Fans of both symphonic music and rock and roll will have quite a bit to look forward to this year as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces a full line-up of rock and roll shows, elevated by a powerful orchestra in Kleinhans Music Hall. The 2022-2023 BPO Rock Series will feature tributes to rock and roll legends The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, and the Beatles, as well as a performance by Jefferson Starship.
“I’m a firm believer that this music, that has been popular for over 50 years, deserves its place in the concert hall with a full symphony orchestra,” said Bradley Thachuk, Music Director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, who will conduct tributes to Deep Purple and The Beatles.
I’m always excited by the ways that an orchestra can inject new energy into the songs of beloved artists, and add a fresh sound to music that has been with us most of our lives.Bradley Thachuk
The BPO Rock series will open on Friday, October 21, 2022 with “The Music of the Moody Blues” performed by GO NOW! – a tribute group founded by Gordy Marshall, who spent 25 years of his musical career touring with Moody Blues as a drummer.
“I was lucky enough to land the gig with the legendary Moody Blues as the drummer back in 1991,” Marshall said. “It was only for one nine-week tour to help the original drummer, Graeme Edge, through one tour following an injury. However, not only did Graeme and I get on so well (a little bit of post gig drinking went a long way!), but having two drummers worked out so well, they asked me back for the following tour. What started out as a short nine-week tour ended up being a 25-year career. I went on to perform with The Moody Blues on all the biggest stages, TV and radio shows all over the world. It changed my life. During the process I fell in love with the music, fell in love with the band and they are all still dear to my heart to this day.”
After leaving the band and starting his own production company in 2015, Marshall launched “GO NOW!” as a small tribute show to The Moody Blues that would quickly grow in popularity and become his main gig.
“GO NOW! obviously will perform all the best known songs from the Moody Blues catalogue: Isn’t Life Strange, Question, Tuesday Afternoon and, of course, Nights In White Satin, as well as some of the deep cuts such as Legend of a Mind, a song about Timothy Leary,” Marshall said. “The ultimate glorious cherry on top is of course that we are performing with a full orchestra – The Buffalo Symphony. This is a return concert for me as I played with this orchestra with The Moody Blues more than once. To bring my own band back to Buffalo and play with the same orchestra really is a dream come true.”
Next in the series will be “Deep Purple Rising: A Symphonic Tribute” on Friday, January 20, 2023. Rock vocalist and Western New York native Joe Retta and a full rock band will play hits from Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Rainbow.
“We just premiered the Deep Purple concert to a sold out audience in Canada,” Thachuck said. “The energy from the audience and the performers was powerful, and rarely have I heard a symphony hall come alive to such a degree. The show reimagines how an orchestra can play an integral part in the performance of these classics, not just playing a backup role. It is a truly exciting and riveting concert.”
Jefferson Starship will take the stage at Kleinhans on March 10, 2023, featuring hits from its early roots as Jefferson Airplane through its evolution to Jefferson Starship. Known as one of the most successful arena rock groups of the 1970s and 1980s, the group has re-formed under original member David Frieberg with veteran musicians Donny Baldwin, Jude Gold, Cathy Richardson, and Chris Smith. This performance will be conducted by Tim Berens and will feature hits including Somebody to Love, White Rabbit, Miracles, Jane, Find Your Way Back and more.
The final performance of the series will take place on Apr. 28, 2023 when the BPO presents “Revolution: The Music of the Beatles,” a musical and visual journey through the world of the Fab Four. Fans will enjoy new arrangements of favorite pieces from Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, transcribed and arranged from the original master recordings at Abbey Road. “Revolution” will feature arrangements of over 25 top hits including Ticket to Ride, Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love, Get Back, Here Comes the Sun and Hey Jude. The show will also feature a multimedia presentation with hundreds of rare and unseen photos from the historic, London-based archives of The Beatles’ official fan magazine, The Beatles Book Monthly, along with video and animation.
For those who may be stepping into Kleinhans for the first time, or consider themselves more so fans of rock and roll than classical aficionados, Thachuck assures us that these performances will cement the idea that the orchestral hall is a place to celebrate musical genres like rock and roll in the way they most deserve.
“Orchestras have always been the most trusted organizations to preserve the greatest moments in music throughout history,” Thachuck said. “These classics deserve their place in the concert hall, alongside Beethoven, Mozart, etc. Time is the great decider of what is quality and what is temporary. The music on these concerts has been popular for over half a century, and thus, deserves to be kept alive in the symphony hall. If you don’t like Mozart, that’s fine. Not everyone does. The orchestra is home to all types of music, and it welcomes all tastes. This has been my ongoing mission in writing and conducting rock shows: to break down this idea that the orchestra is for the few. It’s your orchestra and more and more, you will find something that draws you into the concert hall to see how amazing an experience it is.”
Those who would like to attend all four of the BPO Rock series performances can purchase a compose-your-own ticket package. In addition to the four rock and roll performances, subscribers of the “Ultimate Rock” 6-concert package can also enjoy two shows from the BPO Pops series. On November 19, 2022, the tribute group Arrival from Sweden will present The Music of ABBA, filling Kleinhans with the sounds of their greatest hits from Dancing Queen, Take A Chance on Me, and SOS, to Money Money Money, Waterloo, and more. On March 11, 2023, Pops Goes Totally 80s will feature an evening of 80s favorites performed by the BPO and conducted by Stu Chafetz, Principal Pops Conductor of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, including hits from Phil Collins, Rush, Michael Jackson, George Michael, and Billy Joel, as well as selections from blockbuster ’80s flicks like Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and more.
To learn more about the concerts featured in the BPO Rock Series, to purchase tickets, or to purchase a subscription package, visit www.bpo.org or call the box office at (716) 885-5000.
This content is part of a sponsored series in partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.