The Disney All-American College Band Celebrates 40 Years

The Disney All-American College Band (AACB) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a reunion and performances in Disneyland Park on July 17, 2010. The 140-member mass band consisted of alumni from all over the world and ranging from the very first AACB to the current 2010 group.

The band performed a standstill concert in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and marched down Main Street U.S.A. “It was a crazy day, but it was a beautiful day of sharing,” says Dr. Ron McCurdy, director of the AACB and a jazz instructor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. “We rehearsed for a couple hours, told stories, just had fellowship and had a good time.”

The AACB is an 11-week paid internship program for college student musicians. The performers play in the park all summer and participate in workshops and clinics to help them in their future careers.

“It becomes more than just performing in the park,” says McCurdy, himself an alum of the program. “The kids are learning how to shape their careers, life skills that you would not necessarily learn at your respective university.”

The reunion included appearances from the group’s previous directors, alumni band dancers (the group no longer has dancers), and esteemed alumni including woodwind player Sal Lozano, who has played music for hit TV shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and is a member of Gordon Goodwin’s (also an AACB alum) Big Phat Band.

This reunion is only the second one ever assembled and fell on the same day as Disneyland’s 55th birthday. The first reunion was in 2005 when longtime director Dr. Arthur C. Bartner retired from the position. McCurdy hopes to have one every five years.

Disney Art for Music

One-of-a-kind string basses hand-painted by Disney artists will be auctioned to support music education. From Halftime Magazine, a print publication for the marching arts.