East Penn Press

Monday, February 18, 2019

Orchestra pianist back home

Friday, February 9, 2018 by DAWN OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

Rock legends The Orchestra light up Easton this month. Former members of the legendary classic rock group Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and ELO 2, now known as The Orchestra, bring their powerhouse symphonic rock to the State Theatre Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

Mik Kaminski, the blue violin; Louis Clark, arranger and conductor of the symphony orchestra on ELO recordings; and Eric Troyer, Parthenon Huxley, Gordon Townsend, and Glen Burtnik, take to the Easton stage to play ELO hit after hit, including “Evil Woman,” “Turn to Stone,” and “Livin’ Thing.”

“ELO essentially ended in ’83, with a final show in ‘86, as some of the members wanted to work on other projects,” said Eric Troyer, keyboardist and Clinton, N.J., resident.

“In ’88, some of the members wanted to continue so there was an agreement that they could continue under the name ELO Part 2.

“I was a part of this group, starting in ’88. Then around 2000, Bev Bevan wanted to retire from ELO Part 2, and the rest of the band decided to continue under the name, The Orchestra, starring ELO former members.”

Troyer has a long career in rock ‘n’ roll, having sung on “Woman” with John Lennon, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Bonnie Tyler, as well as having played with Kiss, Aerosmith, Billy Joel and more. He was asked by Bev Bevan to help start ELO Part 2 when he heard some music Troyer had recorded.

Troyer’s storied history with rock ‘n’ roll continues with The Orchestra, where he maintains the tradition of ELO’s symphonic rock. a sound he says was particularly influenced by the Beatles.

“ELO and many bands from the Classic Rock era draw their influence straight from the Beatles,” he says in a phone interview. “Especially with ELO, where classical musical instruments and elements are combined with rock ‘n’ roll music.

“One could say that there were a number of stylistic ‘shifts’ while the original ELO was making recordings. Although I was not a part of that group, it’s obvious that ELO was influenced not only by The Beatles, but also by the blues, rockabilly, 50s’ and 60s’ rock ‘n’ roll, and then disco and progressive rock, too, as time went on.”

ELO’s list of hits is long and The Orchestra aims to keep fans happy with their playlist. “‘Mr. Blue Sky’ is an audience favorite,” says Troyer, “along with ‘Evil Woman,’ ‘Sweet Talking Woman,’ and ‘Telephone Line.’ I enjoy playing ‘Mr. Blue Sky,’ ‘Turn To Stone,’ and ‘Do Ya.’

“We really try to be true to the original recordings, and we have Lou Clark and Mik Kaminski from the original ELO to help us with that. It’s always great to see the reactions of the fans as they hear the music that is the soundtrack to their lives, in many cases, and we just try to let the music speak for itself.”

“Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132