Little Mermen to bring Disney fun to Arts Festival

Credit: Kris Rogers

Credit: Kris Rogers

From “When You Wish Upon a Star” to “Let It Go,” it’s hard to let those songs from Disney classics go out of your mind.

Since you can’t, it’s time to celebrate them.

Dive in with The Little Mermen — the Ultimate Disney Cover Band, which will perform all the beloved tunes from “Snow White” up to last year’s “Encanto” when they play a family-oriented show at the Summer Arts Festival, 8 p.m. Thursday in Veterans Park.

The event is presented by the Springfield Arts Council and admission is free with opportunities for financial donations.

Having previously played with named performers, including Blues Traveler and Boz Skaggs, Little Mermen bandleader Alex Babini was on a Disney Channel stars tour, and it started the kernel of an idea, inspired by the catchy “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King” that always seemed to get audiences worked up. Why not get a band, some costumes and perform the songs from Disney films people love?

It fulfills not just a work need, but an interest that began in childhood.

“When I was a little boy, my mom would put on “Fantasia” and Mickey (Mouse) puts on that sorcerer’s hat, that got me going as a kid in the ‘90s,” Babini said. “People don’t realize how many of those songs they recognize. We paint with a big brush the masterpieces of Disney.”

It also allows unique mashups, such as incorporating “When You Wish Upon a Star” with music from “Tarzan.” They even do the latest Disney smash, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto.”

While Disney is often protective of its brand, Babini has had good luck, with The Little Mermen being the only such cover band being featured on And award-winning composer Alan Menken, who did the scores to “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and other Disney classics, came to an early show.

The key is honing in on the range of Disney tunes that can cast a wide net as far as the audience, comparing it to the excitement of going to Disney World or Disneyland as a kid and growing older but finding magic at a place like EPCOT. There’s something for everybody.

People may have heard Badini’s other work as he does freelance jobs, including commercial jingles. But like a good Disney movie provides an escape, he can get that leading The Little Mermen.

“I get to do something fun every night, and we’re so lucky Disney have given us the magic wand to do it,” he said.

This is the seventh and final week of the 56th annual Summer Arts Festival. It will conclude with performances by Brass Tracks on Friday and Phil Dirt and the Dozers on Saturday. Both shows will begin at 8 p.m.


What: The Little Mermen – The Ultimate Disney Cover Band

Where: Veterans Park, Springfield

When: Thursday at 8 p.m.

Admission: Free; donations accepted

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