The Symphony Rock Evolution in concert. Image Credit: Contributed

UK music audience finds ‘The Light’

YouTube video behind popularity of Kelowna orchestral group’s song.

If there is one repeating adage about rock’n roll, it’s that past popular song genres often get an encore updated to a current music trend.

Ken Hartfield, a Kelowna musician and composer, is experiencing that music evolution through a song he wrote in the ’60s called The Light that today has created a social media buzz in the United Kingdom as an orchestral re-arrangement.

“It has been a pleasant surprise a to see the reaction to it to say the least,” said Hartfield.

Hartfield was previously at the helm of the Bandidos Cerveza group, which focused on Latin rock.

He decided to go in a different musical direction, creating the Symphonic Rock Evolution, comprised of six vocalists, percussion, bass guitar, electric guitars and a brass and string section.

Okanagan fans will get to hear Hartfield’s latest music project in concert at Kelowna Sept. 23 and in Vernon Oct. 20.

While the orchestra’s concert repertoire revolves around re-arrangement of some classic rock tunes assembled for the group’s first CD, Hartfield also works in some songs written by himself and other group members.

One of Hartfield’s songs from his personal music archive was The Light, a song he originally wrote with a Gordon Lightfoot style music influence in 1969.

The song is about the 68-year-old’s memories of experiencing the fear created by the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 as a kid growing up in Regina, then watching on TV in Saskatoon as the first astronauts landed on the moon in 1969.

“I can remember riding in our family car in 1962 and hearing the air sirens during the Cuban missile crisis, as the Moose Jaw air force base was only 40 miles outside Regina and considered as a possible target,” Hartfield recalled.

“Whenever I get together with old high school buddies today we often talk about that time and how quite frightening it was, not knowing what was going to happen.”

Then seeing a man on the moon is something Hartfield saw as how far civilization had come, from the brink of world war to space exploration.

A European audience first began to discover The Light on a YouTube video, which to date has racked up 20,000 views.

“We checked the analytics on it and surprisingly the largest single age group watching it out are the 18 to 28-year-olds. I found that really interesting as I initially thought the song would appeal more to the baby boomer crowd. So that was a surprise, a shock actually, ” he said.

Several UK radio stations have given the song consistent airplay, and concert promoters want Hartfield to bring his symphony orchestra to Europe to perform.

“The beauty of this is the entire concert has been arranged by me, so we can reduce from 23 to eight to 10 members, and then hire orchestral players over there to fill in the missing musician parts so it makes economic sense,” Hartfield explained.

“We can bring in musicians, show them the sheet music, have an afternoon rehearsal and do the concert that night.”

Hartfield says the marriage of symphony sounds to rock music has deep roots in the UK, starting with The Beatles followed by The Moody Blues, and absorbed by other British groups like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Electric Light Orchestra in the years that followed.

“If you listen to Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin lead guitarist) his guitar work is layered just like a symphony string section and bassist John Paul Jones grew up with parents who both played for the London Symphony Orchestra, so his keyboard contributions to their songs often reflected those influences,” he said.

“So when you think of Led Zeppelin, in a way it was three or four guys trying to recreate a symphony orchestra sound behind their songs.”

Hartfield’s latest musical rebirth has him singing the praises of how social media today can give exposure to songs without the need for a record deal or radio airplay at the outset.

“We will see how the song’s airplay continues over the winter but it sounds like there is a good chance we could be performing over there next year,” he added.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna RCMP seek public assistance in identifying wanted suspects

If you can identify these suspects, please contact the Kelowna RCMP or Crime Stoppers

Missionwood Retirement Resort donated $3,734 to support the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.
Soup sale helps benefit YMCA of the Okanagan

Missionwood Retirement Resort raised $3,734 for the Strong Kids campaign

Diane Galbraith won $100,000 in a Luxury Crossword Scratch and Win. (Contributed, BCLC)
Kelowna photographer in the spotlight after winning big

Diane Galbraith won $100k in a scratch and win, purchased in Kelowna

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna man faces charges after alleged break-and-enter spree

RCMP called the alleged crimes, ‘very serious in nature’, impacting businesses, victims

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Wanted Kelowna man arrested after allegedly driving stolen vehicle

38-year-old Kelowna man had an outstanding warrant for his arrest

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

(Kamloops this Week)
Grandfather accused of using grandchild to make child porn residing in Salmon Arm area

66-year-old’s offences alleged to have taken place in Kamloops

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stacey Darren Alec pleaded guilty to three charges relating to child pornography at the Vernon law courts Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Guilty plea in child porn charges for Vernon man

The man in his 50s will appear for sentencing Nov. 9

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vernon-Monashee candidate Harwinder Sandhu signs have been tampered with repeatedly leading up to the Oct. 24 election. (Contributed)
More Okanagan election signs vandalized

Vernon-Monashee NDP candidate Hardwinder Sandhu hit hard with repairs

Kristy Dyer Cartoon
Dyer: Wood pellets cause carbon emissions in more ways than one

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Quail Ridge Dental is a new dentistry clinic opened by the husband and wife team of Dr. Steve Calder and Connie Calder. (Contributed)
Straight from DeHart

Kelowna dental clinic showcases new technology

Most Read