Ron Clements '71 makes return home

Orpheum to show Ron Clements' "Aladdin"
Posted on 04/20/2023

Throughout the spring, three Bishop Heelan alumni have had their works showcased with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra. 

Heelan 1971 grad Ron Clements will have the spotlight at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The Orpheum, as the orchestra will play the score of “Aladdin,” which Clements wrote and directed. Tickets are still available. 

“I think it’ll be really fun and I did attend concerts when I was a kid a lot,” Clements said on the Feb. 6 episode of “Faith in Action with Joanne Fox” podcast (start at 31:55 mark). “It’ll be great to get back to Sioux City. I don’t get back that often and I still have relatives back there that I always get to see when I get back. I enjoy getting back to Heelan, and it looked really beautiful.”  

Clements has directed and written several Disney classics, including “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Moana.” 

Clements will visit his old stomping grounds at 1 p.m. Friday, as he’ll speak with students about his career and visit some of his old classrooms at Cathedral Dual Language Academy. 

His career first started right here in Sioux City, working as a part-time animator at KCAU-TV. He also worked on cartoons with the Heelan student newspaper, the Heelan Highline.

The two teachers who Clements credited inspiring him to be an animator were journalism teacher Mary Castle and Sister Mary de Lourdes. 

“I was very interested in animation as a kid,” Clements said. “When I was nine, I saw ‘Pinocchio’ at the Orpheum, and that had a huge impact on me. I had a strong desire to work for Disney. I did have an aim and I did want to work at Disney.” 

Safe to say, that dream got lived out. He started at Disney in 1974, and Clements became an animator on “The Fox and the Hound,” and from that on, he worked on directing some of those movies. 

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