The Music of Queen merges rock, classical

Thursday, August 8, 2019



The Oscar-nominated 2018 film “Bohemian Rhapsody” caused a wave of renewed popularity in the rock band Queen.

With that wave still rippling, The Music of Queen show will arrive at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre on Saturday for its Mahoning Valley premiere.

The show is a hybrid that follows a successful formula in which a rock band teams with classical musicians – in this case, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra – to play classic rock.

Led by the late Freddie Mercury in its 1970s and ’80s heyday, Queen was one of the world’s biggest bands, producing hits such as “We Will Rock You,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “We Are the Champions,” “Somebody to Love,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Radio Ga Ga,” and of course, the operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The singer and frontman for the TMOQ show is Brody Dolyniuk of Las Vegas.

He is tasked not only with singing works made famous by the multi-octave voiced Mercury, but bridging the gap between rock and classical music fans.

Dolyniuk explained in a recent phone interview.

“There are two audiences who come to our show,” he said. “One is people who follow the symphony, and they may not know a thing about Queen. The other is rock fans, Queen fans, who know and love that music but probably have never seen a symphony orchestra in their lives.

“Our goal is to merge these two audiences together and expose each to the other side. And our success rate is pretty good with that.”

Dolyniuk, who has been the voice of TMOQ for 10 years, said the role keeps him on his toes.

“Singing the catalog of Queen is no walk in the park,” he said. “It’s a challenge for me to this day, and I like that it pushes me to be on my ‘A’ game.”

The goal of TMOQ is to produce both the studio and the live sound of Queen and then marry it with an orchestra.

In some cases, that is easily done. In others, not so much.

“Some Queen songs have an orchestral aspect,” said Dolyniuk. “But others, like ‘Fat Bottom Girls,’ are as far away as you can get, and that’s where the challenge lies.”

The show is enhanced with rock concert lighting, but there is no video wall or other special effects.

“It is a rock show,” said Dolyniuk, adding that the power of the more than 60 musicians on stage brings a spark.

The Music of Queen is just one of the touring shows created by conductor-arranger Brent Havens. Others include The Music of Journey, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, U2, Pink Floyd and more.

Dolyniuk has sung with some of those shows, but considers TMOQ his best fit. “This one is true to me... my favorite,” he said.

The popular rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” – nominated for Best Picture – gave the TMOQ show a boost this year.

“It put wind in our sails again,” said Dolyniuk. “We were selling out shows, adding a second night, and returning to cities where we had recently played.”

The movie also helped widen TMOQ’s audience.

“We see a lot more kids at the shows now,” said Dolyniuk. “It’s a younger audience, and family-friendly. We see everything from grandparents to grandkids.”