Arts & Culture

Wichita Symphony will create Disney movie magic at first pops concert

Saturday’s “Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies” will feature the Wichita Symphony Orchestra performing songs from famous animated movies along with four guest vocalists.
Saturday’s “Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies” will feature the Wichita Symphony Orchestra performing songs from famous animated movies along with four guest vocalists. Disney

If “Let It Go” is “Part of Your World,” the Wichita Symphony Orchestra wants you to “Be Our Guest” at its first pops concert of the season.

The orchestra will perform “Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies” on Sept. 19, featuring songs from “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and more.

“This particular one will be able to hit a lot of different age groups and a wide range of tastes because, with a lot of Disney music, there’s that kind of pop element in the music, but it’s also very symphonic,” said Daniel Hege, Wichita Symphony Orchestra’s music director. “The ones that make it on the radio are often written by the symphonic composers. They just know how to write good melodies that are very catchy, but they also write with a sophistication.”

The concert will feature a large screen with movie stills and snippets from Disney films as well as four guest vocalists. Children in the audience are encouraged to dress as Disney princesses, pirates or superheroes.

Robert Bernhardt will be the guest conductor in Wichita.

“He’s a very fine conductor, and he’s very good at speaking with the audience and that kind of thing,” Hege said.

Stephanie Burkett Gerson is a New York-based alto who will sing the harmony parts for the female voices on the Wichita stop.

“It’s my dream job,” Gerson said in a recent phone interview. “When you’re a singer, your dream is to be onstage and be yourself and tell a story, and that’s what I get to do. I know it sounds silly, but it’s magical as well because it’s songs that people grew up with.”

Gerson, who recently landed a role in “Sister Act” in Boston, travels about once a month to perform Disney music in a symphonic setting.

“It gives me goosebumps every time I do it,” she said. “You have your little, little guys that are like 3 and 4, and then you have grandmas and grandpas, and they’re clapping their hands and nodding their heads to the music and singing along at different times. That’s pretty fun to watch. … I love watching people when they leave the theater or the concert hall, singing a song from the show or changing their day and making it a little bit better.”

The Wichita Symphony Orchestra will perform three pops concerts, two family concerts and eight classical concerts for its 2015-16 season.

The first family concert, “Lemony Snicket: The Composer Is Dead,” is on Nov. 21 and will be narrated by Music Theatre Wichita’s Wayne Bryan. Other pops offerings include “Dancing and Romancing” on Dec. 6, featuring American standards from the early 20th century, and “Abbacadabra,” a tribute to ABBA, on April 30.

If you go

‘Disney in Concert: Magical Music From the Movies’

What: A Wichita Symphony Orchestra show featuring songs from “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and more

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 19

Where: Century II Concert Hall

How much: $40-$70

Tickets: www.wichitasymphony.org, 316-267-7658, or in person at the Century II Box Office

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