July 6-9, 2017 forty-seven alumni and friends spanning 14 (out of 14) years of the Walt Disney World All-American College Orchestra (AACO) converged on Walt Disney World for the second AACO reunion.  Alumni were joined by families and dignitaries including Jim Christensen (Orchestra Director), Matt Conover (Vice-President Disneyland). Rick Goodstein (Orchestra and Marching Band Director), and Ron Logan (founder of the Disney College Musician Program).

Disney Performing Arts (DPA) was gracious enough to host the event, as was the case in 2015.  DPA did a phenomenal job providing the rehearsal and performance spaces, chairs, stands, microphones/amplifiers, audio recording, large instruments including all percussion, manpower, and discounted park tickets.  It was top-notch service, as you can imagine. A special thank you to Rene Perez at DPA for helping make this event happen.

Friday’s events included a morning rehearsal at the beautiful Saratoga Springs Resort Performance Hall. Alumni took the afternoon to eat, catch-up, and visit the theme parks. Later in the day, an informal memorial was held at EPCOT to honor Bob Radock, Scott Auby and Karen Sanno.  (Video of the memorial is here.)  Following the memorial, AACO alumni met for a group picture at the America Gardens Theatre, the stage where the AACO originally made the magic happen.  Afterwards, the group gathered outside the Italy pavilion for a special dessert reception and front-row viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Saturday’s events started with another morning rehearsal at Saratoga Springs, a free afternoon to eat and catch-up, and then an evening performance at the Waterside Stage in Downtown Disney.  The set list included:

  • Disney on Parade Overture
  • Broadway Overture
  • Birdland 
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Chorus Line
  • Send in the Clowns
  • Broadway Favorites 
  • John Williams Medley
  • When You Wish Upon a Star

Video of the performance is available here.

Conducting duties were split between Douglas Droste, Rick Goodstein, and Bob Hasty.   Jim Christensen, Matt Conover, and Ron Logan were publicly recognized during the performance for their contributions not only to the AACO, but also to music programs throughout the United States. 

Unlike the AACO performance in the 80s and 90s, the rain held off for the 6:00 PM performance.  The audience at the Waterside Stage was larger than any of us have ever seen!

An after-concert reception was held at Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs followed by alumni continuing to catch-up (i.e. party) into the early hours of the next morning.

Additional photos and recordings of the reunion are available on the AACO Facebook site as well as on Dropbox

Following is the list of alumni who attended.

Rick Goodstein ‘93
Jim Christensen ’84-92

1st Violins:
Bob Hasty '86/87
Sherry Lattin '92
Jennifer Anderson Schramm '92
Peter Wilson '90

2nd Violins:
Douglas Droste '93
Mary Van Hemert Lubaroff '88
Dawn Renee '93
Tanya Li Roth '97
Anna Jauma Ventura '93
Jessica Tyler Wright '93 (singer)

Abigail Kubert Cross '92
Cheri Drummond '91
Renee Fletcher '93

Chris Christensen '92
Eboli Giannini '92
Matt Lavin '93

Iris Gross Derke '90
Alan Fuller '87
Roberto Iriarte '92
Paul Morgenroth '93
Stephanie Schraier '97
Kristin West '93

Jeremy Miloszewicz '93
Joe Reardon '90
Neal Webb '85

Keith Fitzgerald '98

Ben Kirby '88

French Horns:
Troy Messner '92
Kathy Tait Thomas '92

Fred Ganter '90
Gregory Alan Parnell '92
Glenn Paulson '86
Clay Price '97

Tim Christensen '86 (singer)
Chris Dively '93

The reunion committee wishes to thank everyone for making the effort to attend as well as helping establish the overall positive and feel-good nature of the event.  You are truly a special group of people.

Many have asked that additional reunions be arranged.  The reunion committee will determine the best course of action based on the popularity of the event.  While additional gatherings with other AACO alumni are certainly encouraged, any “official” reunion activities, particularly those which require assistance from Disney, should be coordinated through Doug Droste.

Thanks again to all attendees and their families!  Please feel free to direct any questions or comments to the reunion committee, Doug DrosteFred Ganter, Emily Randle, and Kathy Thomas.