Led Zeppelin celebrated at The Mahaffey Theater

The ensemble performed some of Led Zeppelin’s best-loved hits, including a dazzling rendition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Photo courtesy of Windborne Music.

The ensemble performed some of Led Zeppelin’s best-loved hits, including a dazzling rendition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Photo courtesy of Windborne Music.

By LISA STARK

It was a spectacular evening culminating in Led Zeppelin’s iconic “Stairway to Heaven” that captivated the audience on Oct. 16, in the first of The Mahaffey Theater’s 2015 Rock Concerts Series.

Bridging the gap between rock ’n’ roll and classical music, The Florida Orchestra performed the music of Led Zeppelin along with a full rock band provided by Windborne Music that featured lead vocalist Randy Jackson, guitarist George Cintron, bassist Dan Clemens, drummer Powell Randolph and violinist Allegra. Brent Havens was guest conductor and arranger for this soaring live program, which featured some of Led Zeppelin’s most famous songs, including “Kashmir,” “Black Dog,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” “All of My Love,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

The Florida Orchestra paired with Windborne rockers in a powerful tribute to Led Zeppelin. Lisa Stark photo.

The Florida Orchestra paired with Windborne rockers in a powerful tribute to Led Zeppelin. Lisa Stark photo.

Collaborating with the Florida Orchestra, Windborne Music put on a show that won’t be easily forgotten. Founded in 1990 by composer Brent Havens, Windborne has built upon the success of its first orchestrated live performance in 1996, and has since traveled the world performing tribute concerts to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, The Doors, Queen, Michael Jackson, The Who, U2, Whitney Houston and the Rolling Stones, with orchestras both large and small.

The Music of Led Zeppelin was Windborne’s first Classic Rock Symphony venture, and the group experienced such great success that it spurred them on to expand their shows across America and into Canada. Many of Led Zeppelin’s songs already had orchestration, so it was a natural transition to combine the rock elements with a full orchestra, but searching for a singer who could handle the difficult range of lead singer Robert Plant was no easy task. Luckily, Randy Jackson handled the part perfectly. The show even featured electric violinist Allegra, who performed  many of the iconic guitar solos from the original Led Zeppelin songs.

The Florida Orchestra performs nearly 100 concerts annually in the tri-city area of Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg. In addition to its Rock Series, The Florida Orchestra Performance series includes the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks, Progress Energy Morning Masterworks, Raymond James Pops, Coffee Concert matinees, Pops in the Park concerts and educational Youth Concerts. Its 2015 Rock Series features three concerts that celebrate the music of three classic rock bands: Led Zeppelin, U2 and The Police.

Windborne composer Brent Havens has written music for orchestras, feature films and for networks such as ABC, CBS, ESPN and ABC Family Channel Network. He has worked with some of the world’s greatest orchestras across America, plus the Royal Philharmonic in London.

Drummer Powell Randolph delivered a powerful drum solo on “Moby Dick.” Lisa Stark photo.

Drummer Powell Randolph delivered a powerful drum solo on “Moby Dick.” Lisa Stark photo.

The other members of the Windborne group have equally impressive backgrounds. Lead singer Randy Jackson is the lead singer/guitarist for the rock band Zebra and has toured as keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist with several bands, including the reunited Jefferson Airplane.

Lead guitarist George Cintron is founder of the eponymous group “Cintron,” which became one of the top live acts in the country, playing more than 1,500 shows. Over the course of three world tours, he has performed in numerous concerts and television programs, including The Tonight Show and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve Special.

Drummer Powell Randolph has performed with scores of symphony orchestras and on countless recordings as a studio musician.

Violinist Allegra is a frequent performer with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and with artists such as Josh Groban, Rod Stewart and Smokey Robinson.

The Florida Orchestra joined forces with a full rock group to perform the music of Led Zeppelin. Photo courtesy of Windborne Music.

The Florida Orchestra joined forces with a full rock group to perform the music of Led Zeppelin. Photo courtesy of Windborne Music.

If you missed the Led Zeppelin concert, don’t worry — there are two more concerts left in The Mahaffey Rock Series lineup. On Jan. 29, 2016, there is a tribute to Ireland’s premier rock band U2, performing such hits as “With or Without You,” “In the Name of Love” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” to name a few. On May 6, 2016, there is an orchestrated concert dedicated to the legendary trio The Police playing hits like “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and more.

For tickets and information on the Florida Orchestra’s Rock Series at The Mahaffey Theater, visit TheMahaffey.com or call 727-892-3337.

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