Artist Q&A: Larry Larson of Art of Time Ensemble
In your own words, what is Art of Time Ensemble?
An amazing collective of artists (musicians, singers, dancers) handpicked by Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, who all come together to bring to life whatever innovative new program Andrew has envisioned for that particular concert. Oftentimes this can be a group of artists who have never met nor worked together in the past, but whom Andrew knows will form the perfect ensemble to present a particular program. It’s absolutely fascinating and invigorating to be a part of this kind of collaboration.
How did you get involved with the group?
In 2010, Andrew was doing a remount of his “Abbey Road Project,” and the original trumpet player in the ensemble was not able to do the dates. Luckily, Andrew had recalled working with me in the past on a symphony show we did together, so I got the call for “Abbey Road” – the first of the Beatles projects that Art of Time mounted.
When the group stops by the Fox Cities you will be performing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. What do you think makes that soundtrack so iconic?
All of the songs individually tell such incredible stories, meld so well together as a whole, and touch so many of us on different levels. I still have my vinyl copy that I got as a kid of 10 or 11, and never tire of listening to this masterpiece! Now at this stage of my life and career to be able to perform this incredible score in such a fresh and genius approach is truly one of the most rewarding projects in which I have ever been involved. It’s a gift to be able to tour this show once again this year! And in my home Midwest territory!
You get to play the iconic Penny Lane trumpet solo as a “bonus track” in the show. How does it feel to play a part that most people can hum along to?
Truly one of the greatest gifts of this show! As you may know, both “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were originally recorded by the Beatles to be a part of “Sgt.Pepper,” but it was later decided by the lads to release them as a Double-A side 45rpm. Andrew’s decision to bookend our concert with these two numbers is brilliant! On a personal note, I had the great fortune to become friends with David Mason, the trumpet player who recorded this iconic tune. I travelled to London twice to hang out with him, and listened to his wonderful stories from his incredible career in London – as one of England’s most recognized orchestral trumpet player, and as Paul McCartney called him, “That high note guy!”
What is your favorite song to play in the show?
Honestly, ALL of these reworked charts are great throughout the album, as each of them has their specific challenges. I’ll give you a Top 3: “Penny Lane,”” Lovely Rita,”” Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
What song usually gets the biggest audience reaction?
I would say “A Day In The Life.” To say this arrangement is brilliant is selling it short, and for it to end the concert always brings the house down. It honestly gets me right here (as he points to his heart!) every time we play it!
Finish this sentence: I can’t travel without my…
Obviously my TRUMPET, but considering that is basically another appendage, I am lost without my brilliant noise-cancelling headphones and a vast array of listening material. I have ridiculously eclectic taste in music, so I must always have a plethora of material for listening, depending on my state of mind at any point during our bus trips!
Finish this sentence: When I visit a new city on tour the first thing I like to do is…
Find out where the best places are for breakfast, lunch, dinner, & craft brews! Eating well on the road is the best way to stay healthy and sane, so it is the priority on the road. As I have not been to Appleton since I was about 10 years old, any great suggestions?!?!?!
Finish this sentence: The one thing people always tell me about Wisconsin is…
How wonderfully friendly the people are! I know that for a fact from my trips to Wisconsin as a kid with my family. A great thing to be proud of, Wisconsin!
What can people expect when they come to the show on October 11?
To be truly blown away by how this iconic soundtrack of our lives can be honored with such innovative and fresh arrangements. Oh, and I have yet to mention how our 4 wonderful singers bring their own spin in their own voices to these great lyrics. These are not 4 imitators, but 4 voices unique to themselves who tell these tales. As I said earlier, this is absolutely one of the most rewarding projects in which I have ever been involved in my career. I can’t wait for us to present this show to you!
Tickets for Art of Time Ensemble Performs Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; Andrew Burashko, Artistic Director; featuring Steve Page, Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), Craig Northey and Andy Maize start at $39 and are on sale now.