Dorney Park - Music In The Parks - Friday, May 30 - Unusual Perspectives

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Monday, June 2, 2008 1:01 PM
Greetings everyone!

Last Friday, I was assigned to chaperone the Music In The Parks trip to Dorney Park. Most of you have seen this type of event, as hordes of kids wearing identical shirts head en-mass to your local local park for a band competition, some good times on rides and a nice way to end the school year.

This report will focus less on rides, ratings and typical park "stuff" in lue of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes at these music in the parks events.

If you just want the ride ratings: skip down.

I woke up at 4 an got to school by five. Load the busses up and head out by roughly 5:30. Loading the busses up means drums, horns, tubas, etc. We had a convoy of 4 coach busses loaded with kids and their parents. The goal was to leave from Long Ialnd and beat rush hour. Everything, including the weather looked like it was going to cooperate.

The thing about Music in the parks that is deceptive is that none of the musical performances take place in the park. Instead, the groups are judged at eduational sites near the park (such as a high school or local college). I remember years ago when I saw actual live local marching bands at Kennywood, and my family and I loved every minue of it. How sad that the public couldn't enjoy the stellar music.

When we pulled into the school, (Which was well-kept on imaculate grounds), a representative from Music in the parks boarded my bus and gave the children thier directions...the cases were to stay on the bus and the kids were to meet in the gym. They could watch other perfromances, but htey will be "judged" on their behavior while watchin others.

Since we hit no traffic, we were an hour early and we took photos of the band, the jazz band and the orchestra.

The hosting school was smart. They were hawking thier snack bar and coffee whaich they said is quite a better deal hen we would get at Dorney. They were right soda was a buck and a frank was two. The only problem is that nobody wanted a frank at 9 AM. The food stand was a fund-raiser for the hosting school's music department.

At 10 the orchestra warmed up in a music room and took the stage at 10:30. They did a nice job. Then at 11:00, the band warmed up, by the time the jazzband finished and the busses were loaded again it was 1:30 PM.

The judging was unusual. There were two guys (full suits and ties) talking into a tape recorder and making 'notes" about each performance. This, from what I understand, is routine.

On the bus to the park we ate lunch, I gave out the tickets and told everyone to follow the rules, wash their hands before eating and to stay with their parent chaperones. Also, everyone had to be at the Food Fest (Catering area) At 6:15 for the awards ceremony.

The lot was nowhere near filled, but the bus parking was so full that there were sectioned bus areas in the regular lot. This was going to be a crowded day.

90 percent of the people in the parks were wearing band, orchestra or chorus t-shirts.

We were then allowed to roam the park at-will, and every kid was paired with thier parent chaperone.

At the end of the night, the judging ceremony took place and every group in our time slot was given an award rating of either: (from best to worst): Superior, Excellent, Good, and a few other ones. The people in my music department take the ratings seriously, as does the district. We won superior in all three events, but others did not. We also won first place in our division, which was weird, because we were the only elementary school participating in our events that day.

Again, I wish we could have played for the park patrons instead of 15 minutes away.

Ride Ratings:

Talon: Last row: Still lots of fun, Well-maintained. I did my famous "1 cheak sneak" and got a quick re-ride in the back row. The people in my school were not impressed with my efficiency.

Hydra: Last row. Ok. I like the JoJo roll, other than that...it's a Talon wannabe.

Thunderhawk: First time, mid train. I thought it was a bit rough. I also felt like my hands would have been able to touch the guard rails along the tracks. It's not as bad as Rolling Thunder, but it's not Lightning Racer or any wood at Kennywood either.

Scrambler: Moved a bit faster than most. Decent cycle. Good ride.

Monster: The ride op told me it's the only manuall controlled ride in the park. A bit of neck pressure, but a fun ride.

Log Flume: One hill, nice ride. Note: there are some active bee hives on the side of the loading dock.

Apollo: Fun ride. There should be more of these in parks.

Food: Just Chicken: Not too good long lines facing the main midway, but very short lines on the adjacent corner.

GameDay Grill: By far the worst motzerella stix I ever ate. None at my table wanted one. When was the last time that ever happend with cheese stix?

Bottle of water: $3.50 from machine. No thanks. The fountains though, were cold.

OTher things we would care about:

I saw a security guard tell a couple on a bench about the smoking policy, they quickly put it out. I thanked the guard.

There was a show going on that was so poor. My kids would have done a better job on stage.

Not a single line cutter.

Cussing was at a minimum.

Have a great day!

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Monday, June 2, 2008 10:49 PM
Nice TR, Flux. As always, an interesting perspective.

How much time did you actually get to spend in the park? Sounds like only a few hours. Of course, you don't need a whole ton of time to get in a lot of rides @ Dorney.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008 1:09 AM
Oh, you'd hate me. I'm a smoking, cussing fiend. J/K. I didn't know you couldn't smoke at Dorney anymore! I smoked like, five cigarettes there last week and no one said a word to me. Of course, I am considerate and walk away from other people, and I put my cigarettes out thoroughly on my shoe and then throw the butts OUT, NOT on the ground. I guess some people are much more blatant and rude about it.

Oh, you witnessed one of the tortuous shows? Urgh! I feel for you.

Actually, you CAN reach out and touch the rails on Thunderhawk at points. My girlfriend in her idiotic high school days decided it would be fun to stick her arms out and try to touch the posts on the way into the station. And then she broke her thumb and pointer finger when her hand smacked the wooden beams on the side of the ride. At least she learned her lesson.

Okay, I know it's probably unethical to do it, but I've gotta know how one performs a one cheek sneak.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008 8:41 AM
The Judges tapes from the tape recorders are very important for music departments. They really do pick up tiny details and tell the performing group things that are good and bad during each performance. During high school the marching band I was part of would use an hour each week to listen to the tapes that pertained to your section of the band. Music execution and effect, Visual (we called it color guard back then) execution and effect, Marching execution and effect , Percussion (execution only since effect was grouped in music effect) all had a seperate judge and a tape.

Funny story, if during a show a judge was standing where you were supposed to go you were supposed to walk into them (remember marching execution and effect are judged). If you don't walk into them they could say effect wise that it didn't look right from above(where effect is judged). Yes the places you are actually do look like something from above. Well I was the only male clarinet player one year in our marching band and I came real close to a judge. The judge moved real fast to get away from where I was going cause he knew I wasn't stopping. Then said into the tape, "good job male clarinet, you didn't let me affect you." When the tape was played people asked me what happened, so I explained he was almost in my way and I didn't stop it was either he moved or we were going to collide. Which then I would have had time to recover from before they could penalize our score. Later that season we heard a judge say they got whacked by a flute because he was in a wrong spot and the flute player turned and hit him with the flute.

Glad your school had a fun day at Dorney and yes they should find a way for the kids to play for the patrons.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008 8:49 AM
Bear ---> Actually, we had about 4 - 5 hours in the park, but it was so crowded, I only got on about 5 rides. The wait for Steel Force was at least 40 minutes. I was tired from the early wake-up, sitting around the school all morning for over 3 hours and taking photos of the kids. Once I relinquished my charges, I took it easy...but there were not too many walkons by the coasters. (The wait for Hydra was about 30 minutes.) By the time judging took place, most things were walk-ons.

If any of you go to a park during a Music in The parks event, plan accordingly.

Bunky ---> No I don't hatre you, quite the opposite....You said it yourself. You were "considerate" of others and walked away from those not smoking. That's what considerate people do.

As for the "cussing"...when you are in a park filled with kids, you don't need to hear unnecessary things from youngsters who should know better. Again, it's called being considerate. The park had a very youth-oriented vibe that day. Not too many families...but a ton of kids. Each bus is hlods about 50 people and the bus lot overflowed...that's a big take at the gate.

The one cheak-sneak is easy, but it works best if you go it alone...

As you come into the station...scan the platform. Look for groups of 2 or 3 who will board next...pretend you are getting a bag or something and then do a button-hook and pop back on. Once in a while you get caught...once in a while there is some one boarding that you missed...but about 1/3 - 1/2 of the time you can score another ride.

-----

Here is the official website for the Music In The Parks Organization:

http://www.musicintheparks.com/

As you can guess this is a win-win situation for all involved. The parks get big business on days when the kids should be in school. The kids get to go to a park for the day. The schools / music teachers get recognition and publicity and I get to chaperone. *** Edited 6/3/2008 12:52:02 PM UTC by Richie Reflux***

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008 4:53 AM
Sneaky indeed! I like it. I've always wondered how they policed that. Apparently, not very well. Ha ha!

Aw, I don't curse just walking around...and sadly, I usually go to DP by myself, so there's no need to curse. Although I almost always let out a string of expletives as I'm nearing the drop on Steel Force. Hehehehehe....Sometimes it just can't be helped.

Yeah, I've never understood why smokers can't remember that they are around a bunch of NON-SMOKERS at all times, and I really can't understand how they can smoke around children. I see a baby or a young child coming, and I MOVE. Just because I love my nicotine buzz doesn't mean everyone else likes it. Plus, rude smokers ruin it FOR the considerate smokers until the whole park becomes non-smoking (like Dorney is now). Don't they see?! Eh, I'm not going to go on a rant here. Hehehehe...

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008 11:54 AM
Well... Dorney is not completely non-smoking. It seems the only park that likes smokers these days is Knoebels. There are more smokers than non-smokers there on a given day... and that includes the children.

This brings me to an interested cultural observation... I am sure most of us have seen the movie Rollcoaster from the 70's. Remember when he won the game at King's Dominion? His prize was a carton of smokes! Wow how times have changed! LOL

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008 5:16 PM
One Cheek Sneak = Brilliant! Gotta give that a try sometime.
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Thursday, June 5, 2008 3:02 AM
Oh, even the children like their Kools? Bwahahahaha...you're funny! :)
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Friday, January 9, 2009 8:16 AM

Richie, what time did you all get to the park??? When did you leave?

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Sunday, April 5, 2009 7:28 PM

Hi Loaded.

I can't believe someone dug up this thread. Wow! I have a reputation for killing all of them. Either nobody likes me, or I have nothing really important to contribute. (Or Both!)

We got to the park on or close to 2 PM - but that is because we had 3 student groups who were bing judged with at least a 30 minute wait between groups. One group was the band - another was the jazz band and the third was the orchestra.

This year I am slated to go with another school that only enters thier chorus. This means more riding time and less time loading and unloading instruments. We are going on May 29 I think.

Thanks for asking!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009 11:58 PM

is your kid in this or something or did u just volunteer to be an extra so u could go on the coasters lol

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