In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' legendary appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents the Classical Mystery Tour-a symphonic tribute to the Fab Four-on February 8 and 9 in Newark and New Brunswick. The Classical Mystery Tour includes more than two dozen Beatles songs from the band's early days through the later solo years, all performed exactly as they were originally recorded.

Since its initial show at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in 1996, Classical Mystery Tour has performed with more than 100 orchestras across the United States and around the world, receiving accolades from fans and the media. 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."

"We really make an effort to sound exactly like the originals," says Classical Mystery Tour founder Jim Owen. "The orchestra score is exact, right down to every note and instrument that was on the original recording. On 'Got to Get You Into My Life,' we have two tenor saxes and three trumpets, and on 'A Day in the Life,' that final big orchestra crescendo sounds amazing when it's played live."

Other program highlights include "Yesterday" with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, "Penny Lane" with a live trumpet section and "I Am the Walrus" with its distinct classical/rock blend. Martin Herman conducts.

Performances take place on Saturday, February 8, (8 pm) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark and Sunday, February 9, (3 pm) at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The February 9 performance is presented in collaboration with the State Theatre.

Special festivities precede each concert. Patrons can dance to the swinging sounds of the Michael Aranella Sextet in the NJPAC lobby on February 8 and can join in on a sing-along of Beatles tunes at the State Theatre on February 9.

Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org, by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or in person. The NJSO ticket office is located at 60 Park Place, 9th floor, in Newark; tickets are available by phone or in person Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are also available, by phone only, on concert-weekend Saturdays, 11 am to 5 pm. Tickets for the February 9 performance are also available from the State Theatre ticket office online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org, by phone at 732.246.SHOW (7469) or in person. The State Theatre ticket office is located at 15 Livingston Ave in New Brunswick-hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 am to 6 pm; Wednesday, 11 am to 7 pm; Saturday, 1 to 5 pm, and at least three hours prior to curtain on performance dates unless otherwise specified.

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by Peter Danish