Brayden Drevlow has a tongue-in-cheek warning for audience members sitting near the stage at the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Pops concert.
The concert, titled “I’ve Got Rhythm,” will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. It will feature the music of composer George Gershwin, with Drevlow accompanying the orchestra on “Rhapsody in Blue” and variations of “I’ve Got Rhythm.”
“Three times in my entire life I’ve broken a key off a piano,” said Drevlow. “Every single time it’s been while playing music from Gershwin. There’s something about the energy of it, I guess. Everyone in the first five rows is in the splash zone.”
Drevlow, 22, comes from a musical family. He is the third of 11 children from Thief River Falls. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead this spring, and runs his own studio there teaching music lessons.
He’s no stranger to Bemidji. He played violin in the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra as a home-schooled junior high and high school student in Thief River. Last year, he and brother Brock performed as the L’Ambizioso Duo last June at Bemidji’s United Methodist Church.
Following Saturday night’s BSO performance, Brayden will present a solo piano concert at United Methodist at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4.
Conductor Beverly Everett said she has been following Drevlow’s career through his college years, and she considers him a perfect fit for the Bemidji Symphony’s Summer Pops concert, which will feature all Gershwin pieces.
“I’ve just been very impressed with what he’s doing, how eclectic he is, and also what a great entertainer he has become,” Everett said. “He tries to use his talents as a pianist as a kind of ambassadorship, trying to share music with a wide variety of people. But he’s also been invited to play at the White House and Disneyland, so he’s really done a lot for someone who just graduated from college.”
Drevlow says Gershwin is one of his favorite composers.
“He’s one of the first major American composers,” Brayden said. “I like to play his music in concerts (internationally) because it’s like the best prime example of American style of music.”
He also will perform Gershwin music at his Aug. 4 concert at United Methodist, including a solo version of “Rhapsody in Blue” that he calls “horrendously difficult.” Gershwin wrote it to include all of the instruments of the orchestra into one piano. Drevlow also will play Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” a piece by Liberace and some of his favorites from Franz Liszt.
The BSO's Summer Pops concert will include the traditional performance of "Stars and Stripes Forever" with a mystery "maestro" conducting.
If you go:
What: Bemidji Symphony Orchestra Summer Pops concert
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
Where: Bemidji High School Auditorium
Tickets: $20; K-12 students free. Available with cash or check at the door, in advance at Lueken’s Village Foods North and South, or with a credit card at brownpapertickets.com. All seats general admission. Get a free ticket to “I've Got Rhythm” with a $90 BSO season ticket purchase at the door.