HomeAbout UsKso NewsAlice WonderlandKSO presents US National Premiere of Disney in Concert – Alice in Wonderland Saturday, April 2, 2016

KSO presents US National Premiere of Disney in Concert – Alice in Wonderland Saturday, April 2, 2016


Kalamazoo, MI March 22, 2016 – The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is excited to announce that the US National Premiere of Disney in Concert – Alice in Wonderland will debut in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium on Saturday April 2, 2016 at 8pm.  This full length film with original voice and sound effects will play on the big screen while Maestro Raymond Harvey leads over 70 KSO musicians, the Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus, directed by Fred Sang, and the Kalamazoo Singers, directed by Richard Phelps, as they bring Danny Elfman’s amazing and breath-taking score to life.

“We are extremely thrilled to have landed this US National premiere,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, President & CEO of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. “Our three-year exclusive alliance with Disney means a lot and it is a real treat for our audiences in the Kalamazoo community.”

Jonathan Heely, Director Music Publishing & Concert Licensing at Disney, said, “We are really looking forward to this brand new alliance and expect it to continue for multiple years. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is a trustworthy partner for our symphonic productions.”

Raymond Harvey, Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, said, “I am really looking forward to this amazing artistic opportunity and can’t wait to start the rehearsals leading up to what promises to be a unique, multidimensional concert experience.”

Audience members are invited to tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice for a fantastical new adventure in an imaginative new twist on one of the most beloved stories of all time. Alice, now 19 years old, returns to the whimsical world she first entered as a child and embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny. This Wonderland filled with familiar friends and characters is a world beyond your imagination and unlike anything you've seen before. The American fantasy film was directed by Tim Burton and written by Linda Woolverton. Providing the score is long-time Burton collaborator and four-time Grammy Nominee, Danny Elfman. Released by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

“PNC is happy to play a role in bringing this unique movie experience, featuring music performed live by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, to our Southwest Michigan community,” said PNC Regional President Sean Welsh.  “Disney in Concert – Alice in Wonderland is an exciting musical event and the perfect kick-off of our three-year partnership with the orchestra.”



Raymond Harvey

This season Maestro Harvey celebrates 17 years as Music Director of the Kalamazoo

Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the top post at the Fresno Philharmonic (California), Springfield Symphony (Massachusetts), and El Paso Opera (Texas). 

Maestro Harvey has appeared as guest conductor with many of America’s leading orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Detroit, New Orleans and Minnesota, as well as the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts and the Boston Pops. He has also had engagements with the Maggio Musicale Orchestra of Florence, Italy, the Pusan Symphony of South Korea, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. He regularly performs as a pianist, both in chamber music and as pianist/conductor in works of Gershwin, Mozart, and Rachmaninoff.

In addition to his commitment to Kalamazoo, Dr. Harvey has been named an Associate Professor at the University of Houston, where he serves as Music Director of the Moores School of Music opera department.  His operatic repertoire is extensive, including favorites such as Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Turandot, and Aïda; as well as the more rarely performed The Consul, The Rape of Lucretia, and Samson and Delilah.

The Kalamazoo community continues to embrace Raymond Harvey through appreciation of his compelling performances and engaging lectures.


Kalamazoo Singers

The Kalamazoo Singers is a chorus of approximately fifty voices under the direction of Richard Phelps. All members are admitted by audition and include some of the area's finest singers. Kalamazoo Singers performs quality music from opera, operetta, musical theater, and both classic and contemporary choral repertoire, occupying a unique niche among area choral groups. Our mission is to inspire and enrich the community through quality choral programming. Our vision: transform individuals and unite communities through the power of song.

The group's commitment to excellence began in 1976, under the direction of Mel Ivey, when the group performed as the opera chorus in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra/Michigan Opera Theatre production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The members of the chorus enjoyed their participation so much that discussions were started which eventually led to the formation of the Kalamazoo Singers. It was agreed that not only would the group continue as an opera chorus, but that it would also branch out into other repertoire. The group remained under the direction of Mel Ivey until 1979, when Thomas Kasdorf took the helm. Thomas Kasdorf directed the group for thirty years, retiring in 2009, after which the Kalamazoo Singers Board of Directors granted him the title of Music Director and Conductor, Emeritus.

Under the direction of Richard Phelps, the Kalamazoo Singers has continued its commitment to excellence, being honored in the fall of 2014 by an invitation to perform at the Michigan conference of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Ensembles from the chorus have sung at art hops and area retirement homes, helping to fulfill our mission of inspiring and enriching the community. Kalamazoo Singers typically performs three major concerts and concludes each season by headlining the Arts Council's Concert in the Park summer series. For more information, visit www.kalamazoosingers.org.


Richard Phelps

A Michigan native, Richard (Rick) Phelps attended school from kindergarten through college in Mt. Pleasant. He received his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University. Rick also holds a Master of Arts in New Testament Studies at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA.

He has taught as an adjunct member of the faculties of Central Michigan University and Mid-Michigan Community College, where he taught choral literature, private voice, and choral ensembles. After assuming the leadership of the Mt. Pleasant High School choral program, he led the choirs to continuing success in District and State choral festivals. His choirs have sung around Michigan and in Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, and New York, having twice appeared at Carnegie Hall. In 2004 they sang the Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem under the direction of CMU's Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson, and in 2009 sang a collection of shorter works with Dr. Eph Ely, one of America's most celebrated choral conductors.

In 2010 the Phelps family relocated to Holland where Rick assumed the leadership of the Holland High School choral program and its celebrated Vocal Dimensions, a long-standing fixture in the West Michigan vocal jazz scene. He has also taught at Interlochen every summer since 1997.


Kalamazoo Children's Chorus 

The Kalamazoo Children's Chorus has been providing outstanding choral music to our community for over 34 years. Starting as a single choir in 1980, the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus is now five choirs strong and KCC students range from 3rd grade to 12th grade. Each year about 200 children, ages 8 to 18, learn and perform in an atmosphere of artistic excellence, and by so doing, enrich the artistic life of our community.

The Touring Choir is thrilled to be singing with KSO at Miller Auditorium in Sounds of the Season - Christmas with Jackie Evancho on December 19, 2015. On April 2, 2016, they will perform again with KSO in KSO@TheMovies, Disney in Concert - Alice in Wonderland. 

The Touring Choir is KCC's most experienced choir, made up of an auditioned ensemble of middle and high school children under the artistic direction of Fred Sang. The Touring Choir has collaborated with every major musical organization in Kalamazoo and has sung with many artists who visit Kalamazoo to perform at Miller Auditorium and other venues. Over the years they have also shared thestage with: Numazu Boys and Girls Choir (Japan), Bloemfontein Children's Choir (South Africa), St. Mary's Children's Chorus (Canada) and The Young People's Chorus of New York City (America).

Singing a varied repertoire of sacred and secular music, the Touring Choir has sung throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. In 2013 they performed in Rome, Florence, Mezza Villa, and in Venice at the Bacillica of St. Mark's. 


Fred Sang

Fred Sang is the Artistic Director of the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus and Director for the Touring Choir. Mr. Sang received his undergraduate and graduate training at Western Michigan University. Mr. Sang retired from Portage Public Schools after thirty-two years of teaching. During those thirty-two years he taught in London, England; Constantine, Hartford, Paw Paw and Portage, Michigan. His public school choirs received consistent Superior ratings at District and State Choral Festivals. His students have recognized Mr. Sang by nominating him to Who's Who Among America's Teachers nine times.

Mr. Sang is an active clinician and adjudicator for Michigan School Vocal Music Association and under their auspices began a mentor program for new and emerging choral directors in the public schools of Michigan. He was elected by his colleagues around the state to be the SSA Middle School State Honors Choir Director in 2012. He is also active as a mentor for teachers and maintains an active schedule visiting classrooms in the public schools. Mr. Sang continues to act as a consultant for and advocate of choral music in the public schools. He is also a member of the American Choral Directors Association and Chorus America. He is the recipient of the Greater Kalamazoo Arts Council Arts Leadership award for 2015.


KSO@The Movies – Special Event


KSO @ The Movies
Disney in Concert - Alice in Wonderland
Saturday, April 2, 2016  |  8pm
Miller Auditorium

Raymond Harvey, conductor
Kalamazoo Singers (Richard Phelps, director)
Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus (Fred Sang, director)

The KSO, in partnership with Disney, proudly presents Disney in Concert - Alice in Wonderland. This full-length Disney movie, with original dialogue and sound effects plays on the big screen while your KSO musicians bring Danny Elfman’s score to life for an amazing, multi-sensory, family event!

KSO@The Movies is exclusively brought to you by PNC Bank.

Visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com for up-to-date information, details and schedules.  Prices, artists, dates, time and program are subject to change without notice.

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.  The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra also receives generous support from other local, state and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support.  For more information, visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com.

About the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1921, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is Southwest Michigan’s premier musical organization, providing musical enrichment to over 80,000 adults and youth per year.  The third-largest professional orchestra in the state, the KSO has won numerous awards and grants, including the Met Life Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts for its extensive education programs, and a major Ford Foundation grant to found its innovative Artist-in-Residence program.

Tags: Alice in Wonderland, Danny Elfman, Disney, kso, national premiere, Special Event, Stay Tuned, Tim burton