An Inspiring Patriotic Performance Experience

Clear your calendars this November for a truly inspiring patriotic performance experience! Marine Captain Kirk Troen, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Smith, and the Animado Events team have joined forces to introduce

Hearts and Hopes of Heroes


What is ‘Hearts and Hopes of Heroes’?

Hearts and Hopes of Heroes is a heart-warming youth tribute honoring all veterans. Young people from around the country will come together to perform as part of a 300-person mass choir and a multimedia presentation that highlight the life of veterans, the adventure of new experiences, and shared hardships and triumphs.

3 Heath Brothers

For the first time ever, teen singing sensations the 3 Heath Brothers will join voices with the students in both Branson and Orlando –

You’ve never experienced a performance like this before!!

Why a Veterans Day Performance?

Veterans are the heart, soul, and backbone of this great country.  Animado Events Director Kirk Troen and Producer/Narrator Mike Smith recognized the need to give students of all ages a chance to meet with and honor these warriors.

patriotic performance event


More importantly, they realized that veterans have a story to share with young people.  Hearts and Hopes of Heroes brings both together in a magnificently meaningful way!

Who Can Participate?

Students of all ages and choirs of all sizes are invited to participate.  The goal is to fill the risers with the uplifting sounds of patriotic revelry! 

What About the 3 Heath Brothers?

The 3 Heath Brothers also love the idea of youth honoring our veterans and are thrilled to be part of this incredible event!  They’ll join students on stage for the performance and talk one-on-one about life as teenage performers.

It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hang out with some really cool stars!

What About the Music?

Chief Warrant Officer Mike Smith (Producer and Narrator) has curated 10 selections guaranteed to make both choirs and crowds swell with pride during the 35-minute performance.  Registered groups have immediate access to the music so they can begin rehearsing.

What’s the Schedule?

This is a great performance opportunity for groups who don’t have a lot of time to commit OR who plan to extend their trips.

Hearts and Hopes of Heroes schedule

You can also add more performances, clinics, or activities at either location – simply contact the Animado Events team to make it happen!

Find Out More…

Learn more about Hearts and Hopes of Heroes in Branson and SeaWorld Orlando in this recent live stream featuring event coordinators and the Heath Brothers.

You can also click below for more info

Student Choirs Can Perform in Hearts and Hopes of Heroes

Then Get Registered!

Registration for Hearts and Hopes of Heroes is quick and easy.  Simply click below to give your students a chance to shine on a national stage as they honor our nation’s veterans.  It’s a truly inspiring patriotic performance experience!




Veterans Homecoming Week in Branson

Branson is known as one of the most veteran-friendly, patriotic cities in America. Although Branson honors Veterans every day of the year, Veterans Homecoming Week is a special annual event for service members and their families.

About Veterans Homecoming Week 2021

Veterans Homecoming Week salutes veterans in a variety of ways.  These include mini-reunions, memorials, a military ball, and, of course, the Veteran’s Day Parade.  There are performance opportunities for bands, choirs, and orchestras.

Learn more about the featured entertainers!

Be Part of the Celebration

Your ensemble can take part in this very special week.  They can perform for hundreds of active and retired military members as a part of the parade, or at one of the many other opportunities taking place that week.

Following the performance, they will have a chance to talk with these incredible men and women and hear their stories of bravery and sacrifice on behalf of our country.  Branson Veterans Homecoming Week is truly a one of a kind experience for your students!

Bands, Choirs and, Orchestras

Get involved by choosing one of the week’s many performance options.  Bands, choirs, and orchestras of all sizes are encouraged to participate.

If you’re not sure where to start, contact the performance travel experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures.  They’ll help you find the perfect performance opportunity for your group and handle all the details of your trip.




Branson Veterans Homecoming Week 2021 Schedule

Continue reading “Veterans Homecoming Week in Branson”

Best Performance Tips for Music Students

This post was inspired by Yamaha Master Educator Richard Floyd

Every marching band, ensemble, or solo performer knows the drill. After months of rehearsal and hours of fine-tuning, they nervously prepare to take the field or stage. Frazzled directors hopping with adrenaline shout last-minute performance tips like

“Don’t forget about embouchure!”
“Use good technique!”
“Keep time!”

Wouldn’t it be great if they remembered to add just one more? “Have fun!” Yamaha Master Educator Richard Floyd thinks so. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Floyd about his distinguished career and his best performance tips for music students. It was an enlightening conversation!

A Little Bit About Richard Floyd

Richard Floyd recently retired as State Director of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and now holds the title of UIL State Director of Music Emeritus. He is the musical director and conductor of the Austin Symphonic Band. He started his 55-year career as a junior high and high school music educator and conductor before moving on to the collegiate level.

Mr. Floyd coordinated secondary school music competitions for some 3500 performing organizations throughout Texas for 29 years. He is a recognized authority on conducting and music advocacy, often sharing his expertise as a clinician, adjudicator, and evaluator.  His latest book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Music Making published by GIA Publications, was released to critical acclaim earlier this year.  Additionally, he is part of a select group of Yamaha Master Educators.

Clearly, Richard Floyd knows music performance and competition. As a well-respected expert in his field, I was anxious to get the insider scoop on things like competition dos and don’ts or his best performance tips for music students. Frankly, I was surprised by his candid responses!  There was not one word about the notes, rhythms, or playing in tune.

Best Performance Tips for Music Students


Best Performance Tips for Music Students

Richard summed up decades of competition and performance experience quite simply:

Have fun!

Competitions and shows can be nerve-wracking, stressful experiences for both students and directors. Remember to find the joy in sharing and making music (it’s what got you started down this path in the first place!)

Strive to be in the moment.

Don’t overthink what has happened or what is about to happen. Focus on the ‘here and now’ – it’s your moment to shine brightly!

Know going in that there is no such thing as a perfect performance.

You may play the wrong note, miss a step, or bobble a rhythm. It’s important how you react to your mistakes and recover from them.  Don’t allow them to derail your entire performance.

One of the most important take-aways from our conversation came while we chatted about my son’s deep, emotional connection to music. It feeds his soul and shapes him as a musician. While he embraces the technical skills that help him improve, he also plays for the joy it gives him.

A Tip to Remember

I could hear Richard smiling through the phone as he listened. He then responded “That’s because it’s possible to have craft without art but it is impossible to have art without craft. You must have both to make music!”  Wow! That’s a tip to remember!

As performance season gets underway (even if it’s virtual!), cut yourself a break. Accept that perfect performances don’t exist, enjoy your moment in the spotlight, and HAVE FUN! Bring joy and inspiration to those with whom and for whom you are playing…. Keeping time does help as well 😉

Helpful Resources

Richard Floyd Letter to Myself

Band Concert Evaluation from UIL

Vocal Concert Evaluation from UIL

Orchestra Concert Evaluation from UIL