For the talented choirs at Hanahan High School, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits next month: a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where they'll sing for an audience of thousands on a glittering stage.
On Dec. 2, 38 of Hanahan's top choral students will join hundreds of young singers from around the country at Epocot's America Gardens Theater for the annual Candlelight Processional.
They'll perform Disney-arranged caroling classics, like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "What Child Is This," alongside a 50-piece orchestra while the evening's celebrity narrator, Whoopi Goldberg, relates the Biblical story of Christmas.
Hanahan's choral director, Jennifer Proveaux, first made the trip to Orlando when she was a high school student in Pike County, Georgia. It was a life-changing experience for Proveaux, a professional singer, who since has shepherded several student choirs through their Disney World debuts.
“I had this moment where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I have to do this for the rest of my life.’ Why would you not want to do this for the rest of your life?" Proveaux recalled of her time performing at Disney. "It’s something I definitely want to pass on to them."
"There’s just nothing like (it)."
Proveaux sent her students home last school year with Disney's music to practice over the summer. In September, afters weeks of rehearsals, they submitted an audition tape singing a Disney-approved rendition of "O Holy Night" and the Hanahan High School alma mater. The next week, Disney selected them.
"It was insane," said 15-year-old Gracen Stack, a sophomore and soprano in Hanahan's concert choir. "I wasn't shocked, but it was more like, I was just super excited for everybody else as well as myself because this is chance a lot of people don’t get. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Hanahan students need to raise $25,000 to cover hotels, transportation and tickets to Disney's theme parks. They're currently about $5,000 short after a corporate sponsor suddenly dropped out.
Those interested in helping Hanahan's choirs can donate to its choir department by contacting Proveaux at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailing a check to Hanahan High School at 6015 Murray Ave., Hanahan, SC 29410.