MIAMI BEACH – The New World Symphony Orchestra paid tribute to the Beatles on Wednesday with a concert on a Miami Beach terrace, imitating the last concert of the Fab Four’s career, performed on a London rooftop 50 years ago on Jan. 30, 1969.
Just as the Beatles performed for the last time in public on top of their recording studio building in London, the orchestra did the same from an iconic car park, the work of the renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
The usual hustle and bustle of Lincoln Road, the Miami Beach pedestrian street that throngs of tourists pass through each day, stopped for about an hour.
It was a “magical experience” in which people who did not know each other shared “something that goes beyond them,” Timothy Schmand, company director and concert promoter, told EFE.
On Jan. 30, 1969 the Britons John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr sang five songs in an improvised concert on a rooftop on Savile Row, a street in the London suburb of Mayfair.
Fifty years later 10 young people from the string section of the New World Symphony Orchestra, based in Miami Beach, performed a dozen songs such as “Hey Jude,” “Let it be,” “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Yellow Submarine.”
On the street below, there were children who let themselves be carried away by the music, strollers whistling the catchy songs and people who sang the lyrics of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Orchestra member Chloe Tula told EFE she could feel the “electricity” in the audience and the young orchestra members were “excited” to perform songs that were composed perhaps when not even their parents had been born.
Schmand said that the concert was pulled together in 30 days to pay tribute to a band that, despite being united for only eight years, “changed how we saw music since then.”
The company director shares the Beatles generation with Jill Bloom, aged 66, a neighbor who enjoyed both the songs and the symphony from her chair.
“We still listen to the Beatles at home and we miss them,” so being able to listen to classical versions of their songs was “totally charming,” said Bloom.
Schmand highlighted the connection between the group and Miami Beach, which dates back to 1964 when the British band performed at the historic Hotel Deauville, South Beach, for the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
At that time the young Englishmen took the opportunity to swim at the local beaches and go to a gym in which they “sparred” with a young 22-year-old boxer named Cassius Clay before he became the legendary Muhammad Ali.
Another follower of the Beatles is Edgar Ordonez, a young man who sat on his skateboard to listen and was excited to hear the New World Symphony Orchestra play “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a song he grew up with.
The first Beatles album Ordonez owned was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” which, in his opinion, is “incredible from the first to the last second.”
“It’s great that they do this concert on the rooftop” just like in London, said the young Miami boy wearing a T-shirt bearing the name of the Beatles.