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The Music of the Beatles Returns to the Bluff

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's first appearance on American television, Mike Tomaro and the Duquesne University Jazz Ensemble will present The Music of the Beatles on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Power Center Ballroom.

After last year's sold-out performance of The Music of the Beatles, Jazz Ensemble Director Tomaro decided to bring it back and move it to a larger venue that can seat 500. This year's concert will feature Mary Pappert School of Music faculty and students as vocalists as well as audience sing-alongs.

The concert will cover all "eras" of the Beatles, and, according to Tomaro, will include two approaches to their music. "The first involves exact transcriptions of all the existing music from the recordings: vocals, guitar, bass, drums, piano, strings, horns; anything that was played on the original arrangement," Tomaro explained. "I do this myself; it's a painstaking process, but very personally satisfying to me, as I hold this music very dear. Then, since the group is a large jazz ensemble, I fill in the rest of the arrangement with music that I feel fits the style of the song." 

The second approach is a more jazz-oriented one where Tomaro said he takes the basic parts of the Beatles' songs and freely twists and turns its elements to fit his jazz sensibilities. "Both approaches are equally satisfying to me," said Tomaro.

When asked if the Beatles music is still relevant today, Tomaro said yes, adding that it will be relevant for years to come. "The reason is simply that it is great music that is interesting to listen to-the variety of music the Beatles created in a 10-year period is astounding, from orchestral music to traditional rock and roll to musique concrete to progressive rock," said Tomaro. "They ran the gamut."

Tomaro, who was just six years old when the Beatles made their U.S. television debut, agreed that each new generation embraces the Beatles. "I think it begins as a curiosity then, as a young person delves more deeply into the Beatles' catalogue, they realize this is no ordinary rock and roll band," said Tomaro, who references the Beatles in all of his classes. "At that point, they're hooked for life. I don't know any people who say, 'Yes, I listened to the Beatles for a while, but then I grew tired of the music.'"

A donation of $10 is suggested for admission to The Music of the Beatles. For more information, call 412.396.6083.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.