At St. Michael’s, a splendid time is guaranteed for all 1

Olga Turkina and Philipp Petkov have been performing the work of The Beatles at St. Michael’s Cemetery for several years. This year’s show will feature four other musicians too.

You love them, yeah, yeah, yeah!

And now is your chance to hear all your favorite Beatles hits — with a twist.

St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst presents a free concert featuring the music of The Fab Four, as performed by a sextet of award-winning classical musicians.

Why a concert in a cemetery, you may well ask yourself?

According to the cemetery’s director, Ed Horn, St. Michael’s thinks of itself not only as a place for visitors to remember their loved ones, but as “a resource, an active, daily part of the community.”

And each of the past five or six or seven years (no one seemed to be able to recall exactly when the tradition started), crowds have gathered for this annual event, their numbers surging upwards of 100 strong.

Olga Turkina, born in Moscow, raised in Mexico and now living on Long Island, is the group’s violinist and driving force.

She recalled in a telephone conversation this week that the first concert she gave at the cemetery consisted mostly of classical music, with two or three Beatles songs thrown in for good measure.

The audience “specifically loved the Beatles section,” she said. It was decided that the following year’s concert would be an all-Beatles celebration. It’s been that way ever since, and getting better all the time.

Among the tunes expected this year are “Yesterday,” “Yellow Submarine” and “All You Need Is Love,” to be played, in addition to Turkina’s violin, on piano (by Philipp Petkov, her husband), another violin, viola and, a new addition this year, French horn.

“The music comes across melodically,” Horn said, adding that the instrumental renditions of the songs afford the audience the opportunity to “appreciate the genius” of the music.

And if yesterday is any indication, it won’t take long for the audience to start supplying the lyrics on their own.

The hardest part of getting the concert together was finding arrangements for the horn, Turkina said. Luckily, the horn player is also an arranger, so he was able to transcribe parts for himself, she said.

She added that the performers try to play the music as close to the originals as possible, with the violin melody “emphasizing the words and phrasing of the singers.”

And, in the end, “we just try to have fun and have a connection with the audience,” she said.

Classics by The Beatles
When: Sat., Feb. 22, 3 p.m.
Where: St. Michael’s Cemetery, 72-02 Astoria Blvd., East Elmhurst
Entry: Free. (718) 278-3240,

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