Symphony Nova Scotia bringing Abbey Road to life

By Jordan Parker

Audience members can expect to come together during Symphony Nova Scotia’s Beatles tribute this weekend.

The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium will play host to “The Music Of The Beatles: Abbey Road”, a soulful adaptation of the coveted band’s 1969 album.

Conductor Greg Burton can’t wait to show attendees what the performers have in store over their three performances.

“I’m really excited. Anytime you’re playing the music of The Beatles, you’re going to have a fun show,” he said.

They’re partnering with London, Ont.-based Jeans ‘n Classics – The group of rock musicians pair with symphonies to create incredible shows, and have been around for two decades.

“They’ve done this so many times, and we’ve paired with them for the music of The Eagles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and now The Beatles,” he said.

He says the band’s music is perfect for a show like this because their producer George Martin was huge on orchestra work.

“He was instrumental – pardon the pun – in adding lots of different sounds and orchestral sounds to their albums. It’s a natural fit for Symphony Nova Scotia to do this and collaborate for this,” he said.

There will be three shows on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, and Burton has been happy with ticket sales so far.

“People have been really supportive of Symphony Nova Scotia through the pandemic, and now they are excited to come to this too. Things are all sold out, and people are so excited for this,” he said.

Abbey Road will be played in its entirety, something Burton says will be a really special occasion.

“Folks will be able to hear Abbey Road from first-note to last-note during a performance, which will be really special,” he said.

“We can’t wait to be at the Rebecca Cohn as well. It’s a premiere place to play here, and they recently completed renovations to improve the sound. The staff is great and they know us so well. It’s a treat to put this together there.”

Though it’s a huge undertaking, the whole symphony is ready to give a show-stopping set of performances over the weekend.

“The really surprising thing for people is when you’re a musician of this calibre, you can put things together quickly,” he said. “Jeans N’ Classics fly in, we’ll rehearse, and then play Friday night. It’s a lot of work to put it together, and it will be a super fun, efficient show.”

Having things of this magnitude after two years of isolation, restrictions, and difficulties for the performing arts is fantastic for folks like Burton and Symphony Nova Scotia.

“Artists and performing artists were hardest hit by the pandemic. Now that we can come and play for a live audience, we’re so excited. The community and government supported us through the pandemic,” he said.

“Now the last few shows – The Nutcracker and Rankin Family Christmas – have all been sold out. People are starved to hear live music, and this area is lucky to have Symphony Nova Scotia.”

He can’t wait for people to hear all the amazing things these Abbey Road concerts have in store, and promises performances of songs people will know by heart.

“The Beatles are responsible for so many incredible songs, and it’s impossible to play them all. But we’re playing fantastic ones in addition to Abbey Road,” he said. “It’s just going to be a really great time. The music of the Beatles is so universal.”

While they’re a revered band, Burton reveals one demographic that isn’t as familiar with their work as you’d think.

“I cross paths with many under 30 who don’t know a lot of the Beatles. I’m definitely hoping for some young folks in the crowd who’ll fall in love with this music,” he said.

Find more information on the concerts here.

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