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'Scuze me Mickey, I'm with the Band: Alumna Plays the Kingdom, Feels the Magic
By Donna Emert
Alumna and musician Jennifer Kellogg (‘11) was looking for a paying gig last summer when her friend and former University of Idaho Marching Band mate, Kyle Gemberling, let her know about auditions for the All American College Band (AACB).
The AACB selects outstanding musicians from the nation’s top college and university music programs to play Disneyland during their busiest season. She carpooled down to the auditions with three other trombone players, and snagged the job.
The University of Idaho's Lionel Hampton School of Music was represented by both Kellogg and Gemberling in the Magic Kingdom this summer.
Kellogg earned her bachelor’s degree in performance and composition at University of Idaho and is on track to receive a master’s in in jazz composition from the University of North Texas this spring. Her experience in the Vandal marching band had a lot to do with winning the job, said Kellogg, and it prepared her well.
“There were hours of music and choreography to be memorized in only two short weeks," she said. "Professionalism was a big part of the gig. The University of Idaho ’s music program helped with that too, especially Professor Dan Bukvich’s classes.”
Two magical moments helped define the Disneyland experience for Kellogg. One was on opening day for the band:
“There was a tune we played where the trombones were featured, and I had the opportunity to go out and play to an audience member at the end of the piece,” said Kellogg. “I knelt down to play to a small girl about five years old. At first she withdrew and looked at her mom for reassurance. Then her expression went from unsure and maybe even frightened to the biggest smile and laugh I’ve ever seen from a small child! This is really cheesy, but when I was done playing, I said, ‘Welcome to Disneyland. Have a magical day!’ Then I shook hands and high-fived many people around me. Not that I was a Grinch to begin with, but my heart grew three sizes that day.”
Her summer gig in Anaheim was magical personally and professionally. While networking with AACB alumni at Disneyland, Kellogg made a connection on both levels.
“The memorable moment came when I realized one of the AACB alums was from Washington State, where I’m from,” she said. “We found out that not only did we go to the same high school, but we grew up only blocks from each other, just 30 years apart. We hugged. I felt like I found my long lost uncle or something. I now have a fantastic connection in the production business in San Diego.”
“I was really looking for a way to play my trombone all summer and get paid for it. After I made the band, I realized it was much, much more."