FHS quartet will join cast of traveling 'Beatles vs. Stones' show

Production visits Farmington Civic Center on Jan. 12

The Daily Times staff
Shia Deale, left, Max Taulbee, Caitlin Yazzie and Karina Farnsworth of the Farmington High School String Quartet will perform during the "Beatles vs. Stones -- A Musical Showdown" production on Jan. 12 at the Farmington Civic Center.

FARMINGTON — When the traveling show "Beatles vs. Stones — A Musical Showdown" hits the stage at the Farmington Civic Center on Jan. 12, local music fans will have the chance to see a pair of tribute bands mimicking two of the greatest acts in popular music history square off against each other.

But they'll also have the opportunity to see a handful of Farmington High School students join those professional musicians on stage, as the FHS String Quartet joins the bands for seven songs.

A press release from LaJolla Booking state that FHS seniors Karina Farnsworth and Maxwell Taulbee, as well as junior Shia Deale and freshman Caitlin Yazzie will perform alongside the Beatles tribute act Abbey Road on the Beatles hits "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye" and "Hey Jude." They will join the Stones tribute band Satisfaction for "As Tears Go By" and "Ruby Tuesday."

Nate Bott, left, Axel Clarke, Chris Paul Overall and Jesse Wilder of the Beatles tribute act Abbey Road don Sgt. Pepper outfits.

The show itself features the two tribute bands performing in authentic period costumes while playing vintage instruments against a multimedia backdrop. The Farmington performance is one of 125 stops the show will make during a tour of America, Canada and Australia.

According to the press release, the FHS students were recruited when the show's producers approached Monica Leaming, the orchestra director at the school, about putting together a group of local string musicians capable of performing at a level that would complement the talent of the players in the two tribute bands. Leaming — who was named a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction in 2017, earning her recognition as one of the premiere teachers in the state — quickly settled on her FHS quartet, a group whose members belong to the All State Orchestra and perform in various other local ensembles.

Farmington High School orchestra director Monica Leaming put together a group of her string musicians to perform as part of the "Beatles vs. Stones -- A Musical Showdown" traveling show.

Leaming teaches classical music at the school, but her love of music doesn't end there. She also performs around San Juan County as one-half of the acoustic duo the Zia Chicks, so she has a good understanding of the differences between popular and classical music, and how her students might respond to such a challenge.

She apparently had little trouble convincing her students to go along with the idea. The press release states that Deale and Taulbee were already Beatles fans, and the two relished the idea of being able to perform some of the Fab Four's best-known material in such a setting.

The presence of the FHS quartet will add a little more juice to a production already noted for its high-energy nature. The show does its best to rile up the partisan loyalties that exist between Beatles and Stones fans — an old rivalry that reportedly extends even to the musicians in Abbey Road and Satisfaction, with the respective members of each band reportedly routinely exchanging barbs onstage.

Chris Legrand, left, struts as Mick Jagger, Trey Garitty performs as Keith Richards and John Wade portrays Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones tribute act Satisfaction.

But that doesn't get in the way of the production's authenticity. In addition to the dead-ringer outfits and equipment, the performances by each band also reportedly include the same dropped notes and other mistakes made by the real-life Beatles and Stones during their recording sessions.

"Beatles vs. Stones — A Musical Showdown" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. Tickets range in price from $35 to $65 and can be purchased by phone at 505-599-1148, online at fmtn.org/civiccenter or in person at the Civic Center box office.