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Jean Oelrich
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Required: imaginations as big as the ocean for Pacific Symphony's Family Concert, "Under The Sea," with scores from "The Little Mermaid," "Jaws," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and more

April 10, 2013

Everyone into the water! Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings goes “Under the Sea” for its final concert this season, presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank, to captivate young imaginations with music inspired by one of the world’s most unique wonders—its ocean. Join Captain Alejandro (a.k.a. Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez) as he leads his crew, Pacific Symphony, and a cast of characters on a musical voyage of discovery. This swashbuckling adventure features favorite songs from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” sung by Ariel (Natalie Powers) and Ursula (Bree Burgess); score selections from “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Klaus Badelt; as well as excerpts from the illuminating “La Mer” by Claude Debussy, “The Flying Dutchman” by Richard Wagner and “Shark Theme” from “Jaws” by John Williams. Narrated by Pirate Markus Finn (Markus Lee), the story is written and directed by Bree Burgess Rosen, and the whole 45-minute experience is created especially for children ages 5-11 and their families. “Under the Sea” takes place Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and includes a Musical Carnival that begins at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert). Tickets for the concert are $19-39. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org. Children and families are invited to come dressed in “Under the Sea” costumes, such as a pirate, sailor, mermaid, fish or anything else imaginable! Also, children are encouraged to create works of art inspired by music from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which may be selected for onscreen-projection at the concert. For more information or to submit artwork (deadline April 19, 5:30 p.m.), contact Carrie Villanueva at cvillanueva@pacificsymphony.org.

“‘Under the Sea’ is a journey where the fantastic ship is the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall,” says Maestro Guitérrez. “I’m the captain, my crew is Pacific Symphony and the connecting thread among the different moods and mental pictures will be guided by our special character, Pirate Markus Finn. Since our ship doesn’t have sails, we will use the power of music to feed our imagination and make the journey possible. It is a wonderful palette of music. It is purposely chosen and arranged to stimulate the imagination of the audience to a variety of moods and at the same time will make them dream deep, safely and happily.”

The concert begins with the Overture to Wagner’s opera “The Flying Dutchman,” which opens with the Dutchman’s theme, or leitmotif, performed by the concert’s spotlight instrument, the French horns. In his 1870 autobiography, Wagner wrote that he drew inspiration to write the opera after crossing from Riga to London in stormy waters. What follows are two excerpts from Debussy’s “La Mer,” meaning “the sea” in French. “La Mer” is interpreted as a rich depiction of the sea, bringing intricate harmonies and sensuous sounds together to create a rich and vivid score.

“The excerpts from Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ were chosen intentionally to feed the imagination of the audience with its rich, colorful music and suggestive moods,” says Guitérrez. “It will stimulate the mind of the audience with pictures and images of an ‘under the sea’ environment.”

Next, the Symphony plays one of the most recognizable and iconic theme songs to grace a major motion picture: John William’s “Shark Theme” from “Jaws.” Williams has composed scores for some of the most prominent feature films in history, including film scores for “Superman,” “Jurassic Park,” “Indiana Jones,” the first three “Harry Potter” films and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” among a long list of others.

Adults reminisce while children enjoy the music from Disney’s 1989 classic, “The Little Mermaid,” including “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The major motion picture has captivated children and adults alike for years, as the songs remain a symbolic representation of childhood long after. Also on the program is Reinhold Gliére’s Russian Sailors’ Dance” from “The Red Poppy” and an array of selections from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” including “Fog Bound,” “To the Pirates Cave,” “One Last Shot,” “He’s a Pirate” and “The Black Pearl,” all by Klaus Badelt. The concert concludes with a final excerpt from Debussy’s “La Mer.”

Concertgoers are also invited to attend the Musical Carnival, where children have the opportunity to meet Pacific Symphony musicians, create impressionist seascapes, learn and ask questions about the French horn and test drive various brass instruments. Children also may go on a musical treasure hunt, which guilds them through an array of interactive activities that foster creative and artistic learning.

Family Musical Mornings returns for the 2013-14 season with “Halloween Masquerade,” on Oct. 26, “Nutcracker for Kids,” on Dec. 20, “The Magic Potion,” featuring Donizetti’s opera “Elixir of Love,” on Jan. 11, 2014, “Dinosaurs!” with music from “Jurassic Park” on March 8, 2014 and “Peter & the Wolf” with Magic Circle Mime Company on May 10, 2014. Subscriptions are available now.