Local high school string quartet to join touring Beatles vs. Stones show on Lawrence stage

by | Sep 12, 2019 | Arts and Entertainment

LAWRENCE, KS (09/12/19) When the touring show Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown comes to the Lied Center of Kansas on Wednesday, October 16, the Lawrence Free High School String Quartet will join the professional musicians on stage to lend some local talent to this homage to the British Invasion.

The show pits Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction against rival Brit boys Abbey Road in an all-out musical showdown for rock dominance. The string quartet will perform seven songs with the bands.


The show:  The two greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time face off in Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown. Taking the side of the Fab Four is Abbey Road, one of the nation’s top Beatles tribute bands. With brilliant musicianship and authentic costumes and gear, Abbey Road plays beloved songs spanning the Beatles’ career. They engage in a “showdown” of the hits with Stones tribute band Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show, who offer a faithful rendition of the music and style of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the bad boys of the British Invasion. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the Los Angeles Times at one point declaring: “this is the most unique tribute show in decades.” The Lawrence show is part of a 125 city tour of the U.S., Canada and Australia.


The string quartet:  Free High School seniors Julia Lin, Micah Steele, Alli Pittman and junior Alex Chavez will join the bands for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Hey Jude,” “As Tears Go By,” and “Ruby Tuesday.”


Quartet members belong to prestigious area ensembles, including the Kansas City Youth Symphony and Lawrence Community Orchestra. Members have competed in local solo and ensemble festivals, including Kansas Music Educators Association Festival, where they have received superior ratings.


How the “Beatles” and “Stones” connection was started: The producers of Beatles vs. Stones approached FHS Director of Orchestras Judy Erpelding looking for a quartet who could hold its own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly hires a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.


The quartet’s Beatles or Stones fans: Micah Steele, Alli Pittman and Alex Chavez are the quartet’s Beatles fans. All three agree that ‘Blackbird’ is their favorite Fab Four tune.


‘I like the Beatles and my dad listens to them sometimes. I also love ‘Here Comes the Sun’,” Micah said.


The details: Two of the greatest bands of all time face off in a high-energy, adrenaline-pumping musical showdown. The Fab Four, represented by tribute band Abbey Road, will engage in a barrage of hits against premier Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction.  Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown performs at the Lied Center of Kansas on Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 – $65, plus ticket fees, and may be purchased by phone at 785.864.2787, at the Theatre Box Office or online at www.lied.ku.edu. The Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. The Lied Center is located at 1600 Stewart Drive in Lawrence, KS 66045-7502. The show is appropriate for all ages.


Free High School String Quartet:

Micah Steele, 17, has been playing violin for twelve years. She is a member of the Lawrence Community Orchestra. Micah has competed in Kansas Music Educators Association Solo and Ensemble Festivals at regional and state levels.

“I like orchestra because of the community of people all working together to create something we care about.”

Micah plays with Free High’s Tennis team and enjoys doing anything outdoors.

The senior plans to attend Kansas University and participate in their Honors program.


Julia Lin, 16, has been playing violin for nine years. She has competed in local solo and ensemble festivals, receiving superior ratings.

“I really like music, so playing violin gives me a nice way to express myself.”

Julia plays with Free High’s Tennis team. She is also is a member of the school’s Science Olympiad, Chemistry club, Math team, Asian Culture Club, Key Club, Music Club, Latin Club and Explorations of Science Club.

The junior plans to attend college with the goal of becoming a surgeon.


Alli Pittman, 18, has been playing viola for four years. She had previously played violin for two years before learning viola.

“I really like being a part of a community and orchestra gives me that.”

Alli also enjoys playing the piano.

The senior plans to attend KU’s School of Music and obtain a degree in Music Education.


Alex Chavez, 17, has been playing cello for six years. He is a member of the Kansas City Youth Symphony. Alex has competed in local solo and ensemble festivals, receiving superior ratings.

“Orchestra is a great way to meet people and get to play with a variety of people.”

Alex is “all in” when it comes to music. He enjoys giving lessons to children.

The senior plans to attend college and major in Music Performance or Music Education.


 Judy Erpelding:

This is Mrs. Erpelding’s eighth year as Director of Orchestras at Free State High School. In her time at Free State, Mrs. Erpelding has led both Symphonic and Philharmonic Orchestras at the KSHSAA State Large Group Festival, earning I superior ratings every year since coming to Free State. Each year she takes a record number of orchestra students to compete at the Regional and State Solo and Small ensemble contest with many ensembles receiving perfect scores at this festival. Last year, Free State Freshman and Concert Orchestras earned the first and second place awards at the Worlds of Fun Festival of Music, competing against other high school orchestra programs in both Kansas and Missouri.


Mrs Erpelding has also traveled with her orchestras to perform in Chicago at the Field Museum of Natural History, in New Orleans at the National World War II Museum, and Los Angeles, at Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland for a soundtrack session.


In 2016, Mrs. Erpelding was honored to be named the Kansas Music Educators Association Young Teacher of the Year. This year, Free State High School was named the 2019 KSHSAA Performing Arts School of the year, a distinguishing award placing it as the top performing arts high school in Kansas over more than 300 other high schools in the state. This award is given each year to a school that excels above all others in the areas of music, theatre, speech, and debate.


Currently, Mrs. Erpelding is the Chairperson for the KMEA All-State Orchestra, and the past two years has been the Assistant Chair for the Kansas All State Orchestra.



Quartet photos taken by Judy Erpelding, Beatles vs Stones photos taken by Michelle Fairless


Additional information about “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown”:

Alternating mini power sets with the two bands coming together on stage for an amazing encore makes this show a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The nationally touring show recently concluded a three month residency at the Harrah’s Reno showroom and a two month residency at the Harrah’s Laughlin showroom. The Lawrence show is part of a 125 city tour of the U.S., Australia and Canada and has been touring since 2011.

The Abbey Road band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Zak Schaffer (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Satisfaction is comprised of Chris Legrand (“Mick”), Trey Garitty (“Keith Richards”), Dom Lanzo (“Ronnie Wood”), John Wade (“Bill Wyman”) and Ron Nelson (“Charlie Watts”).

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