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NM Phil goes to ‘dark side’ with Pink Floyd catalog

The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform the music of Pink Floyd at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform the music of Pink Floyd at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, Oct. 26.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Philharmonic will wrap a 50-piece orchestra around the roar of Pink Floyd on Saturday, Oct. 26.

“The Music of Pink Floyd” will present this hybrid of symphonic shredding at Popejoy Hall.

The musicians will perform “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall,” “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “Wish You Were Here” with a six-piece band at Popejoy Hall.

Arranger Brent Havens has been producing similar shows across the country for 24 years. The programs incorporate the music of everyone from Queen, Led Zeppelin, U2, David Bowie and Whitney Houston to Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones with full orchestration.

It all started in Virginia in 1995. A local orchestra asked Havens to arrange Led Zeppelin songs for symphony. He showed them charts for both the orchestra and a rock band.

At the time, Havens was a film score writer.

“Their thought was doing it only with the orchestra,” he said in a telephone interview from Virginia Beach. “Most orchestras were afraid early on. They said, ‘Our audience won’t like it.’ The whole point was to bring in a whole new audience. It sort of exploded after that.”

The concert sold out in one day. Then an Atlanta show sold out more than 4,000 tickets and a series was born.

Pink Floyd was next.

The Albuquerque show will add a six-piece band, including lead singer Randy Jackson, of the 1980s band Zebra, to the orchestra, with Martin Herman conducting.

The audience will hear the hits as well as lesser-known gems from the group’s catalog.

“They can expect to hear the music they know,” Havens said. “Then imagine a 50-piece orchestra playing along. They’ll be able to start singing and dancing along.”

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