The popular Pensacola group White Tie Rock Ensemble will present “The Beatles: Abbey Road” in concert with the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (NFSYO) on Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the mainstage theater at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. Tickets are now on sale.
“We are thrilled to present this joint concert featuring the classic music of the Beatles Abbey Road album,” noted Dr. Jeremy Ribando, chair of the college’s Fine & Performing Arts Division. “In addition to it being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first USA appearance, the college is also in the midst of our own year-long 50th celebration, so the concept fit perfectly all the way around.”
The concert marks the debut of the youth symphony’s new conductor, Brian Brown, and will serve as a fundraiser for the college’s youth orchestra programs. Tickets are on sale now for $20 each through the Box Office, either in-person or by phone or web. As a fundraiser, discounts do not apply. Box Office Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 6:00 to 7:30 pm the night of the event if any tickets remain. Call (850) 729-6000 or purchase online at www.mattiekellyartscenter.org. There is a $2 per ticket Box Office processing fee on all ticket sales at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center.
The Pensacola based White Tie Rock Ensemble is comprised of five talented musicians of guitar, drums, bass, keyboard and vocals whose focus is to help classic album music ‘live again’. ““With the advent of the internet and digital media, the classic album experience has disappeared and the single reigns supreme, but the White Tie Rock Ensemble is working to remedy this situation, one album at a time,” noted the group’s leader Jonathan Clark. “Our classic concert series enable any fan, 8 to 80, to enjoy a timeless art form. At our events, liner notes are read, cover art appreciated and the “B-side” is not forgotten. Long live the side long epic — long live the concept album!”
As the pioneers of the concept album, the Beatles showcased their songwriting and arranging talents on one of the finest albums ever written with Abbey Road. “There is nothing like live music and the reproduction of such memorable melodies as “Something”, “Come Together”, and “Here Comes the Sun” are sure to be nostalgic to the older generation and refreshing to the younger generation,” said Clark. The concept of combining rock album music with traditional classical music groups such as the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra was a brainstorm of Clark’s in 2012. In addition to The Beatles: Abbey Road, the group also performs the music of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Police and more.
“As with any classic piece of music, from a Beethoven Symphony to a Bach Sonata, the listener is able to experience these works of art through their local or regional symphony. The White Tie Rock Ensemble is the classic rock album equivalent,” noted Clark, who is trained as a classical musician and heads the Escambia County Youth Orchestra programs, when not reproducing the classic rock sounds of the 1960’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s throughout northwest Florida and South Alabama.
Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra conductor, Brian Brown, noted, “As my first concert with the NFSYO, I wanted to create a fun and entertaining event that would help raise funds needed for scholarships and program support for our youth symphony programs.”
In addition to leading the NFSYO, Brown is also a principal violist for the professional Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. A dedicated instructor of strings, he also teaches in the Mobile Symphony String Academy and has had a long affiliation with NWF State College’s Fine Arts division as well as those at the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College.
In choosing to present the music of the Beatles at the youth orchestra’s annual spring concert, Brown explained that many critics view Abbey Road as the Beatles’ best and rank it as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album’s cover, which features the group walking across a zebra-striped crossing outside Abbey Road Studios, has become one of the most famous and imitated images in the history of recorded music. Abbey Road remains the Beatles’ best-selling album to date.
Northwest Florida State College sponsors and fully supports a wide variety of youth in the arts endeavors, as well as arts instruction and cultural opportunities specifically designed for youth, including the youth and junior orchestra programs. The Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (NFSYO) was founded under the auspices of the college in 1998 through a grant from the Northwest Florida Symphony Guild and is comprised of talented middle, high school and college age musicians. The NFSYO works in conjunction with the college’s Fine and Performing Arts Division and the professional Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, which performs in residence at the college.
The Mattie Kelly Arts Center is located on the Niceville campus of NWF State College at 100 College Boulevard and is easily accessible via Interstate 10, State Highways 285 and 85, and the Mid- Bay Bridge or new Mid-Bay Connector toll road. Contact the Box Office for information or directions or wee the center’s website at www.MattieKellyArtsCenter.org.