Local high school string quartet to join touring Beatles musical

When the touring show “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” returns to the Tower Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 16, be on the lookout for two quartets — not just one.

The Bend Senior High School String Quartet has the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

Here’s the rundown:

The show: “In My Life” is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and featuring the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Zak Schaffer (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the Orange County Register at one point declaring, “If you see one tribute show, see this one –smart and loads of fun.” The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. The production played to a sold out audience at the Tower Theatre in 2014. Abbey Road’s “Beatles vs. Stones” show performed before a sold out audience at Tower last year.

The string quartet: Bend Senior High (BSH) senior Isabella McIlvenna, junior Abbigail Kolcun and sophomores Molleigh Weaver and Julian Simmons will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

Members belong to the Bend High Chamber Orchestra, which earned “Silver” second place in the National Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, California in June. They competed against student musicians from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Florida. The students also perform with prestigious area ensembles, including the Central Oregon Youth Orchestra, All State Honors Orchestras and All-District Honors Orchestras and consistently earn superior ratings at solo and ensemble festivals.

How the “Beatles” connection was started: The producers of “In My Life” approached BSH Orchestra Director Brenda Simmons looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.

The quartet’s Beatles fans: All quartet members are Beatles fans.
Kolcun’s favorite Beatles song is “Hey Jude” and Weaver’s is “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Simmons’ preferred Beatles song is “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

McIlvenna doesn’t have a favorite Fab Four tune. “They are all very special to me,” she said.

The details: In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is the award-winning musical biography of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. The smash hit production returns to the Tower Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 – $55 and may be purchased online at www.towertheatre.org, by phone at 541-317-0700 or at the Theatre Box Office, which is open Monday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm. The Tower Theatre is located at 835 NW Wall Street in Bend. The show is appropriate for all ages.

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