A classical twist on the music of Michael Jackson — some would say you just can’t “beat it.” That’s especially true when you’re sitting slope-side at Deer Valley under a blanket of stars.
In kicking off its ninth annual Deer Valley Music Festival, the Utah Symphony will tackle Michael Jackson’s 40-year span of mega-hits, ranging from The Jackson 5’s “ABC” to “We are the World” during “The Music of Michael Jackson,” July 14 at 7:30 p.m.
No stranger to the symphony is guest conductor Brent Havens, who has arranged and conducted Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Queen tribute concerts for the festival in past years.
Also enlisted is vocalist James Delisco, a Broadway alum who is best recognized for his big win on the E! network’s series “The Entertainer.”
“This is not an impersonation,” says Havens. “But,” he adds, “that’s not to say James won't toss in a moonwalk.”
Havens describes the evening’s concert as much more pop than classical. “It has the synchronized light show and rock concert atmosphere. With the orchestra are a band, Delisco and backup singers.”
Of the music itself, Havens says it was fairly easy to add a full orchestra. “Michael Jackson’s music is so rich. Many of the songs we chose already had great instrumentalism like brass ballads or strings,” he says. “Instead of trying to re-create it or do my own version, I used the orchestra as a counterpoint and to add shade and color.”
In other words, the music isn’t Muzak.
“It is a time for us to celebrate and give tribute to the 40 years of music that Michael has given us. Delisco himself is an impassioned fan whose life’s work is inspired by the 'King of Pop.'"
If you go ...
What: "The Music of Michael Jackson," Utah Symphony
When: July 14, 7:30 p.m., Deer Valley Resort, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City
Cost: $15 for students, $32 for lawn, $60-$85 for reserved, $90 for family up to two adults and four children under age 18
More information: 801-533-6683 or www.usuo.org