What to do tonight: The Classical Mystery Tour and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra bring back The Beatles
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Back in the 1960s, no one would have dreamed of mixing long-hair classical music with long-hair pop music. But that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone.
Ah, gone, but not forgotten. In fact, "Yesterday" is very likely to be among the songs performed tonight when the Classical Mystery Tour and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra present music by The Beatles on the stage at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle.
You're probably thinking, "Oh, another tribute band. Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about." But on the contrary, The Beatles' music was highly orchestrated with strings and French horns and such.
It's the act you've known for all these years. Almost.
According to the publicity material, the Classical Mystery Tour features four young men playing the parts of The Beatles. We have Jim Owen (John Lennon) on rhythm guitar and piano; Tony Kishman (Paul McCartney) on bass guitar and piano; John Brosnan (George Harrison) on lead guitar; and Chris Camilleri (Ringo Starr) on drums. They each provide vocals as they bring more than two dozen Beatles songs to life.
"We actually have a whole pop season that lasts seven weeks," said Michael Bielski, the symphony's senior vice president and chief operating officer. "Typically it's a season of variety of popular programs. For example, this tribute band.
"And we have many shows like this. We have Broadway stars coming in and performing show tunes. A variety of stars, new and older stars, singing songs by Cole Porter to music of their own. We're going to have the music of Michael Jackson, sung by a young person who I understand is really good. And, of course, we have the Celtic Women coming in and the Holiday Pops.
"This spring we're showing the movie 'The Wizard of Oz,' only they've taken out the music, which will be played by the Pittsburgh Symphony. So you'll have live music, a huge screen and the Pittsburgh Symphony playing for Ray Bolger and Judy Garland.
"It's really cool. Symphonies all over the country are doing it. We're experimenting with that to see if our audiences like it. These are family shows and people love it.
"One of the last concerts [the late Pops conductor] Marvin Hamlisch did was an all-Gershwin concert. And the audience was made up of young and old. There's a reason why Gershwin lives forever, and Beethoven lives forever."
The Beatles are in good company.
"These guys look like The Beatles, they sound like The Beatles," Mr. Bielski said. "They dress up for various eras, so there are costume changes. I saw it Saturday night and it was quite a show. And in the audience there were kids, grandparents and parents -- and everybody had a smile on their face. It's The Beatles."
The lads on stage are all geared up for more than 30 songs, some of their solo hits. (Lennon or McCartney, as opposed to Lennon and McCartney.)
￢ﾀﾜWe￢ﾀﾙre all big Beatles fans,￢ﾀﾝ said Mr. Owen. ￢ﾀﾜAnd it￢ﾀﾙs an honor to re-create the music live, backed by a symphony orchestra, especially one as good as the Pittsburgh Symphony. It￢ﾀﾙs something The Beatles themselves never got a chance to do live ￢ﾀﾔ play with an orchestra in concert.￢ﾀﾝ
It promises to add a new dimension to the music we all know and love. They take a sad song and make it better.
"That's kind of what live entertainment is all about," Mr. Bielski said. "Being able to bring back that memory."
It's all the way up in New Castle, but no matter which long and winding road you take to get there, it should be worth it.
"We have the symphony up here three times a year. And we'll have 'The Nutcracker' and the B.E. Taylor holiday show," said Rob Cummings, president of the cathedral's foundation board. "With Christmas parties and whatnot, this is our busiest time of year. And it's a win-win situation. People come to the shows, which is nice, and they see how beautiful the building is, and they come back."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets at the door range from $16 to $59.
We hope you will enjoy the show.
First Published November 19, 2012 4:04 pm