ESO takes Disney outside
Annual outdoor performances move to Churchill Square, Kinsmen Park this year
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 06:00 am
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Disney in Concert
Friday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m.
Celtic Colours with the McDades
Sunday, Aug 31 at 8 p.m.
The magic of Disney music is a perfect end to the summer hiatus as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra presents its traditional Labour Day weekend concert series.
The ESO performs three free outdoor concerts at Churchill Square and Kinsmen Park. This Friday and Saturday the symphony kicks off with Disney in Concert at Churchill Square followed by Celtic Colours with the McDades on Sunday at Kinsmen Park.
Featuring popular and light classics, the annual concerts conducted by guest conductor Bob Bernhardt, signal the beginning of the performance arts season.
The symphony has performed this traditional series at Hawrelak Park’s amphitheatre. However, it temporarily relocated since Edmonton is hosting the TransCanada World Triathlon Grand Finals in the park this year.
“We’ve had to move the event and we’ve made it quite different. The concerts are in the heart of the city, they’re all free and we hope to play to thousands of people who have never heard us before,” said Bernhardt, Louisville Orchestra principal pops conductor.
In keeping with expectations of modern audiences, the first two Disney concerts are multimedia affairs. They are what Bernhardt calls a “travelling show package,” one he conducted three years ago for the Louisville Orchestra.
“For a fee you get the singers, the music, the film clips and a small production crew works with our production crew. The music is set. The singers are set. The film clips are set.”
The featured vocal performers for this multi-media show are Juliana Hansen, Arielle Jacobs, Andrew Johnson and Aaron Phillips.
In Disney’s music catalogue most show tunes are defined as either “classic” or “contemporary” explains Bernhardt. Audiences will be treated to wide swath of contemporary musical pieces from Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Frozen with a few classics thrown in for good measure.
“The biggest challenge is studying the package so the music lines up with what you see on the screen. It’s a challenge, but it’s a wonderful challenge.”
On Sunday, the symphony shifts tempo to Celtic Colours with the McDades, an energetic program designed to get toes tapping and hands clapping.
This is the second ESO invitation for the McDades consisting of Solon and Jeremiah McDade with sister Shannon Johnson.
“Our music lends itself to being played by a large orchestral ensemble,” Solon McDade said. “We were very comfortable playing with the orchestra, and the orchestra is very conscious of it and feeds off the energy we bring.”
The sibling trio, along with guitarist Simon Marion and percussionist Eric Breton, plan to perform originals from their last two CDs, The McDades – Brother Brother Sister Making Music (2012) and Bloom (2007) as well as a couple from their new as-yet unreleased album.
Rooted in Celtic art and traditions, the McDade siblings have also studied the classical technique, jazz and world music.
“We don’t consider ourselves any special style. We take influences from all over the world – Africa, India, South America. When we research music, we are not limited to any specific type and that’s very liberating.”
This year, the High Level Bridge was fitted with 60,000 LED lights. They will be on throughout the concert displaying quick changes during performances. There will also be five camera operators taking close up video shots of the musicians and displayed on two LED walls on either side of the stage.
Patrons are encouraged to bring chairs, snacks and warm blankets. For more information visit edmontonsymphony.com.