By APRIL GUILMET Union Leader Correspondent Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY - Four planes, a fleet of buses, countless volunteers and one very large moving truck took the sounds of Londonderry High School's Lancers band to Florida this week, as the 340 members of the school's marching band, orchestra, jazz ensemble and choir readied themselves for the vacation of a lifetime.
On Sunday morning, the students and their 30 adult chaperones traveled by bus to Logan Airport, where they boarded four separate flights to Orlando. They'll spend much of their April vacation week performing at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.
Music Director Andy Soucy said evening rehearsals have been constant over the past several weeks, with the young musicians polishing their performances of patriotic tunes, as well as the Latin-inspired beats of Gloria Estefan.
On Thursday evening, the high school cafeteria was abuzz with activity as students and parents streamed in the front doors, carrying suitcases and instruments.
"It's quite an aggressive undertaking to get everyone down there," Soucy said Thursday, motioning to the neatly ordered rows of black instrument cases and color-coded aisles of the travelers' luggage.
"We travel like a rock band," he laughed, showing the five-foot tall cases being used to transport nine bass drums. "Unbelievable," he added.
A large orange moving van departed for Orlando earlier in the weekend, carrying luggage and instruments and allowing the 370 travelers to board their flights without having to check in any items or equipment.
The fourth and final flight arrived in Orlando shortly before 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Lancers band and color guard will march in the Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom tonight.
On Tuesday, the local musicians will make three appearances at the Downtown Disney Resort, with the jazz ensemble, orchestra and choir playing back-to-back performances at midday.
Tuesday night the band will head over to EPCOT Center, where they'll be treated to a private viewing of the Illuminations show, followed by a march in Universal Studios' Superstar Parade on Wednesday morning.
There will be plenty of time for fun and relaxation in between, with students and chaperones catching a performance of the Cirque de Soleil Thursday evening before flying back to Boston Friday.