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Veridian Symphony quartet rocks on strings
Concert series set this weekend at First Lutheran Church in Yuba City
'The History of Rock 'n' Roll Through the Eyes of a String Quartet'
Presented by Veridian Symphony
TIMES: 7 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: First Lutheran Church, 850 Cooper Ave., Yuba City
TICKETS: $20 general; $15 students and seniors; $5 children
In its third season, the Veridian Symphony Orchestra is taking an alternative route with a classical crossover concert showcasing the history of rock 'n' roll.
Co-founder Rebekah Hood, a Yuba County resident and the group's cellist, said rock songs don't always work well with a string quartet.
"It takes a lot of experimentation to find out what sounds great," Hood said. "We're making a string quartet sound like a band."
Violinist and orchestra co-founder Helen Graham of Yuba City said songs by the Beatles and Radiohead worked well on strings, but that "Money" by Pink Floyd and songs by Nirvana were challenging.
"The sound that we have to imitate on string instruments are really altered guitar ... that really heavy rock, aggressive sound. It doesn't come naturally on the violin and cello," Graham said. "The easiest one is just heavy pressure on the bow, so you get kind of a crunching sound."
Graham noted other techniques — such as playing near or on the bridge of a violin to create an "icy" sound, or over the fingerboard to convey vocals.
Also playing the violin for the two concerts is Corey Kersting, with Kristen Autry on viola.
"I think it's a terrific opportunity to hear a different genre of music from a string quartet," Kersting said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. I know people will recognize many of the songs we're playing."
Bands represented include the Rolling Stones, U2, Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, Coldplay and Sigur Rós.
"One of the pieces we did try was 'Yellow' by Coldplay. It's a great song, and we really enjoy the song, but without the vocal line ... the piece wasn't as strong," Hood said.
Arrangements came the Bay Area-based, Grammy-winning Turtle Island String Quartet; the Grammy-nominated Hampton String Quartet; and friends Christina Dolance and David Thorpe, who often play with the orchestra.