Hoover Quartet to Join Touring Beatles Musical
Hoover High School students Morgan Meyer, Hannah Prideaux, Heath Neal and Joseph Lynch have been asked to play on stage with the traveling Beatles musical, “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” for their performance at the Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts on May 25.
The Hoover Orchestra is 80 members strong with students from grades 8-12. The program has an alternative strings course with four electric quintets that perform various genres of music from pop, to hip hop, to jazz. The students play their acoustic instruments and dance to the music while they play.
Read on to learn how these four students were chosen, and how you can get tickets to the performance.
FAIRFIELD, Ia — When the touring show “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts on May 25, be on the lookout for two quartets — not just one.
The Hoover High School (Des Moines) String Quartet has the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.
Here’s the rundown:
The show: “In My Life” is the award winning, smash hit musical biography of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, and features the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Zak Schaffer (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the L.A. Times at one point declaring, “The show delivers where it counts, which is to say, the hits keep coming.” The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades.
The string quartet: Hoover High students Morgan Meyer, Hannah Prideaux, Heath Neal and Joseph Lynch will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.
In addition to performing with the Hoover High Orchestra, all quartet members belong to a school electric string quintet called “String Fusion.” Quartet players have consistently received ratings of “Excellent” and “Outstanding” at Iowa High School Music Association competitions. All four musicians performed with the Christian Youth Orchestra.
Hoover High’s other music achievements: The Hoover Orchestra is 80 members strong with students from grades 8-12. The program has an alternative strings course with four electric quintets that perform various genres of music from pop, to hip hop, to jazz. The students play their acoustic instruments and dance to the music while they play.
Quintet for hire: The String Fusion quintet perform community events and may be hired by contacting Lisa Fried at 515-242-7262, 515-314-6971 or email@example.com.
How the “Beatles” connection was started: The producers of “In My Life” approached HHHS Orchestra Director Lisa Fried looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.
The quartet’s Beatles fans: All quartet members are long time Beatles fans.
“I remember being about six years old and driving to my grandmother’s house in the country and listening to Beatles songs with my family,” said Prideaux.
“My aunt used to play Beatles albums when I was little,” said Lynch. “My favorite is ‘Eleanor Rigby.'”
Meyer’s favorite Beatles song is “With A Little Help From My Friends.”
Neal’s preferred Fab Four tunes are “Yellow Submarine” and “Strawberry Fields.”
The details: In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to The Beatles” is the award-winning musical biography of The Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. The multi-media musical comes to the Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 – $36. Youth and student tickets are $15 and must be purchased at the box office. Tickets may be purchased online at www.fairfieldacc.com, by phone to (641) 472-ARTS (2787) or at the box office. The Stephen Sondheim Center is located at 200 North Main St. Fairfield, Iowa 52556. The show is appropriate for all ages.
Members of the Hoover High School String Quartet:
Morgan Meyer, 17, fell in love with the violin as a small child by listening to her great uncle play bluegrass violin. The HHS Orchestra’s first violinist has been playing the instrument for eight years. Meyer is also the president of the orchestra and performs with String Fusion. The quintet performs community events and dance as they play. Meyer was a member of the Christian Youth Orchestra.
“You have the ability to play so many different styles of music with the violin and I love the ranges,” Meyer said.
Meyer has received ratings of “Excellent” and “Outstanding” at Iowa High School Music Association competitions.
She has run cross country for three years at HHS and is on a student advisory board for Quester, which collects input on what young people would like to see in the future regarding technology, social media and mobile apps. The junior aspires to attend a four year university and medical school.
Meyer is a Beatles fan and her favorite Fab Four tune is “With A Little Help From My Friends.”
Hannah Prideaux, 16, has been playing the violin for eight years. She played with the Christian Youth Orchestra and has received “Outstanding” ratings at Iowa State Music competitions. She is a member of String Fusion.
“The violin can play so many different types of songs and so many ways to express yourself,” said the junior.
Prideaux is a life time Beatles fan and her favorite tune is “Here Comes the Sun.”
“I remember being about six years old and driving to my grandmother’s house in the country and listening to Beatles songs with my family,” she said.
Heath Neal, 17, has been playing the viola for eight years. He played with the Christian Youth Orchestra and was rated “Outstanding” in the state solo and ensemble competition last year. He plays with String Fusion.
“Our orchestra is large but I enjoy playing the viola because the viola section is small and we develop closer relationships,” said Neal.
Neal enjoys photography and holds a black belt in the marital arts discipline of Taekwondo.
The junior is a Beatles fan and his favorite Fab Four tunes are “Yellow Submarine” and “Strawberry Fields.”
Joseph Lynch, 18, has been playing the cello for nine years. He plays with String Fusion and performed with the Christian Youth Orchestra.
“I wanted to play the bass but I was too small when I started,” said Lynch.
“Playing in the orchestra is just fun,” he said. “We all work hard together to create good songs.”
The senior has been accepted by Northwest Missouri State University and will study computer sciences in the fall.
Lynch is a long time Beatles fan.
“My aunt used to play Beatles albums when I was little,” he said. “My favorite is “Eleanor Rigby.”
Hoover High Orchestra Director Lisa Fried was born in Des Moines. When she was in the sixth grade, she decided she wanted to play the guitar. Her elementary school teacher told her guitar wasn’t offered but the violin was very similar. Although Fried now knows this statement wasn’t true, she is so glad that she began playing the instrument and is able to have such a great job.
Fried graduated from Drake University in Des Moines with a degree in Music Education. She has taught music at Hoover High School and Meredith Middle School for 14 years. During that time, the program has grown from 60 students to 160 musicians.
Fried is married with four children who also are musicians.