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A trip to see the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – especially in its fancy Bradley Symphony Center home that's still got that new car shine – always feels magical. Next weekend, however, it'll feel even more so thanks to an extra dose of wondrous wizardry: Disney magic.
On Nov. 25-27, the MSO will team up with the Mouse House to create a wonderful world of music called "Disney in Concert: A Dream is a Wish," featuring the renowned orchestra playing alongside some of greatest musical scenes in the studio's songbook. "Hercules," both "Frozen" films (gosh, I wonder which wildly popular hit might make an appearance), "Beauty and the Beast," "Moana" and more are all on the setlist filled with some of Disney's most iconic and sing-along-able – that's a word, right? – songs, the animated sequences becoming even more animated with the music performed right in front of your ears. Young or old, the odds of the crowd singing along with the MSO? A better bet than Disney stock.
The MSO will play a lot of tremendous Disney songs and scores during next weekend's shows – but which Mouse House hit is the best? To answer that tricky question, I went to the experts: the talented musicians themselves, namely horn player Darcy Hamlin and tuba player Robyn Black. Which Disney songs are their personal favorites? And which are their favorites to play? Watch and read on – and then debate for yourselves which Disney tune is the most dynamite.
OnMilwaukee: What is your favorite Disney song?
Darcy Hamlin: If I was going to pick a song today to listen to, it'd have to be "Let It Go" from "Frozen." It's just such a great song. I'm a high-anxiety person, and I tend to worry about being too much – which I think I often am; I'm extra – so I really resonated with Elsa. She's just like, "You know what, this is me. It's OK. I'm not hurting anyone, and this is just what I can do, so guess what? I'm gonna build an amazing ice castle and live in it." (laughs)
I feel bad for that song because it got so played, so much. But I remember being in the theater seeing it before the explosion of the song, and I was like, "This song rules!" Maybe now with some distance, people will once again love it. It's like "Uptown Funk."
DH: I still love that song too!
And for you, Robyn, what's your favorite Disney song?
Robyn Black: It's probably "Under the Sea." It's so light and bubbly – it just makes you want to dance.
DH: That's one of those scenes that's so brilliant in that typical Disney style, where it builds to this huge Broadway spectacular tableau at the end. It's amazing. I love that and remember it very fondly, just thinking, "Man, Disney just knows how to throw a showstopper tune."
RB: Yeah, they got so creative with all the different types of fish just dancing along and animating these huge incredible choreographies.
Now is that your favorite Disney song to play as well, or is there a different one?
RB: I think it might be my favorite to play of all the ones I've looked at. The parts are really great, and it's just a lot of fun to get to be the tuba player on that. Tuba tends to be a lot of down beats, so I tend to resonate a lot with the energy of the piece and getting to drive that forward in a light and fun way as opposed to just holding on a lot of long, loud notes. A little bit more of like a string bass. There's no oompah.
DH: And who doesn't love a killer bass line? That's like cool and beyond the typical oompah. You should hear her lay down these bass lines; it's insane. It's so good.
For you, Darcy, what's the most exciting Disney song to play?
DH: So three of the ones that are really going to be my favorites are "Poor Unfortunate Souls" – Ursula, my soulmate, I love her – and "Into the Unknown," which I think is just such an amazing power anthem ballad. And then "Let It Go." They're just so great. I love all of those songs – huge hats off to the brilliant songwriters and arrangers and lyricists at Disney, just absolutely at the top of their games.
What about those songs really excites you as a horn player?
DH: Like, anyone who's ever seen a movie ever knows that horn parts are usually the heroic parts – think "Superman," think "Star Wars," think "Indiana Jones." But we can also be love songs! Like, the love song from "Superman" has a lot of horn in it. We can also do soaring, dramatic melodies that are really amazing. So there's a lot of really beautiful potential for horn playing in a lot of these arrangements. You can listen for us in anything that's very vigorous and strong, because that's kind of the heroic energy coming through, but also in the love songs and the ballads, there's a lot of soaring horn lines. So it's kind of like we get the best of both worlds! (laughs)
The MSO's "Disney in Concert: A Dream is a Wish" will perform on Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:30 p.m. For information and for tickets, don't just wish upon a star – click here!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.