ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s the end of an era for a renowned Disney World band. The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra will be playing its last tunes on Saturday after three decades of entertainment.
“I’ve spent six years at Disney and that’s the first group I ever played in,” Corey Paul, a substitute trombonist of the orchestra said. “It was a big part of me growing as a musician at Disney, so it’s really sad to see it go.”
The 30-year-old said his last gig was Tuesday. It was an emotional day as he said goodbye to the friends he made there.
“The band is an amazing group of players. The guys that were in it from the beginning have such an amazing rapport with these guests that come back and they know them on, like, a person-to-person basis,” he said. “And you know, I was starting to get to know them, too.”
After 32 years of keeping guests of the Grand Floridian resort entertained from a stage on the second floor, the orchestra announced on its Facebook page that its magical time was coming to an end.
The post on Facebook said the company brought them out of furlough, had changed their name to the Disney Society Orchestra and moved them to Hollywood Studios where they played nine shows a day, seven days a week. But in mid-September members got notice the theater was going dark.
“That band is the Grand Floridian, in my opinion. It’s a beautiful thing,” Paul said. “They are definitely...it’s, you know, they’re bummed. It would be great to see the band continue.”
For Paul, who was born and raised in Cape Canaveral, having been part of the group as a substitute trombonist gave him a sense of accomplishment.
“Disney’s a pretty elite group of musicians, you know, it’s the epicenter of theme park and entertainment,” he said.
The Central Florida native and Disney fan comes from a family of musicians. His passion for the trombone began when he was 13. Like many other musicians, times are uncertain for Paul right now because the pandemic continues to halt live performances.
“I’m just trying to find more jobs. With coronavirus it’s been really crazy,” he said. “It’s been really challenging to stay afloat during all of this but I’m just gonna keep trying.”
For now, he’s working with the band PolyJamorous, which plays a fusion of pop and jazz songs.
“Before the quarantine and then during the quarantine, I started a new one called PolyJamorous. It’s a collection of like some of the best players across the state. We collaborated with a singer, Rachel Potter,” Paul said.
Over the summer, they put together a new music video while being socially distanced.
“It’s one of the covideos, you know, you all individually track everything, video tape everything and then you slap it together,” Paul said.
A new venture in the music industry that seems to be keeping Paul hopeful.
“I’m just, you know, staying positive and confident that entertainment will come back to Disney parks and that everything will be beautiful again,” he said.