WDW Magazine History Sampler - Page 17

lagoon and once counterclockwise . In between the runs , leadership would often call meetings while the crew waited to go back “ on stage .” Sometimes those meetings involved costume repairs or show notes . Other times , they read letters from guests who had been emotionally moved by the performance .
Wollbrinck remembers those letters vividly . “ There was a genuine sense of love and inspiration . It was enthusiasm on a level I had never seen . The show sparked imagination and drew people in with its unbridled creativity and messages of unity and peace .”
THE PERFORMERS “ The amazing thing about Tapestry was how different everyone was and the way we came together ,” says William Campbell , who served as Sage of Time , in various puppeteer roles , and as a float driver . “ It didn ’ t matter where you ’ d come from , what you ’ d done before , or how much time you ’ d spent in entertainment . Literally everyone was welcome and we are still a family 20 years later .”
Maybe that sense of authenticity came from relating to guests in other ways . Because the show only took up a few hours in the evening , many Tapestry performers held other positions throughout Walt Disney World . For example , Wollbrinck was a Kilimanjaro Safari driver by day , and Sittler worked in outdoor foods , where she says guests sometimes recognized her from Tapestry .
Tapestry of Nations required 30 experienced drummers for each performance — two for each of the 15 floats — so producers had to get creative in their sourcing . To fill the quota , they regularly pulled in drummers from other shows . The JAMMitors and the Village Beatniks came to help out , as did the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps .
The performers developed a special bond . Some even got married and had children .
Versatility was a hallmark of Tapestry . “ The Spirit of America drummers from the American Adventure would often do a show there , then be on the first Tapestry float out of Germany in order to be done in time for the next Spirit of America show ,” says Campbell . “ They would then be on the last float out of Morocco to finish the night . That just goes to show
how versatile the drummers — and frankly , our entire Cast — was .”
The Tapestry of Nations performers were unique in many ways , but perhaps the most notable was the sense of interconnectedness they shared backstage . Sittler says that often in theatre , people will bond within their specialties . Dancers hang out with dancers ; musicians group with other musicians . “ But with our group ,” she says , “ you couldn ’ t tell who was who . It really was a big woven tapestry of people .”
TAPESTRY TODAY When Tapestry of Nations was put to rest on September 9 , 2001 , a similar parade called Tapestry of Dreams followed in its wake until March of 2003 . Though similar in form , Tapestry of Dreams focused more on chasing dreams than world unity , incorporating more of a standard Disney motif than the original Millennium version . Though both versions of the show have now come to a close , there are still ways to enjoy them today .
The Tapestry of Nations music was recorded in London ’ s famous Abbey Road Studios .
Tapestry of Nation ’ s soundtrack , written by the illustrious Gavin Greenaway , lived well beyond the parade and in Disney fandom as the signature songs played
One of the many intricate parade floats . PHOTO BY WILLIAM WARBY
after IllumiNations each night at EPCOT . A portion of that musical score can be heard in Epcot Forever as well .
To view the parade in its entirety , one need not look further than YouTube , where several guests have uploaded the full Tapestry of Nations experience either in daylight or darkness . In addition , the Tapestry performers recently pieced together a lively quarantine version from their homes , which can be found on the WDW Magazine blog .
The Tapestry of Nations cast remains close to this day . Wollbrinck says , “ There is a pride in knowing that we were all privileged enough to be a part of something extremely unique and innovative , something that — for a brief moment in time — carved out a legacy and created so many magical moments that truly mattered for so many people .”
As of now , there are no plans to revive a World Showcase parade like Tapestry of Nations . But maybe that ’ s OK . With so many exquisite memories , it seems Tapestry of Nations accomplished what it was always supposed to do : Ignite a spirit of connection that transcended space and time . Its history lives on within the hearts of people — and that makes Tapestry of Nations a true work of art .
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