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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

Dudley and Disney team up to stage a youthf-filled symphony

August 22, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Disney this week presents the second "Disney's Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra," with 76 performers ages 8 to 12. Dudley Moore is the host.

"The show began because we had an interest in promoting music in children's lives and how it enriches them," says producer Gail Purse. The musicians were chosen from 2,000 applicants throughout the United States; auditions were held in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.

Those selected attended a 10-day summer music camp at Mount St. Mary's College in Southern California, where they worked with Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen and Branford Marsalis.

The instruction and rehearsals culminated in this concert, taped July 18 at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.

Severinsen and Mancini appear as guest conductors. Performances include "Candide" Overture, "Minute Waltz" and "Pennywhistle Jig." The young performers play works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi as well as George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with Moore on piano.

"This program takes classical music and makes it interesting for children so they can really enjoy it and then know it and recognize it," Purse says. "We're hoping that they'll look at this show and say, 'I can do that,' or 'I've always wanted to do that' or 'I wondered about music and how I can make it more a part of my life.' "

During the camp, Marsalis--who grew up in a musical family, to put it mildly--addressed his kid-musician audience: "When I was your age I was just listening to pop music, kind of rejecting my family's music, being something of a rebel. One day my brother was practicing Beethoven, over and over and I was thinking, 'I don't like this,' but after 10 days, I was humming it and I said to myself, 'I like this.' It made me realize that, why shouldn't I open up and explore all kinds of music? There's so much it can do. It can bring you joy in so many ways."

Purse adds, "With music programs being so nonexistent most places, it's imperative to have some kind of musical education on the community and local level."

In the meantime, this show may open a few doors and that, for the makers of "Disney's Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra," is good enough.

"Disney's Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra" airs Thursday at 7:30 p.m. For ages 6 and up.

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Based on the Roald Dahl novel, the 1989 family film Danny, the Champion of the World (Monday 6-7:40 p.m. Disney) stars Jeremy Irons, Sam Irons, Cyril Cusack, Jean Marsh and Sir Michael Hordern. It tells the story of a widower named William (Irons) raising his son, Danny. When a ruthless land developer attempts to bully William into selling his land, Danny learns valuable lessons about adulthood. For ages 8 and up.

What leads to successful students? Teacher TV (Sunday 3-3:30 p.m. Learning Channel) examines "Higher Expectations--Foiling the Bell Curve," which looks at the new movement that places learning-impaired kids in the same class as honor students. For parents.

Mother Nature--Tales of Discovery's "Springtime Toddler Tales" (Saturday 9-9:30 a.m. Discovery Channel) takes a glimpse at animals in their first days of life. This episode shows many varieties of animals following their parents as they learn to move about in the world: a bison calf, mallard ducklings, baby prairie dogs and a whitetailed fawn. For ages 8 and up.

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