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Classic Disney Tribute Featuring TV's Bob Herzog Kicks Off Kentucky Symphony Season

Do you love vintage Disney cartoons?

What? You’ve never seen vintage Disney cartoons? Now’s your chance. You’ll love them and so will your kids when you join Kentucky Symphony Orchestra for its 24th season opener, Disney in Concert: A Silly Symphony Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Florence Baptist Church at Mt. Zion. 

The show stars Mickey Mouse and many fairytale favorites and begins with an overture featuring a newly created montage of clips from all 75 Silly Symphony shorts from 1929 to 1939. 

Live music and sound effects will be provided by the KSO. WKRC’s morning anchor Bob Herzog will host.

This will be The Disney Concert’s second performance ever – its debut was last month at the 23rd annual Disney Expo in Anaheim, CA. 

KSO music director James Cassidy promises animation buffs can admire advances and new developments in the use of color, special effects, character animation, music and storytelling “that continue to influence the art of animation today.”

Walt Disney will be appearing (in vintage clips from his long-running TV series) to explain techniques he and his animation team employed for each of the classics, including The Ugly Duckling, The Skeleton Dance, The Three Little Pigs, Flowers and Trees, The Old Mill, and Music Land. Composers Leigh Harline, Frank Churchill and Carl Stalling (who went on to Looney Toons fame) are among the composers. 

"Live musical accompaniment to cartoons creates a unique audio/visual genre, allowing both musicians and audience to see, hear, experience and appreciate the indelible impact and role music plays in our cinematic viewing," Cassidy says. 

The Celebration isn’t a typical classical concert. The KSO’s musicians, especially the percussionists, will be juggling un-typical instruments: glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, song bells, many specialized drums, a wind machine, tuned cowbells, a fight bell, an anvil, and a tam-tam. (This is a partial list.)

“It's the biggest list of percussion I have ever seen,” Cassidy says.

And while they’re performing the score, the orchestra will be providing their own sound effects that require a tambourine, a slapstick, an old-fashioned front desk bell, castanets, a pop gun, slide whistle, sand paper blocks, a rain stick, three quacking ducks, splashing water, kisses, a sniffle and a good old-fashioned raspberry.

Here’s the list of KSO-created effects for the experimental, nine-minute The Old Mill, from 1937: Mama bird chirps, young bird chirps, lovebird chirps, snoring bat, yawning bat, a croaking frog chorus, rope fraying, thunder, the mill grinding slowly, the mill creaking, rustling reeds and water pouring onto an owl. 

Disney in Concert: A Silly Symphony Celebration, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 Florence Baptist Church at Mt. Zion. Reserved required. Tickets: $24, $32, $40, children ages 6-18 half-price. Available at www.kyso.org, 859-431-6216, and at the door.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts