Cartoon Tunes Rang Through First Parish

April 26, 2023

First Parish in Bedford was filled with childhood memories, toe-tapping, and humming during the Cartoon Tunes concert presented by the popular group, American Classics, on April 16. 

Local artists Ben Sears, Brad Conner (both artistic and producing directors), and Cynthia Mork, were joined by Boston area performers, including Michelle Deluise, Wes Hunter, Sarah Kornfeld, Caryn May, and Ethan Sagin with Steve Sussman on piano. 

With all the in-depth historical research that Sears and Conner are noted for, the audience learned a lot about each of the pieces that were performed. (Please note, song trivia written for this article to help bring the readers’ memories alive may or may not have been part of the concert experience.) 

Conner invited the audience to relive those great memories when every weekend started with Saturday morning cartoons and ended on Sunday night with “The Wonderful World of Disney.” The program opened with the theme song “When You Wish Upon a Star” from the 1940 animated musical fantasy film,Pinocchio.”

Performer Ethan Sagan sang “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” written by Harry Warren in 1933 for Bebe Daniels in the 1933 musical film “42nd Street.” Photo by Doris Smith

Do you remember all your favorite cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, and The Flintstones? How about Disney songs and characters from the beloved animated films? 

Some of the songs in the concert included “42nd Street” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” (written by Al Dubin with music by Harry Warren for the 1933 Warner Bros. backstage musical film “42nd Street); “Jeepers Creepers” (written by Harry Warren with lyrics by Johnny Mercer for the 1938 movie “Going Places”); “You Go to My Head” (a 1938 popular song written by J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie).

To help bring the Spirit of Christmas alive, the group sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” (written by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel with music by Albert Hague, performed by Thurl Ravenscroft for the 1966 animated special “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”).

Some of the songs from the Disney animated collection included: “Cruella De Vil” (the theme song of the villainess, written by Mel Leven with lyrics by Bill Lee, featured in the 1961 film “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”); “Let it Go” (written by husband-wife songwriter duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, featured in “Frozen); and “Hakuna Matata” (written by Tim Rice with lyrics by Elton John for “The Lion King.” The phrase “Hakuna Matata” in the East African language of Swahili literally means “no trouble” or “no problems”); and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” (composed by Frank Churchill and Ann Ronell, which made its debut in “The Three Little Pigs,” a Disney short released in 1933). 

Visit https://americanclassics.benandbrad.com to learn more about American Classics and see what shows they will feature next season.

In the immortal words of Porky Pig spoken at the end of those Looney Tunes cartoons: “Th-Th- that’s all, folks!” (Porky Pig appeared in 153 cartoons in the Golden Age of American animation.)

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Doris Smith is an Arts and Cultural Reporter for The Bedford Citizen. She was supported by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council from December 2022 - June 2023.

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