At first glance at the schedule for the D23 Expo the Sherman and Menken concert wasn’t the ‘must see event’ on my list. However, a few days prior to the concert I had the privilege of being able to listen in to a conference call with both Disney Legends talking about the upcoming concert and some great stories about their time creating these songs for Disney. Once I finished the call I was in tears because it was such a powerful call. Listening to these Disney Legends talk with such passion about their craft made me want more and I made sure I was going to attend the concert. You can read my post about the Q&A call here – http://iamamommynerd.com/disney-legends-qa-with-richard-m-sherman-and-alan-menken/
The overflow seating isn’t as bad as it sounds; it is a room full of chairs with 4 large screens in the front of the room. I honestly think we had a better view in the overflow seating arena than if we were in the D23 Arena. I would have been looking up at the video screens in the arena most of the time anyway so I could get a good look at the action on the stage.
View of the D23 Arena for the Disney Songbook
First to perform was Richard M. Sherman and he was fantastic, I can’t believe he is 85 years old. He started with great songs that he and his brother Robert Sherman wrote for Annette Funicello and Haley Mills. He then sang songs such as “World of Color” and songs from Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Book, Aristocats, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He then moved into ride attraction songs for The Enchanted Tiki Room, Journey into Imagination and he wrapped up with Mary Poppins. Not only did he sing and play the songs but he told wonderful stories about working with his brother Robert and Walt Disney. These are the stories that I treasure the most because we get to take a trip back into time and learn what is was like to work with Walt.
One of the stories that Richard told was about a time he visited Disneyland with his wife, he had a pass to come anytime he wanted. At the end of the day they stayed and watched the fireworks and he cried. He felt that it was so beautiful and a great way to cap off a nice day. As they lingered and walked down Main Street Richard looked back and saw a figure walking slowly down Main Street too. He soon recognized it to be Walt Disney. Richard stopped and thanked Walt for giving him and his wife the opportunity to enjoy Disneyland. Richard told him that he thought the Fireworks were fantastic and that he cried at the end. Walt said “I cry everytime”. Walt shook his hand, told him to drive safe and walked up to his apartment above the firehouse.
Richard M. Sherman tells a story about “Feed the Birds” and sings the song – (may need to turn up your volume)
Richard M. Sherman tells story about his performance at the dedication of the Partners statue at Disneyland
Richard M. Sherman sings Carousel of Progress
Richard Sherman sings “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
Then after thunderous applause Alan Menken started to play songs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted and Tangled. He also sang Broadway tunes from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies and the upcoming Aladdin.
Alan Menken sings songs from The Little Mermaid
The concert was amazing, it was a thrill to hear many classic Disney songs being sung by their authors. What a thrill it must be for them to hear all of us singing along with them. It was a treasure to hear the stories behind the songs as well, I think that was really my favorite part. I felt like I was able to step back in time with Richard and Alan to when the songs were being created. Many people were so overwhelmed with joy that they were crying during the concert, me included.
Photos from the D23 Expo Disney Songbook with Alan Menken
The following day after the concert I was at Disneyland and the Mickey’s Soundsational Parade was ending. I decided to stand in the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe until the parade passed by. I glanced over to my right and I saw Richard M. Sherman standing there watching the parade. He then stood up and took notice of the end of the parade music which was “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins, which he and his brother wrote. It was a gift for me to be able to see him enjoy the parade music.
I walked over to him shook his hand and said “Thank you for the concert last night Mr. Sherman, your stories warmed my heart and I think you are awesome”. He said “Thank you dear”. I then moved away and snapped a few photos and a quick video (below). I was in such awe of what just happened to me. I shook hands with a Disney Legend.
Richard M. Sherman at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland
If you want to know more about the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe (and why it was so fitting that Richard M. Sherman was hanging out there, check out this blog post from the Disney Parks Blog – http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/05/all-about-the-details-at-jolly-holiday-bakery-cafe-at-disneyland-park/