DPO’s rockin’ orchestra series features ‘Music of the Eagles’
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Conjure an image of the orchestra. Go ahead – do it.
What do you see? A conductor madly waving his hands? A group of violinists pumping their bows back and forth across their strings? Audience members studiously listening to the classical rhythms of the orchestra?
Sure. But what about an electric guitar? Rock music? A lead singer with the ability to completely rock n’ roll?
Not so much.
But think again, folks. Because when it comes to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s latest show, “One of These Nights: Music of the Eagles,” the viewers are going to get just that – totally rock n’ roll, baby.
“We really wanted to walk into the rock sphere and this has been a wild, runaway hit,” said DPO Marketing Director David Bukvic of the Rockin’ Orchestra Series of which “One of These Nights” will be its second installment. “Our wildest dreams would be that we would hit the 100,000 mark (for ticket sales) and we are past that by 10,000.”
This season’s Rockin’ Orchestra Series is comprised of three concerts, which each feature music from popular rock ’n roll groups of the 1960s and 1970s: The Beatles, the Eagles and Led Zeppelin. Modern-day, Canada-based rock ensemble Jeans ’n Classics will perform alongside the DPO at the Schuster Performing Arts Center, with “One of these Nights” taking place at 8 p.m. on Jan. 22.
“If you combine the musical impact of a great rock band and terrific vocalists with the awesome power of a symphony orchestra – and then ask them to perform some of the best classic rock, R&B and pop material from the past 50 years – you’ll get a sense of what a Jeans ‘n Classics concert experience is all about,” said Jeans ‘n Classics Founder Peter Brennan. “For the concert goer, it represents the music of your life symphonically performed as you’ve never heard it before.”
Bukvic agreed with Brennan, relaying a story about an invitation he extended to two of his friends to be guests to one of the Rockin’ Orchestra’s shows. Originally, Bukvic said, the pair had a “Why on Earth would we do that?” attitude, unsure of what it would be like to hear their favorite tunes in an orchestral setting.
“But they were blown away, Bukvic said.
Bukvic said a vital part of this show’s success is the exceptional talent of conductor, Neal Gittleman, DPO music director, who will lend his love of rock n’ roll to the performance.
“He is as all-embracing a musician as you will ever find,” Bukvic said of Gittleman.
Michael Shotton, the lead singer in the show, said the artists’ enjoyment of the music is felt throughout the production, making the show especially fun to perform.
“Performing this music is absolutely magical for me,” Shotton said. “There is not a boring moment for me as there is so much ground to cover.
“There is the voice of Glenn Frey (slightly Americana country), Don Henley (gruff yet tender), Joe Walsh (still drunk!) and Randy Meisner (high and bold). Every night you try to bring justice to what everyone is already familiar with. It’s always a work in progress, always getting better.”
Featured songs in the show will include: “Take It Easy,” “Hotel California,” “The Long Run,” “Desperado,” “Boys of Summer” and “Take it to the Limit.”
“I love the idea of doing contemporary music live with an orchestra,” said backup vocalist Katalin Kiss. “Working with such dedicated musicians takes performing to a new level. Much of the music we do has been arranged with an orchestra in mind. To have real strings, brass and woodwinds and the like as opposed to a synth copying a string sound, is huge.”
Huge, indeed. So big, in fact, that the success of this season’s Rockin’ Orchestra has spurred the DPO to already plan another series for next season, expanding from three shows to four to include music from Three Dog Night, Pink Floyd and Queen, in addition to a tribute to disco music.
“The threads of music connect over various series,” Bukvic said of the relationship between classical and rock music. “The idea [behind these shows] is that all music is great.”
And don’t expect this to be the only series in which the DPO breaks out the electric guitar. Bukvic said the DPO is also hosting “New Worlds” in March where audience members can experience the instrument once again, proving the happy link between classical and rock sounds.
“It really makes sense to take music of this classic nature and marry it to the classic sound of an orchestra,” Shotton said. ”It simply makes the beauty of this music as the ‘soundtrack of all of our lives’ that much more apparent and majestic.”
The final show in this season’s Rockin’ Orchestra series will be “The Symphony Rocks: Music of Led Zeppelin” on April 2nd at 8 p.m.
“As hard-rocking as it sounds … It works really well in the concert hall,” Bukvic said.
Sounds like opposites attract all the way.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketcenterstage.com or by calling (888) 228-3630. More information about Jeans ’n Classics can be found at www.jeansnclassics.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Caroline Shannon-Karasik at email@example.com.