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Coeur d’Alene student quartet to join Beatles tribute band onstage

Beatles fans who attend “In My Life: A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” are in for a treat, as not one but two quartets will be on hand to entertain the audience.

Four students from Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy will perform with Beatles tribute band Abbey Road when the show comes to the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Friday.

“In My Life” often features a local ensemble onstage during the show.

Producers reached out to Michael Harrison, Charter’s director of instrumental music, and he chose seniors Louisa Bresee, Kayliani Powlison and Marie Zaragoza and sophomore Sydney Merrifield, who all perform in the school’s chamber orchestra and an octet called Rosinance, to perform.

Bresee, 16, has played the violin for six years and also plays the viola. She is the concertmaster of the school’s chamber orchestra.

She was introduced to the Beatles by her mom and said “Eleanor Rigby” is her favorite Beatles song.

Fifteen-year-old Merrifield credits her dad for introducing her to the Beatles and remembers listening to the band on road trips.

She has played the cello for almost five years and also calls “Eleanor Rigby” her favorite Beatles song.

Powlison, 18, played the violin for eight years before recently making the switch to viola. Her favorite Beatles tune is “Hey Jude.”

Zaragoza, 17, began playing the violin at age 6. She was first exposed to the Beatles by her elementary school music teacher, who would put one of the band’s songs in every concert, including the Christmas shows.

Her favorite Beatles song is “Yellow Submarine.”

The musicians commonly perform at weddings, art galleries and other community events as a quartet and part of Rosinance. They performed with the Piano Guys at Spokane Arena in October and will perform with violinist/dancer Lindsey Stirling at INB Performing Arts Center in December.

The quartet found out about the “In My Life” performance over the summer and having been looking forward to the show ever since.

“We’ve never gotten a show that highlights us,” Powlison said. “We’re always a two-minute section, but this is a big deal because we get to be a bigger part of the show. It’s not our show, of course, but we get to showcase our talents for this production.”

“In My Life” tells the story of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein (Murphy Martin), including the band’s performances at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and Shea Stadium, on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and on the roof of the Apple Corp offices.

Renowned tribute band Abbey Road – Nathaniel Bott (John Lennon), Axel Clarke (Ringo Starr), Chris Paul Overall (Paul McCartney) and Zak Schaffer (George Harrison) – performs as the Beatles.

Like in any good tribute show, the musicians wear period costumes and play vintage instruments.

The Chamber Academy quartet will join the band on “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye” and “Hey Jude.”

The quartet has rehearsed by playing along with song recordings and practicing together during school.

“Being a first violin, you get the joke that we always have the melody,” Zaragoza said. “With this we’re not the melody, so learning how to support another character while still making your part beautiful is a learning curve that you have to go through.”

The quartet will rehearse with Abbey Road on Friday afternoon, then it’s showtime.

Powlison sees this performance as a chance to communicate the band’s era with a new generation, the same way they do with pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

Though the quartet wasn’t alive during the Beatles’ prime, they understand the impact the band had on the world.

“It isn’t ours but because music can transcend decades and generations, people still like it today even if you weren’t born in the heyday.”


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