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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs the music of Disney's animated shorts live

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs the music of Disney's animated shorts live

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On Saturday, June 13th, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra presented a program of music celebrating Walt Disney Animation Studios, with treasures of animation once thought lost forever brought back to life with fresh new scores and new interpretations of some old favorites.

The audience lines up outside of the Theatre at Ace Hotel prior to the
start of the concert. Photo by Jamie Pham

The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles started out as a United Artists theater, founded by artists including Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. It's a gorgeous art house from the early days of film, with fantastic acoustics and gorgeous décor throughout. It was the perfect place for one of the shorts, "Music Land," which actually made its debut some 80 or so years before in that exact same theater, as it had been distributed by United Artists in its initial release.

(L-R) Edward Nowak, Dave Bossert, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, LACO Interim
Managing Director Lacey Huszcza and Composer/Conductor
Mark Watters. Photo by Jamie Pham

The evening started out with the two long-lost "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" shorts, animated by Ub Iwerks. His granddaughter, famed documentary filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, was in the audience to celebrate the occasion. Dave Bossert and Edward Nowak spoke for the whole team at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, and were obviously very proud of the work they had done. They had reason to be. The shorts are gorgeous. They're a little raunchy, as was appropriate for the time, and a little violent, as was also appropriate for the time. I kind of hope that Disney lets Oswald stay that way, at least a little bit, and let Mickey be the nice, as Robin Williams put it, "corporate symbol". Kudos to the WDAS Classic Projects Team, and kudos to Andrew Millstein for the fact that the Classic Projects Team even exists.

Mark Watters directs the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Jamie Pham

Mark Watters is a six-time Emmy winning composer, and very serious about composing soundtracks. His delight when conducting his arrangement of cowbells, bulb horns and slide whistles, however, was evident - and contagious. The audience of chamber orchestra subscribers mixed with Disney aficionados had a ball, through "Plane Crazy," "Music Land," a bang-up version of "The Band Concert," short versions of "Lonesome Ghosts" and "Mickey's Trailer," and a gorgeous new arrangement of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."  Finishing off the evening was "Get a Horse!" with Dorothy McKim in attendance to hear the audience roaring with laughter.

The audience enjoys listening to LACO perform Disney's "The Band
Concert" live. Photo by Jamie Pham

The event was a huge success, raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. I hope they do it again, and I can't wait for the Silly Symphony concert at the D23 Expo 2015

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