Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Magical Mystery Tour, a Beatles Retrospective For All Generations

By Emily Cary

Did you ever wish you could have attended a Beatles concert? Not to worry. The Classical Mystery Tour may be coming to your town soon.

Jim Owen has been a fan of both classical music and the Beatles since childhood. While attending a concert that featured some Beatles music, the idea came to him that audiences would love attending a concert of all-Beatles music played like symphonic numbers.

The opportunity came in 1994 when he was taking part-time music classes at California State University in Long Beach. He went into the office looking for the name of someone who would be good at making arrangement of charts and was directed to Dr. Martin Herman, a professor of music who turned out to be a big Beatles fan. When Owen mentioned his vision of a symphonic Beatles concert, Herman could not wait to start working on it.

The result is Classical Mystery Tour, a natural for symphony orchestras everywhere. The program covers favorite songs that Herman transcribed directly from Beatles recordings It begins with their early music right down to the solo years, all backed by the full orchestra.

Just as the most recent performance with the National Symphony Orchestra packed Washington's Kennedy Center Concert Hall for three evenings, this tribute to the Fab Four has played to enthusiastic crowds in many cities on several continents. It features four performers holding impressive credits as Beatles interpreters. Best of all, each bears an uncanny resemblance to the artist he represents in both voice and appearance.

Owen, who portrays John Lennon on rhythm guitar and piano, has toured internationally with productions of "Beatlemania" since the age of 18. Tony Kishman, a member of the national and international tours of "Beatlemania," is Paul McCartney on bass guitar and piano. Tom Teeley on lead guitar starred as George Harrison in both the Broadway production and the film version of "Beatlemania." Chris Camilleri as Ringo Starr rounds out the foursome. A founding member of the Beatles copy band Liverpool, Camilleri has performed at the Beatlefest national conventions since 1979. All four contribute to the vocals.

The format of the program is a chronological representation of the Beatles catalog. It opens with a big orchestral medley of Beatles songs arranged for an overture and lasting six minutes. The costuming changes with each musical period. The performers open in black suits to give a sense of their appearance during the early period, then change into outfits appropriate for "A Hard Day's Night" and "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club."

After the intermission, they are into the later 60s look with the Abbey Road outfits for "Magic Mystery Tour." That section includes a couple of solos, among them John's "Imagine" sung by Owen. They close with "Penny Lane," "I Am A Walrus," "The Long and Winding Road" and "Eleanor Rigby," songs all suited to an orchestra.
Becoming John Lennon on stage gives Owen great joy. He loves performing in great halls that offer a rich, live sound to ensnare even those who do not arrive as Beatles fans.

"The music is not only good, but it sends a positive message," he says. "Everyone is uplifted when they hear songs like 'Hey Jude' and 'All You Need Is Love.' These are the happy moments people remember."
Emily Cary is a prize-winning teacher and novelist whose articles about entertainers appear regularly in the DC Examiner. She is a genealogist, an avid traveler, and a researcher who incorporates landscapes, cultures and the power of music in her books and articles.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Emily_Cary

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