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Event Review

Art of Time Ensemble’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band w/The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra – Sony Centre, Toronto – January 21, 2016



By Vanessa Markov

“Imagine yourself lying on your parents white shag carpet, gazing at the iconic record cover as the needle drops…”

Cue the Art of Time Ensemble’s rendition of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band live at Sony Centre, and collectively performed by renowned pianist and artistic director, Andrew Burashko, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, and four Canadian indie rock vocalists including Steven Page (formerly of the Barenaked Ladies).

The show opened with a delicate rendition of “Strawberry Fields” (sung solo by Craig Northey of 90s Alternative band The Odds) which immediately set the tone for the rest of the show – soft, sweet, and wistful.

Page then appeared with the rest of the singing ensemble and guided the audience to recall memories of hearing Sgt. Pepper front to back. While the orchestra beautiful captured the intricacies of each song, the performance was more of a dreamy, classical execution of the album than an accurate replication. This was particularly evident in “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, where the high energy chorus was replaced with lullaby harmonies that completely changed the feel of the song.

Such a performance is ideal for those who appreciate orchestra as much as The Beatles, and who are more inclined to softer tones and slower tempos that allow one to close their eyes and take in the beautifully intricate compositions of the most iconic innovators in music history.