Grand Rapids Pops rocks to celebrate 50th anniversary of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

Media Contact:
Joan Engel
Public Relations Intern
616.454.9451 ext. 139

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., April, 12, 2017 – The Beatles, by the end of 1966, were exhausted from years of touring and recording and were ready for something new. The result was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the most important albums ever made.

Inspired by an Edwardian era military band of the past, John, Paul, George and Ringo created an alter-ego group and launched an experimental album of new musical sounds and ideas.  

In early 1967, after a 3 month hiatus, The Beatles returned to the recording studio to write and record an album incorporating a range of influences, including vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western and Indian classical music. When the Beatles released their eighth studio album on June 1, 1967, complete with an album cover full of famous faces, it changed the course of pop/rock music history.

Nearly 50 years later, the Grand Rapids Pops with special guests, Classical Mystery Tour, celebrates the debut of this No. 1 best-selling album of the 1960’s.

Grand Rapids Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt will lead the final concerts of the 2016-17 Fox Motors Pops series at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 28-29 and Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. in DeVos Performance Hall. Dematic is the Concert Sponsor and Carter Products is the Guest Artist Sponsor.

The show presents more than two dozen Beatles tunes performed exactly as they were originally recorded.  Hear “Penny Lane” with solo piccolo trumpet, experience the beauty of “Yesterday” with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, and relish the cascading crescendos on “A Day in the Life.” which originally was recorded with a 40-piece symphony orchestra.”

Widely regarded as one of the most important rock albums of all time, ranked by Rolling Stone as No. 1 on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band won four Grammy Awards in 1968 including Album of the Year, and has sold more than 30 million albums.

Today, the recent release of The Beatles music on iTunes, plus the popularity of The Beatles Box Set, a 17-disc set including all 14 original Beatles album; and The Beatles: Rock Band, a 2009 music video game, set off a new wave of Beatlemania and proved that The Beatles are more popular than ever.

Because many Beatles fans never had the opportunity to experience a live Beatles show, Classical Mystery Tour offers that live experience together with a symphony orchestra.

The Los Angeles Times called the show “more than just an incredible simulation...the swelling strings and soaring French horn lines gave the live performance a high goose-bump quotient...the crowd stood and bellowed for more.”


Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at

Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2019.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the website or

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This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.