Utah Symphony surrenders to King of pop

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For those who missed “This is It” because Michael Jackson passed before he could finish his last concert, Utah Symphony will be starting something with the combination of classical music and the the king of pop’s hits and dance moves.

"The Music of Michael Jackson" with orchestra
"The Music of Michael Jackson" includes singers, band, and orchestra. Photo courtesy of Windborne.

On July 14 at the Deer Valley Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater Utah Symphony will team up with guest conductor Brent Havens and “The Entertainer” James Delisco to perform “The Music of Michael Jackson” at 7:30 p.m.

Music arranger Brent Havens said he wanted “The Music of Michael Jackson” to inspire typical rock concert attendees to branch out classical music.

He started arranging Led Zeppelin music for orchestra in 1995, and from there proceeded with “The Music of” series, where he combined classic rock hits with classical music.

“Initially the idea was to actually bring in a different audience to view the orchestra,” Havens said. “The audience that would come see a classical concert would be substantially different than those who would come to a rock show.”

“Orchestras can play whatever, whether it’s classical music or movie scores, it was good to have the audience come in and see what the orchestra can do.”

In order to maintain rock music roots, Havens brings in a band and singers to accompany an orchestra.

“We tour with a crew of eleven,” Havens said. “We bring the singers and the band but then we joined the Utah Symphony. We have worked with them before, they are a world-class orchestra.”

Havens said the show will include Michael’s classics such as “Billie Jean,” “Thriller” and “Man in the Mirror,” but it will also attribute to earlier Jackson 5 days with “ABC” and “I Want You Back.”

James Delisco, primary singer and performer, will rock the audience’s world not only with song, but also with Jackson-style dance.

“There are a lot of people who can sing Michael Jackson and can’t dance Michael,” Delisco said. “And a lot who can dance but not song, and I can do both. I feel like it’s been a gift that has been given to me to do both, … it’s a thing I can do to keep the legacy alive and I’m on it.”

Delisco said he saw Michael Jackson live when he was young, and it inspired him to pursue a career in musical performance.

“I was invited as a surprise to see his show when I was twelve,” Delisco said. “It changed my life, I told myself in my mind that this is something I want to do. So, here I am.”

Delisco said he looks forward to performing “Billie Jean,” “Ben” and “Beat It,” as well as the audience’s reaction to the performance.

“People don’t know what to expect when they go in,” Delisco said. “They expect just an orchestra, then I come in dancing … They are all relaxed in their seats but by the end they are up and dancing.”

Delisco said “The Music of Michael Jackson” show provides a great substitution in the absence of the king of pop.

“Some people also say that they never got a chance to see Michael live, and this is as close as they get to see them live,” Delisco said.

To secure tickets call (801) 533-6683 or purchase them online at Utah Symphony’s website here.

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