‘The Beatles: Abbey Road’ to benefit Youth Orchestra

Special to The Log
The Beatles: Abbey Road album, released in September 1969, features the group outside Abbey Road Studios and has become one of the most famous and imitated images in the history of recorded music.

The Pensacola group White Tie Rock Ensemble will present “The Beatles: Abbey Road” in concert with the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. May 15 in the mainstage theater at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. 

“We are thrilled to present this joint concert featuring the classic music of the Beatles Abbey Road album,” said 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, which were founded in 1998 under the auspices of the college.

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 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 6-7:30 p.m. the night of the event if any tickets remain. Call 850-729-6000 or purchase online at www.MattieKellyArtsCenter.org. All ticket sales include a $2 per ticket Box Office processing fee.

The White Tie Rock Ensemble is comprised of five 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,” said 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.

Youth Orchestra conductor Brown said, “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 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 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.