Video+Story: Bowie Band Hosting Zumba-thon to Fundraise for Disneyland Workshop

To make it to a Disneyland-based music conference, the Bowie High School band will have to do more than just play excellent music. They’ll also have to dance to it.

The music program at Bowie, under the direction of band director Jasmine Torres, has seen a resurgence over the past few years. They capstoned a successful marching season by earning a top Division 1 rating at the regional University Interscholastic League contest.

Now the band wants to further their music education attending the Disney Performing Arts Workshops in California. The workshops give students an opportunity to work with Disney teaching artists on skills like intonation, balance, expressiveness and musicality.

In order to get the funding, however, the band is hosting a Dance Cardio Masterclass – a Zumba-like fundraiser that gets people moving and exercising.

“I used to teach Zumba and dance cardio, and I thought it would be cool to take an old skill and put it to use here,” Torres said. “It’s minimum of a five-dollar donation for two hours to get a really great work out and support a really great cause.”

The event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday at the Bowie High School gym, 801 South San Marcial.

Torres said the band is getting a lot of support from current and former band members, and the Bowie community as a whole. The Bowie band has a long tradition of excellence, and people are interested in the development of the music program there.

“The past three and a half years, the Bowie Band has put in countless hours of work and energy into improving our program,” she said. “The students work extremely hard, so we wanted to present them with an amazing educational and creative opportunity to be able to perform at Disneyland and experience a trip most of our students have never had.”

For many at Bowie, the trip to Anaheim will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand their musical interests and also scratch one item off their bucket list: to visit Mickey Mouse’s home.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to expose them to a music educator that is far more experienced than I am. The educator will guide them through Disney music pieces,” Torres said. “Everyone needs to go to Disney once in their lives and most of these kids have never been to Disney, so for us to be able to give that to them it’s very special to us.”

Junior Katelynn Ontiveros is looking forward to the trip with her bandmates.

“To have the opportunity to go to Disneyland is something we have definitely earned through all our hard work,” she said. “Ms. Torres has pushed me really hard to get to a level of playing I never expected to be. I am thankful to all the people who have donated so far. It means a lot to us that the community wants to help us achieve this dream.”

Senior Eduardo Martinez has benefited from his four years in band, not only in his musicality but his person as a whole.

“The biggest thing you learn in band is how to identify rhythms, but most importantly you learn to be a better person and to contribute to the community,” he said.

Torres was out for maternity leave this past year, but Martinez credits her instruction for their continued success on the field.

“This past season of our marching band was tough since Ms. Torres wasn’t with us, but we managed to score ones,” he said. “It’s going to be great to go to Disney because it’s Disney after all, but I am looking forward to going with my friends and learning from a professional musician.”

Story by Alicia Chumley | Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD