Our family was able to attend a Disney in Concert symphony in late March. It was performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. We go to events at the Orpheum once or twice a year; it’s a beautifully restored theatre and everything we have ever seen there has been well done. This was no exception.
We had seats on the first row in the balcony, which I prefer for an orchestra performance for the view you have of all the instruments. I was a little worried that my 15 year old son would think this symphony was too juvenile for him, and sure enough, we were surrounded by much younger children. But I was so wrong! He’s a Disney nut just like his mom, and we had a great time!
The performance included favorite songs from Disney movies, four very talented vocalists, and a huge screen behind the orchestra showing scenes from each movie featured. The opening medley of songs got the whole audience excited, laughing and clapping as each new scene appeared on the screen. Each vocalist had a couple of solos, and all four sang together for other songs. They were amazing, putting their own spin on the music without losing the character of the original songs. The man who sang “Never Had a Friend Like Me” from Aladdin was incredible, and ran and jumped around the stage as he sang. The woman who sang music from The Little Mermaid actually had long red hair and looked the part.
The music ran the gamut from early Disney movies like Cinderella and Mary Poppins to the latest from Frozen. Our favorite songs from Aladdin, Jungle Book, The Lion King and many others were included. Several songs were sing-alongs with the audience, and the words were on the big screen to help if you didn’t have them memorized (like some of us do!). Everyone around us, young and old alike, had a great time singing and clapping along to “Step in Time” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.
After a short intermission, the orchestra began playing the introduction for “Let It Go”, and you could actually hear the murmur of excitement sweep over the crowd. And even though “Let It Go” was not meant to be a sing-along, it immediately became one! All the little girls around us, most of them dressed like princesses, were singing at the top of their lungs. The vocalist did an amazing job of the song; the little girls did pretty well, too!
As the concert was nearing the end, the other male vocalist began belting out the beginning of “Circle of Life”. It was my favorite song of the night, and judging from the audience reaction, the favorite of many others, too. The song brought the house down and received a standing ovation! He had an incredible voice, and with the other three singers providing back-up, it sounded like an entire choir was performing. The orchestra was also absolutely amazing, as they have been every time we see them perform.
After the applause finally died down, the final number was “It’s A Small World.” Although that sounds anti-climactic, and I know many people don’t care for that song, it was actually a very sweet way to end the program. It was a sing-along, with the bouncing ball on the screen for the words, and you could see everyone singing and smiling at each other. After the second standing ovation of the night, the lights came up, and we all walked out of the theatre, still smiling and humming.
If you want to introduce your kids to the orchestra, this concert would be a great way to start! We attended an evening performance, but the matinee had a ‘petting zoo’ for the instruments, where several of the orchestra members were available with their instruments for questions and demonstrations. If this concert comes to your area, I highly recommend going – we enjoyed every minute!
Have you ever seen a Disney in Concert performance in your hometown?