Experience the Magic at Grand Rapids Pops’ “Disney Fantasia Live in Concert,” Nov. 13-15

Media Contact:
Samara Napolitan
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 110

Experience one of the crown jewels of Disney feature animation when the Grand Rapids Pops presents “Disney Fantasia Live in Concert” as a part of the Fox Motors Pops Series. The live orchestra will accompany scenes from Walt Disney’s original “Fantasia” (1940) and Disney’s “Fantasia 2000,” highlighting a selection of magnificent classical repertoire and iconic scenes from both films. Mickey Mouse dabbling in magic, pastel-colored unicorns and winged horses, and dancing hippos will all be shown in high definition on the big screen. Associate Conductor John Varineau will lead three performances in DeVos Performance Hall: Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14 at 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, November 15 at 3:00 p.m. This concert is sponsored by Howard Miller. 

In the age of 3D, high definition and surround sound, it can be hard to image how groundbreaking “Fantasia” was upon its theatrical release in 1940. Walt Disney and famed conductor Leopold Stokowski, in collaboration with the talents of 1,000-plus artists, musicians and engineers at the Walt Disney Studio, composers, dancers and the entire Philadelphia Orchestra, created a watershed cinematic experience that remains a visionary milestone to this day. 

The concert will begin with a bang with a battle between light and darkness and the opening movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as shown in “Fantasia 2000.” Selections from Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony will follow with an Art Deco interpretation of life in mythological Greece from “Fantasia.” Audiences will recognize the anthropomorphized floral and fauna featured during the Nutcracker Suite, but may not be as familiar with the animation for “Claire de Lune.” This evocative segment was fully recorded and animated before being cut from “Fantasia” to shorten the film’s running time. The first half will conclude with selections from Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and a beautiful animated segment illustrating nature’s circle of life, death and rebirth.

The second half begins with “Dance of the Hours,” a lighthearted parody of classical dance featuring the iconic tutu-wearing ostriches, elephants and hippos. Arguably the greatest ten minutes of animation storytelling ever produced, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” comes next on the program. Originally created to revitalize Mickey Mouse’s waning popularity, this animated segment is the seed from which “Fantasia” grew. Next, a retelling of Noah’s Ark, with Donald Duck as the star of the show, is set to Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.” Ending the program is a pod of flying humpback whales soaring to Ottorino Resphigi’s “Pines of Rome,” which the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform in full April 2016.   


Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 800.982.2787, online at GRPops.org or in person at Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee. Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the Symphony’s Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented each year, touching the lives of some 200,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony’s Affiliated Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony please visit GRSymphony.org.

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.