USA Tour Day 12 – Disneyland Studio Workshops

Day Twelve – Tuesday 14th April 2015.

Today was another huge day on our USA tour. Very quickly there is the realisation that it is all coming to an end, this time tomorrow evening we’ll be back on the plane heading home…how time has flown!

Anyway, that’s enough of me pondering on what is to come, there’s so many exciting things that we have managed to fit into today.

Today was our second day at Disneyland, and boy oh boy was it an exciting one. The day started early with breakfast, the parks opened at 9:00am and the plan was to be there bang smack on 9 to ensure we got the most out of the day before and after our film score workshops in Disney Performing Arts Studios. I was going to heading off with the Concert Band for their workshops being held at 12:30pm.

We got to the park by around 9:30am and headed through California Adventure to get our Fast Track tickets for the evening event “Disney’s World of Colour” this is the finale show held every evening at Disney California Adventure, the Fast Track ensured we would get a good viewing position for the entire show.

Once we had gotten our passes we headed off for some time in the park. I had only a short amount of time, until 10:30am, to get through as many rides as possible before meeting up with some fellow staff members to head back to the hotel to load the instruments onto the buses for the students’ workshop. We had decided that this would be a more effective way for the students to get more time in the fun parks  plus logistically just beefier for us. I headed over to Disneyland and managed to get on the Indiana Jones Rollercoaster Ride – it was pretty cool, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I walked around to see if I’d be able to get onto Big Thunder Mountain, another roller coaster, prior to 10:30am, unfortunately the estimated time was going to cut it too close for my liking so I headed back to the hotel to meet up with my colleagues.

The loading of instruments worked exceptionally well, we had all instruments loaded onto the bus by 11:00am and headed back to the park. We were meeting the students at 11:30am, this meant that we didn’t really have enough time to go on any more rides so we headed into Down Town Disney. Down Town Disney is basically a number of tourist shops and cafes located outside of the theme parks for people to spend a lot of money. I had a look through some of the shops as well as find The House of Blues, the place we;d be having dinner later int he evening before heading back to the meeting place inside California Adventure.

Once all the students were assembled we headed to the entrance point of the backstage area. We were informed that we had to turn off our mobile phones, no photography was allowed back stage, if anyone was seen with there phones out then they’d be taken off them. We had an official group photo (for the memories) in the Disney Performing Arts School before walking through the carpark to the recording studio.

Having arrived at the recording studio we were welcomed and escorted into the room where we were going to record some well known music from various Disney films. We were introduced to our Musical Director taking the workshop, Sal Lozano, a professional freelance musician from Southern California.

His biography was impressive and quite intimidating with him being a featured member of ensembles lead by Johnny Mandel and Tom Kubis as well as being a member of the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. He has also recorded and worked with Paul McCartney, Natalie Cole, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Lalo Schifrin, Brian McKnight, Michael Buble, Keely Smith, Barbra Streisand, Joey DeFrancesco, and Maynard Ferguson.

Sal has been a member of the Dancing with the Stars House Band, the American Idol House Band, and the Academy Awards Orchestra along with numerous other television and commercial credits. He has also performed at the Gala for the President at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. and as a soloist with the Pacific Symphony, The San Diego Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Sal can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks including National Treasure, Legally Blonde 2, Public Enemies, Just like Heaven, Happy Feet, Phineas and Ferb the last three Star Trek movies and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, to name a few. He frequently occupies the principal chair at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles as well as the Pasadena Playhouse.  Shows include Matilda, Follies, Sleepless in Seattle, The Drowsy Chaperone, Chicago, The Producers, and Edward Scissorhands.

After the introductions we got straight to work, beginning with tuning and tone exercises. Sal made the ensemble focus on tone production and picture piercing a hole through a wall with the intensity of sound and tone regardless of volume that was being used, the difference in the quality of the intonation over the ensemble improved dramatically through using this technique.

Sal explained the every day expectations of studio session musicians, they’d arrive at 9:00am and have brand new charts placed in front of them. By 9:30am musicians would be expected to record all the music for the session, being analytical at appraising their individual performance and getting it right the first time, after all time is money in the studio.

These expectations were then placed on the ensemble for all the pieces that were recorded, these included pieces from The Emperor’s New Groove, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pinnochio and Tangled. After each piece had been recorded we were given the opportunity to watch them synced up to the animation.

The whole experience proved enjoyable and a great learning tool for all the musicians involved.

At the conclusion of the workshop we were able to head back into the theme parks for some more free time. I needed to help in the packing up and returning of instruments to the hotel, after this I headed back and enjoyed rides including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. After having finished in the Haunted Mansion it was time meet up with the rest of the group for our evening meal at The House of Blues.

Dinner at the House of Blues was enjoyable, only a short walk through Down Town Disney we arrived and dined on food included pulled pork rolls, corn cakes, chicken and various salads. As with every meal, I ate way too much and was regretting it later that night!

We then headed back into he parks for some free time before the evening event “The World of Colour”. This was one of the most amazing spectacles I have ever seen, using water jets and lighting Disney have produced an hour show featuring various songs and vision from Disney Movies projected into the mist created from the water jets…truly breath taking.

At the conclusion of this spectacle it was time to head back to the meeting point, our time at Disney Land was coming to a close. I managed to make a quick stop at the Disney store, I have bought my daughter a little Piglet doll, I hope that she likes it!

Once everyone had assembled we headed back to the hotel, tomorrow will be our last day in the USA, then our flight home!

As I reflect on the last two days at Disney Land I must admit it really is the happiest place on earth, I know it’s definitely a place that I will want to come back to and share with my wife and children in the years to come!


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