of the United States Armed Forces.
When the band is performing, don’t be afraid to get out in the street and dance along. They’re great at interacting while they’re playing and are more than gracious to pose for photos. In addition to their performances on Main Street some of the Philharmonic members are widely involved in other music-related areas within Walt Disney World. The members sometimes help out with the Magic Music days where workshops are held for high school choirs, orchestras, and bands from all over the country. Another area where some of these members are active is the very popular Candlelight Processional in Epcot during the holidays.
For many self-proclaimed “band geeks” like me, being a part of the Philharmonic would be an amazing career to have. There are only 12 members performing at a time but they do have a rotating schedule so they also need additional members to fill in from time to time. Keep in mind if you want to try out you need to be very outgoing as well as a great musician. In between their songs the band members interact with the crowd and are very funny. The Main Street Philharmonic is a must see hidden music gem. The next time you are in the Magic Kingdom check your times guide or ask a cast member when they’ll be performing.
Contributed by: Shalon Given (NDI#167) Shalon is the DDL Music Blogger.