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OKC Philharmonic Presents ‘Music of Queen’

By: M.A. Smith

For years, artists have claimed imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Now, 1980s rock sensation Queen has been immortalized in an upcoming musical rendition of the group’s popular music.

OKC Philharmonic will present Windborne Music’s “The Music of Queen: A Rock Symphony” at 8 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22 at Civic Center Music Hall’s Thelma E. Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre in Oklahoma City.

But this isn’t your everyday classical music performance. Conducted and composed by Cincinnati native Brent Havens, the show is a merging of classical and rock n’ roll.

“The Music of Queen” features a full orchestra and is complemented by a rock band. Las Vegas vocalist Brody Dolyniuk leads the group as the voice of Queen’s original lead singer Freddie Mercury.

“When he came out to audition for the show, we knew immediately that he had something special. He not only knew the music, but he had clearly listened to every aspect of [Mercury’s] performances,” Havens said.

“His inflections were spot-on, and even the wailing rock sound had that [Mercury] resonance. Clearly, there will never be another Mercury,” Havens said. “Close your eyes … and you’re going to get something very close.”

The show also features an all-star cast, including Daniel Clemens, bass and vocals; Powell Randolph, drums and vocals; George Cintron, guitar and vocals; and Bart Kueblerd, keyboard and vocals.

Windborne’s show also uses special lighting affects to simulate the feeling of attending a rock concert.

The group has successfully recreated the music of other genres and artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Led Zeppelin.

“We’ve successfully merged four different groups with the orchestra, and it seemed to me the next logical step in selecting a group was Queen. As always, we wanted to keep the foundation of the music as close to the originals as we could and then add additional colors to enhance what Queen had done,” Havens said. “The wonderful thing with an orchestra is that you have an entire palette of sounds to call upon.”
The trick, Havens said, is taking Queen’s original style and personality and recreating it in a classical environment.

“The band is reproducing what Queen did live, as closely as possible within the constraints of personnel. And then having an orchestra behind the band gives the music richness, a whole new feel, a whole different sense of color but still [preserves] the wonderful music that they originally produced” Havens said.
Windborne’s show also serves as an educational tool that helps draw rock fans to classical music and the symphony.

“As with our other shows, I’m sure there are people who are going to come out who have never seen their city’s symphony orchestra, and this allows them to experience something new along with the music that they already love,” Havens said.

Trained at the Berklee College of Music, Havens has composed music for various orchestras and television stations, including ABC, CBS and The Family Channel.
He also composed the music for Harley Davidson’s 100th Anniversary Birthday Party Finale.

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