Mickey Mouse's concert band is performing a concert in a park. As the film opens, they are being applauded for having just played music from Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold's Zampa. They next begin Gioacchino Rossini's William Tell overture.
Mickey's performance is first disrupted by Peter Pig's vibrato trumpet and Paddy Pig's tuba playing Prelude: Dawn. Meanwhile, Donald Duck rolls a vendor cart through the audience selling lemonade, popcorn, and ice cream, which further distracts Mickey.
While the band is playing the "Finale" segment, Donald plays "Turkey in the Straw" at the same tempo as the band. Overhearing Donald, the entire band absent-mindedly find themselves playing Donald's song. Realizing that he accidentally switched genres, Mickey loses his temper over his performance being disrupted in this manner. Mickey destroys Donald's flute in two, only for Donald to get another one out. They play the song again and Mickey destroys the flute once more. The band resumes the segment, but when Donald plays "Turkey in the Straw" again, the trombonist pulls out several of Donald's flutes by the neck and forces him offstage, knocking him back into the vendor.
Then, while Donald tries to begain the song, a bee harasses him. When the bee lands on Mickey's hat, Donald throws ice cream at the bee, which sends it into Peter Pig's trumpet and he hits it at Mickey, thinking that Mickey threw the ice cream at him. Mickey has the band play Ranz des Vaches and loses his temper when the bee interrupts the performance. Percussionist Horace Horsecollar tries to kill the bee with a hammer but accidentally hits Goofy's head instead, driving his head down into his jacket, but he continues playing his clarinet from inside it.
Finally, the band comes to the "Storm" segment of the overture which summons an actual tornado, prompting the audience, the seats, and Donald to run away. The tornado sucks up everything in its path, even the pavilion on which the band is playing. But the band is so used to the distractions by this point that they continue to play from inside the tornado (in which Mickey floats past the remains of a wrecked house). As the storm passes, the band (except Horace, Peter Pig and Mickey) is thrown into a tree and they finish the overture. Yet by this time the only remaining audience member is Donald Duck who applauds enthusiastically. Witnessing Donald playing "Turkey in the Straw" as an encore, the band members angrily throw their instruments at him from off camera.Mickey Mouse - Conductor
Goofy - Clarinet
Unnamed dog - Trombone
Clarabelle Cow - Flute
Horace Horsecollar - Percussion
Peter Pig - Trumpet
Paddy Pig - Tuba
Clarence Nash as Donald Duck
Although The Band Concert did not receive any Academy Award nominations, it has nonetheless become one of the most highly acclaimed Disney short films. Esquire magazine cultural critic Gilbert Seldes wrote that "[none of] dozens of works produced in America at the same time in all the other arts can stand comparison with this one." The Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was such a fan of The Band Concert that he saw it six times in the theater and later invited Walt Disney to his home in Italy.
In 1994 The Band Concert was rated third in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons, which rated the greatest cartoons of all time by members of the field of animation. As a result, it was the highest-ranked Disney cartoon on the list, and the only one in the top 5 not produced by Warner Bros.
According to Leonard Maltin, the 1942 Mickey Mouse film Symphony Hour was somewhat of a remake of The Band Concert.
In the 1942 wartime cartoon, All Together, Mickey and his whole band from the cartoon is seen in the parade.
In the video game Kingdom Hearts II, in the Garden area of Disney Castle, there is a topiary sculpture of all characters in the band besides Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.
The Band Concert was also the basis for, and title of the secret level in the game, Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse (in the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD and PlayStation versions only).
This cartoon was also the inspiration for the Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom show Mickey's PhilharMagic.
The short was one of the many featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday, Donald remembers it in a psychiatric session with Dr. Ludwig Von Drake and says that Mickey "invited" Donald to play with his band.
The Band Concert is the theme for the Silly Symphony Swings attraction at Disney California Adventure Park.
This cartoon was featured in Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse.