Related: Philadelphia POPS, Philly POPS, The Sounds of SImon and Garfunkel,

The audiences in the next Philly POPS concert series will certainly be "feeling groovy" as music director Michael Krajewski introduces Philadelphians to a concert he helped develop - The Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel. After singing with symphonies throughout the country, AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle, who hail from Bethlehem, PA, will perform such favorites as "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "The Sound of Silence," "The Boxer," "Mrs. Robinson", "Feeling Groovy" and "Scarborough Fair."

Taking place Friday, February 7 (8 p.m.), Saturday, February 8 and Sunday, February 9 (3 p.m.) in Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center, the acclaimed national touring duo are thrilled to present their Philadelphia premiere of The Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel with The Philly POPS. Included in the prestigious list of orchestras with whom they have performed are Houston, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Naples, San Antonio, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and Wichita, but according to Beedle, "There's nothing like playing on our home turf." Swearingen agrees wholeheartedly sharing his enthusiasm for playing in Philadelphia and at The Kimmel Center. "What could be better?"

Simon and Garfunkel mastered the folk rock genre and captured hearts with their touching lyrics and intricate harmonies. Writing the score for "The Graduate" launched their careers into international stardom, making their music legendary for generations of fans. The acclaimed national touring duo of AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle bring their heartfelt interpretations of Simon and Garfunkel to The Philly POPS. They started as a duo performing in clubs in Bethlehem, PA and then opened this act at the acclaimed Odette's Cabaret in New Hope. According to Bob Egan, founder and producer of Odette's who also booked them in New York, this show is a "must see," and he couldn't be more delighted that they are now playing with The Philly POPS.

The journey from New Hope to concert stages is an interesting one, thanks to Philly POPS music director, Maestro Krajewski. He explains it this way, "When I first saw video of AJ and Jonathan performing songs of Simon and Garfunkel, I immediately realized the potential of adding orchestral accompaniment and creating a symphonic pops program around them. This music is perfect for today's Pops audience because it now holds a permanent place in the American songbook and is revered by several generations of listeners."

He continued, "I went to see AJ and Jonathan perform live and was struck by how rapt the audience was by their performance and how moved people were by the experience of reliving these iconic songs. The program was more than a year in the making. Many orchestrations were created by several arrangers. In addition to accompaniments for the songs, an overture was composed and a medley of Paul Simon's solo songs was written."

For Swearingen and Beedle it was totally overwhelming to imagine their show performed on a symphonic level. Beedle admits how it felt when they were first approached. "Honestly, we didn't believe it at first. Here we are singing as a duo and Michael tells us his plans for him to present our music with orchestras. It took about a year and there we were backed by 60 or more pieces in an orchestra!" Krajewski added, "The concert has been performed by several orchestras and has met with great success. This is a program I'm very proud of because I watched it grow from infancy to the success it has become, and I'm eager to share it with the Philly POPS audience."


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