The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Where can you find toe-tapping fun, Minnie Mouse ears, and people dancing in their seats? At the River Park Church in Marda Loop where the Calgary Jazz Orchestra performed the Music of Wynton Marsalis & Disney Re-imagined earlier this month.

The CJO celebrated their 12th season by playing six songs in the first set, giving the audience a little taste of everything from Star Wars to Frozen and the 90s classic, Aladdin.

“I honestly love how they are having fun with it. It’s the whole dynamic of the group and then they’re all so together at the same time. It’s fantastic,” says Brooklyn Laprise, an enthusiastic attendee at the Oct. 16 performance.

JazzSarah Matheson Nadeau alternates between instruments throughout the Calgary Jazz Orchestra’s performance on Oct.16. Photo by Katherine Huitema.Johnny Summers, director and founder of the orchestra, had an interest in music from a young age. Taking early cues from Harry Connick Jr. and Louis Armstrong, Summers notes that his favourite part about music is the way it moves a person emotionally.

“Whether it’s something extremely uplifting and groovy and happy or something incredibly soulful and deep and stirring, I love to be able to use music as a canvas to paint emotion on,” says Summers.

The CJO director, who also played the trumpet and sang throughout the evening, had his smooth and soulful voice featured in Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, among others.

When asked why he chose Disney, he laughs, “I love Disney! Being an artistic director is great because you get to explore what you like.”

He adds that everyone has such a strong connection to Disney, which makes it the perfect theme for the family affair.

Aside from Disney, the show featured music by Wynton Marsallis, an internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader.

Catch the Calgary Jazz Orchestra’s next performance, A Perfectly Frank Christmas on Dec.18 at River Park Church. Tickets are $15 for students and $25 for general admission. Visit calgaryjazzorchestra.com for more information.

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The editor responsible for this article is Ingrid Mir and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.