Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra's Disney music concert appeals to many ages

Conductor Daniel Meyer Kristi Hedberg
Conductor Daniel Meyer Kristi Hedberg
| Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Daniel Meyer says conducting a concert of music from the Disney film canon might seem easy enough, but the job has its challenges.

He says the biggest tests in conducting “Around the World With Disney” with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra will be blending sight and sound.

“While I am conducting, I also am looking down at the screen to keep the music flowing along with the clips,” he says of the show May 18 at The Palace Theatre, Greensburg.

The program of music from Disney films will feature projections of excerpts from the movies as well as some hand-drawn sketches of ideas for scenes.

“It makes me stay with the heat of the action,” Meyer says.

The artistic director of the orchestra has done this show with orchestras in Erie, where he also is artistic director, and in Rochester, N.Y. The job is nothing new, but he says it's always a bit challenging to match music and film.

The concert will include an overture of Disney classics along with medleys from “Tarzan,” “Mary Poppins,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”

It also will feature two pieces that were not composed for soundtracks, but which have taken on large Disney roles. They are the finale from Igor Stravinsky's “Firebird” and “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1” by Edward Elgar, both of which were featured in the Disney spectacular, “Fantasia.”

Meyer says these two numbers, which will not feature clips from “Fantasia,” were added as “orchestra only” pieces to provide more profound musical elements.

The concert is a pops-like performance, he says, aimed at finding new listeners. He says he can see this as a family-type performance that might introduce orchestral music to youngsters or reinvigorate its appreciation in listeners who have fallen away.

“We plan on expanding our concert season by one of these kinds of shows to give parents, grandparents and kids an opportunity to come out,” he says.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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