Taking in the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday night was somewhat of a last minute thing. Only finding out about the show a few days earlier I purchased tickets late in the week now knowing exactly what to expect. I’m like a lot of people in that I’ve loved the music of the Beatles for years and I’ve memorized the words of most of those songs. I’ve also been known to shamelessly sing along to them as well.
A packed hall Saturday night at the FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) was both a musical blast with a fantastic orchestra and also a rocking band.
The variety in the styles of music from The Beatles lends it to the mixture of music on the stage. Some of the songs feature fully orchestrated pieces which have as much feeling as some of the greatest symphonies, while other songs are more akin to rock and roll jams. Both of these wildly different genres were put on full display as we moved back and forth between them.
The orchestra was conducted by the seasoned and accomplished composer/arranger, and Hamilton native, Darcey Hepner. The respected educator has worked with such legendary figures as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Henry mancini, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, and David Johansen. The Hepner even busted out a recorder solo during one of the pieces. Singing duties were split between a group of talented vocalists, including Jamie Oakes, Ian Thomas, Steve Strongman, and Jeremy Wright, who gave an uncanny performance that channeled The Beatles.
Hamilton’s own Terra Lightfoot was also on hand and performed in the show as well.
I don’t get out to live music often but this show was a lot of fun. Fantastic music and genres that this old soul can really appreciate.