On Sunday, former Yes frontman
The program, emceed by KSBY daytime anchor
"I've always thought it'd be wonderful to sing with the orchestra," Anderson said, praising the
Anderson who formed the progressive rock band Yes with bassist
"You just wondered 'How do people create that kind of music?' " the Englishman recalled.
Years later, Anderson decided to incorporate some of the symphonic sounds he'd heard on the radio into modern rock 'n' roll. Yes's second album, 1970's "Time and a Word," was its first to feature a live studio orchestra.
The 1993 album "Symphonic Music of Yes," featuring orchestral versions of Yes songs arranged by
"That was the joy of working with Yes. They're very talented musicians (so their music) translates very well to orchestra," said Anderson, who parted ways with the band in 2008.
San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Director
However, Nowak added, Anderson's busy schedule prevented him from teaming up with the symphony until now -- as did a shortage of musical scores of Anderson's songs arranged for orchestra.
Fortunately, Nowak, who currently conducts the orchestra for
"The thing that I find startlingly good is how complicated this music really is. It's not two or three chords" like many rock songs, Nowak said.
"(Anderson) has a vast knowledge of classical music. It's almost like he understands it from the composer's brain," he added, explaining that Anderson's gift is particularly impressive considering the fact that he doesn't read music. "How he can do a three-hour concert from memory ... it's completely amazing."
Swearingen, Anderson's duet partner for the Pops concert, said she's enjoyed the opportunity to delve into his music, including lesser-known tunes such as "Prayer Song" and "State of Independence."
"I'm just being inspired by the freedom in his writing," she said, as well as its rhythmic nature. "I think I gravitate toward that as a musician naturally."
Swearingen compared the sensation of performing with a symphony orchestra to singing with a big band.
"It's a similar feeling of 'Wow, this is so big,'" she said. "So many people come together to make this music happen that you kind of get on a wave and ride it. ... The times I've gotten to do that have been deeply satisfying."
Swearingen said she, her sister
In addition, the symphony will perform a few numbers solo, including
"The exciting thing for me is when you bring outstanding talents together and see what comes from that," Nowak said. "It's really been a dream for me to have this happen."
If you go
Pops by the Sea
543-3533 or www.slosymphony.org
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