CSO Presents Serpentine Fire: The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire

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January 28 @ 7:30 p.m. at The Palladium

December 2022

Let’s groove tonight with Carmel Symphony Orchestra under Artistic Director Janna Hymes and Serpentine Fire: The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire! Serpentine Fire is comprised of Las Vegas’ best instrumental and vocal talents. The show is a dynamic and fast-paced journey through the ’70s and ’80s hits of EW&F. This Symphony/Pops presentation has uplifting and funky music with sophisticated orchestration to create an irresistible, crowd-pleasing show for all ages! Be a “Shining Star” and gather family and friends together at the Palladium on Jan. 28 for these hot sounds on a (likely) cold night.

Purchase your tickets at thecenterpresents.org.

We spoke with CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes, as well as Mariano Longo and Tyriq Johnson of Serpentine Fire, about the upcoming concert and how energizing the night will be for all attendees.

CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes

“This [CSO] season has been so much fun, and I’ve loved every concert,” Hymes shared. “They’ve all been so different, and I love how the orchestra is playing. It’s just super fun! This music — of Earth, Wind & Fire — is music that I grew up with and listened to all the time. This particular concert is going to be very energetic!”

Carmel Symphony Orchestra 2021–22

Hymes continued, “I absolutely love the energy, I love the style and I love the slow ballads, the funk tunes and the rhythm section just playing in that groove. I think anyone, even if they don’t know who this band was, would come to this concert and love it just because it moves your body. It’s not intellectual. It’s not something that you have to study or know about before. It’s just a raw, built-in rhythm and movement to this music that anybody in the audience will react to.”

It is important for attendees to know that the experience will be an exuberant amount of fun but not so loud that they can’t [audibly] enjoy the concert.

“I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s so loud that they can’t handle it,” Hymes expressed. “These guys have been doing this show for a while, and they are solid. I think it’s going to be a great way to open the new year — with an energy that we’ve already started to create this season. I’m excited about the momentum that we’re continuing. I think to open [the year] with a program like this is really great. And the rest of the year to follow is also stellar, in my opinion. We’re getting a lot of feedback from the audience, and they’re loving the programming because everything is extremely varied and thought out. Specifically with the music of Earth, Wind & Fire, it’s been in the background of many people’s lives, and [they] have been heard on commercials, movies, etc. These songs are nostalgic. They take us back to when times were just super fun!”

Mariano Longo, Pianist/Arranger/Conductor – Serpentine Fire

The arranger and conductor behind the Serpentine Fire show is incomparable pianist Mariano Longo. Longo shared his passion for the project as well as his reverence for the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire and the lasting impact their music has made on generations of fans.

“For my entire career, I’ve been working on arranging and producing music for artists,” Longo said. “When we started [this project] about 10 years ago, I had no idea what was going to happen. Tyriq [Johnson] is a mercenary as far has his talent, delivery and execution. He is just a magnificent talent, and I’ve worked with a lot of stars and recording artists over the years. Tyriq is every bit a national caliber talent and has an incredible voice. As this project began to unfold, it became apparent to me that this music should be expanded to symphony orchestra.”

CSO Presents Serpentine Fire

Longo added, “It was just clear as a bell to me, because unlike a lot of pop music, there is a lot of melodic and harmonic content in every song. All of the elements are there in the catalog of Maurice White. And Earth, Wind & Fire is very rich and fertile grounds for orchestration.”

The rest of the “book” was written by Longo during the pandemic, and he enthusiastically shared that they will be brining two brand-new arrangements to Carmel when they perform with CSO.

Tyriq Johnson, Primary Lead Vocalist – Serpentine Fire

Johnson also shared his passion for the Earth, Wind & Fire catalog and what he hopes the audience will take away from the experience.

“The music stands the test of time,” Johnson said. “It’s all-around great music. And it’s very special to me. I grew up listening to it. I’m happy that people enjoy and love to hear these songs that have a special place in my heart. The music not only sounds great, but it gives message to certain songs that you listen to. The innovator and leader of the band, Maurice White, wrote a song called ‘All About Love,’ and he’s talking about things like prosperity and kindness to one another.”

Johnson added, “We’re coming together, and we’re having a great time, and we should always feel this way about one another. Everyone has a ‘favorite’ song or something that they can go back on, and [the music] takes you back there. You get everybody in the same groove and just having a good time. So, we hope we can do that and bring that [energy] there and get people up out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. To me, that’s cool.”

Johnson spoke about working with Longo on the Serpentine Fire project.

CSO Presents Serpentine Fire

“Working with Mariano is a great and awesome experience,” Johnson said. “He’s a great writer, conductor and musical director for me. He is a great person to work with, and I don’t think I’d have it any other way. We hope that people will really enjoy what we bring to the table with this music, and I would just love for people to come together and spread love — just love on one another and enjoy this music. I’m looking forward to having a great time and to putting on a wonderful show!”