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A Young Hanoi Orchestra Brings Symphonic Disney Nights to Saigon

Growing up with the touching stories of Walt Disney Studios, many Saigoneers have formed a personal connection with the cheery tunes of songs like The Little Mermaid’s ‘Under the Sea’ or the iconic opening to The Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life.’

Though these traditional animated movies might be considered children’s entertainment, some lessons they teach are timeless. The films also have highly polished production qualities that appeal to adults and even elder members of the family. This month, Disney enthusiasts in Saigon will have an opportunity to reconnect with memories from their youths, rendered through the symphonic sensibilities of Concert of Childhood Memory.

Last year's Concert of Childhood Memory revolved around anime soundtrack.

The concert is an annual program by a group of musicians from Hanoi, created in hopes of bringing orchestral performances closer to younger audience members by performing pop culture music from famous anime or cartoon series. Last year’s edition, titled Shinsekai, took listeners on a journey through anime themes, from One Piece to Naturo and even Doraemon, while a previous show decided to honor the musical genius of Studio Ghibli.

The concert's 2017 edition lionized the beautiful theme songs of Studio Ghibli works.

The first iteration of Concert of Childhood Memory took place in 2016, and was arranged and performed entirely by students from Hanoi's Vietnam National Academy of Music. “We nicknamed the show 'The No. 0 Concert,'” a representative from the concert tells Saigoneer via email. “We organized it hoping [to create] a symphonic concert of and for young people, to be performed in an auditorium chock-full of audience.”

After the success of the inaugural show, three members of the organization team, Mai Xuan Hai, La Tuan Cuong and Nguyen Quynh Oanh, formed Intro Art, which has been at the helm of Childhood Memory concerts ever since. They are all musicians too, with Hai conducting, Cuong on piano and Quynh Oanh on flute.

The ticket for this year's concert is a pop-up card.

Today, Concert of Childhood Memory holds two major performances a year, as well as a small-scale project focusing on more intimate chamber music shows. The orchestra now includes the conservatory’s alumni, current students and even musicians from Vietnam’s professional philharmonic orchestras. As is usually the case in operating huge concerts that involve almost 50 people, logistics is always a challenge, according to Concert of Childhood Memory, which has to coordinate the personal schedules of every single member.

The upcoming edition of the concert, titled Sparks, will have two nights in Hanoi in December and two nights in Saigon in early January next year. Sparks’ main theme is the original soundtracks of Disney, including songs from classic films like Beauty and the Beast to modern favorites like Tangled.

Concert of Childhood Memory: Sparks will take place in Saigon on January 4 and 5, 2020. Tickets are available here or via VinID here.