John Grove, Concert Band Director for Middle and Upper Schools escorted two of Mount Vernon’s bands and one choral group to Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, TN on two separate occasions. US Dean of Students Krista Parker joined him on the Upper School band trip at the beginning of March, while Matthew Neylon, Director of Visual & Performing Arts accompanied him on the grades 7 & 8 chorus and band excursion at the end of the month.
Mount Vernon’s musical arts groups were invited to perform at Dollywood’s entrance gates on the opening day of the Festival of Nations. This unique opportunity provided our students with several enriching experiences, such as:
- Performing in an open-air venue
- Playing for a very large and public crowd
- Temporarily becoming part of an external organization
During their visit, students were able to enhance their on-site experience by attending concerts of many different ensembles from around the world. Africa, Argentina, Ireland and Nova Scotia were represented in musical form at the park. Absorbing the culture of the Smoky Mountains, both groups were guests at the Smoky Mountain Opry show. They also enjoyed “WonderWorks,” a collection of interactive displays including electrical experiments, a bed of nails, unusual musical instruments, and optical illusions.
As members of the #MVArts program, Mount Vernon’s band and choir groups are exposed to several off-campus cultural adventures — gaining experience, developing their craft, and having fun.