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Disney movie concert magic back on stage with Allentown Symphony

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

The beauty, excitement and entertainment that are Disney movies will manifest itself in center city Allentown.

Disney fans won’t want to miss the Allentown Symphony Orchestra Pops concert, “Disney In Concert: A Dream Is A Wish,” 7:30 p.m. May 11, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

It’s the third time that Ronald Demkee, ASO Pops Conductor, has led the ASO Pops in a Disney-theme concert at Miller Symphony Hall.

“It’s a popular medium. And I think more and more so,” says Demkee of the concert format, which includes symphony, orchestral arragements of popular Disney songs, guest vocalists and clips from Disney movies. “It’s an added dimension,” he adds.

The program, or similar programs of Disney movie songs, soloists and film clips from the movies, has been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center.

Four singers with Broadway credentials accompany the ASO for “Disney In Concert”: Andrea Ross (“Whistle Down the Wind”), Whitney Claire Kaufman (“Mamma Mia!”), John DeLisa (“Les Misérables”) and Andrew Johnson (“Rent”).

The concert includes one hour of high-resolution video clips from the original films.

The presentation is authorized by Disney Concerts.

“What they try to do is pull it together from the Disney films and tie it together in a theme,” Demkee says.

Film clips are matched to each song.

Demkee says the concert format presents particular requirements for the ASO and Miller Symphony Hall tech crew:

“You have the added challenge in playing the music at a tempo that reflects the action on the screen. You’re synchronizing the performance. You’re synchronizing the sound to the film clips.”

The ASO rehearses the progam once prior to the concert on the afternoon of May 11.

“It’s the first time with the soloists and the clips,” says Demkee. “The Allentown Symphony is prepared. The musicans receive the music ahead of time.”

The May 11 “Disney In Concert” program is expected to include songs from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” as well as “Aladdin Medley,” “The Princess and the Frog Medley,” “Cars Suite,” “The Lion King Song Suite,” “Beauty and the Beast Suite,” “A Dream is a Wish Medley (songs from Disney’s “Cinderella”), “Go the Distance” and “Frozen.”

Says Demkee, “You have the orchestra performing the music. That, in itself, is worth the admission.

“Then you also have the Broadway singers.

“In addition to that, you have clips from the movies projected on a large screen above the orchestra.

“This is a great program on many levels. That’s because it’s appealing to young folks, as well as their parents and grandparents,” Demkee says.

Check on ticket availability: Miller Symphony Hall box office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown; millersymphonyhall.org; 610-432-6715