‘Piano Men’: Rock band will pay tribute to Elton John, Billy Joel at L/A Arts fundraiser

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LEWISTON — L/A Arts’ annual fundraiser will feature a tribute to two music legends who for four decades have been a major part of the musical landscape, topping album charts and playing to sold-out audiences.

The “Piano Men” concert featuring songs of the 1970s by Billy Joel and Elton John will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at the Franco-American Heritage Center. There will be a reception at 6 p.m.

Performing will be a four-piece rock band made up of pianist/lead vocalist Joe Boucher, guitarist/back-up vocalist Christopher Eastburn, guitarist Gary Backstrom and drummer Steve Hodgkin.

The four musicians will perform with the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann.

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Boucher and Eastburn co-created the “Piano Men” program consisting of songs from Elton John’s and  Joel’s heyday. Rarely have these songs been performed live with an orchestra.

Songs in the first set include “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” “Your Song,” “My Life,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Allentown,” “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” “Moving Out,” “Anthony’s Song” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

The second set includes “The Ballad of Billy The Kid,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Pressure,” “Rocket Man,” “New York State of Mind,” “Levon,” “Crocodile Rock” and “Only The Good Die Young.”

In the encore Elton John’s poignant “Candle In The Wind” will be followed by the anthem of the evening, Joel’s “Piano Man.”

Together, Elton John and Joel have sold more than 350 million records worldwide. Since 1994, the two legendary performers have regularly joined forces selling out their worldwide Face-to-Face tours.

Boucher, who grew up in Biddeford, fronted the Portland-based Frotus Caper band for eight years and worked regularly as a studio session musician playing piano and arranging pop, rock and country songs for many artists. His professional background is in the theater. He he has been concert manager for the Portland Symphony Orchestra for the past five years.

Eastburn is an arranger, orchestrator and award-winning composer. His music has been performed from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Recent commissions include a ballet score for Island Moving Company called “Newport Stories,” a string orchestra and chorus score for the theater production “Moses Brown and the Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally” and a score for Caitlin Corbett Dance Company called “Tom’s Wealth.”

The Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra is a composite group made up of University of Southern Maine students and community musicians. The ensemble presents three to four concerts a year.

Tickets to the “Piano Men” performance are $25/$35 for performance and reception. Call 782-7228 or visit www.laarts.org.  The Franco center is at 46 Cedar St.

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