On July 17, 1955, the Disneyland Band debuted and became a core component of Disneyland Resort's entertainment lineup. On July 17, 2015, 60 years later, Disneyland will debut a new Disneyland Band, and old band members will either have re-auditioned for their roles, be playing in smaller breakout bands, or be entirely replaced.
Shawn Slater, Communications Manager of the Disney parks, announced on Disney Parks Blog that the Disneyland Band will be "premiering a new sound — with new musical arrangements and themed performances — along with more musicians and high-end choreography." Disney also hopes to increase the amount of performances throughout the day and have the new band interact with the audience more.
According to Bob Sanders, President of Orange County's Musicians' Association — a non-profit organization representing local music groups like the Disneyland Band and Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Disneyland issued an "end of run" statement to old band members on March 31st in a meeting at 4:30 p.m., which stated the following:
The Disneyland Band current creative offering and configuration is approaching the end of its run.
The last day of performance will be July 16th, 2015. As required by our Collective Bargaining Agreement, this memorandum shall serve as notice to each member of the cast.
On behalf of the Disneyland Resort we thank you for your many fine performances, your continued support and professionalism.
Disneyland will be hiring new musicians and old band members will be placed in smaller, breakout groups, a Disneyland media relations representative said. If they want to, they can re-audition for the Disneyland Band.
"Disney seems to believe that these veteran musicians are not qualified for the 'new and improved' band," Sanders says. "It is simply wrong to ask these seasoned professionals–so beloved by park visitors–to audition for the band they are already in." On his Facebook, he stated that many band members have been part of the band for 10, 20, or 40 years.
"It's sad that our members in the band have to endure uncertainty and stress concerning their jobs," says Greg Reynolds, former Vice President of Orange County Musicians Association, in a comment on Sanders's Facebook statement. "They are a talented and professional group who have been loyal and worked hard for the company over the years."