Former Electric Light Orchestra members plan show

Former Electric Light Orchestra members plan show

Former Electric Light Orchestra members plan show

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Photo courtesy of RUTH ECKERD HALL
The Orchestra performs the symphonic rock sound of Electric Light Orchestra hits Jan. 14 at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

CLEARWATER – Forging ahead to a future utilizing the spectacular symphonic rock sound for which they are unequalled, The Orchestra – featuring former members of Electric Light Orchestra – will join with Florida Rock Symphony to perform Saturday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.

The Orchestra stars former members of Electric Light Orchestra and Electric Light Orchestra Part 2.

Tickets start at $48.75. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.r­uthec­kerdh­all.c­om. Ambrosia also will perform.

According to a biographical sketch provided by World Entertainment Associates of America Inc., Electric Light Orchestra got its back in 1970 when three members of the Birmingham, England, band The Move decided to found their own band as a side project. Envisioning a hybrid rock/orchestral group with a sound that picked up where The Beatles had left off on songs like “I Am The Walrus,” ELO’s roster would change many times over the coming years, with no fewer than 18 members contributing to the band’s sound during its various incarnations.

ELO’s enjoyed an impressive run of success through the 1970s and into the 1980s, scoring many gold and platinum albums. The band charted Top 10 hits such as “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” and “Telephone Line” and went on the road with the groundbreaking Spaceship Tour.

ELO secured its place as one of the most important bands in the history of rock. At the peak of ELO’s success, future ELO Part II members Bev Bevan, Mik Kaminski, Kelly Groucutt and Lou Clark lived the life of rock royalty.

In the late 1980s Bevan, Groucutt, Kaminski and Clark reconvened the group as ELO Part II. Eric Troyer, a session and touring musician from New York City, was brought in on keyboards and vocals. The position of guitarist/singer eventually settled into the capable hands of British recording artist Phil Bates. Performing as a six-man symphonic rock band, ELO Part II wowed audiences around the world with their stellar musicianship and joyous stage personas. The band created even more excitement when it teamed with award-winning symphony orchestras in cities and at festivals all over the world.

At the end of the 20th century, the band made two personnel changes. In 1998 Los Angeles guitarist Parthenon Huxley replaced Phil Bates; and in 2000 ELO’s only drummer for 30 years, Bev Bevan, announced his retirement. Bevan’s spot was immediately handed over to Philadelphia drummer Gordon Townsend. With Bevan no longer in the band, the remaining members continued on as The Orchestra.

Under their new name since 2000, The Orchestra has played to sold-out houses ever since. The lineup of Kaminski, Clark, Groucutt, Troyer, Huxley and Townsend became a rock solid touring unit, thrilling crowds everywhere they played. With Lou Clark conducting, The Orchestra continued to team with top symphonies on multiple continents, creating a musical spectacle unmatched in classic rock.

In 2009, The Orchestra lost longtime member Kelly Groucutt when he died suddenly upon returning home from a show in Berlin. With touring commitments ahead of them, The Orchestra were fortunate to land past ELO Part II touring member and music veteran Glen Burtnik as a permanent replacement.

The Orchestra will take to the stage to perform some of ELO’s biggest hit songs such as “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Do Ya,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Telephone Line.”

Exploring progressive, classical and world influences rooted with soul, blues and R&B, Joseph Puerta, Christopher North, David Pack and Burleigh Drummond in 1970 created a new sound that was recognized as Ambrosia.

The group earned the respect of the musical community as they covered a gamut of musical styles and collaborated with such cultural icons as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Alan Parsons. Ambrosia garnered five Grammy nominations and heavy FM air play with hits like “Holdin’ On To Yesterday,” “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” “You’re The Only Woman,” “Biggest Part Of Me” and “How Much I Feel.”

Today, the band is more alive and compelling than ever with three of the original members, the addition of guitar ace Doug Jackson and vocalist and keyboardist Mary Harris, plus the powerful and contemporary lead vocals and acoustic guitar of Ken Stacey. Ambrosia is exploring new musical territory and continuing to wow life-long fans and new converts alike.

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