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Original compositions on tap - Music spectacle will dazzle

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By Mercy Lopez

Las Vegas will experience a different type of music this weekend as part of the Meadow City Music Festival. Las Vegas native and Robertson High School class of 2000 graduate, Mark Winston, has been dazzling audiences in Chicago for years and on Saturday, his fellow Meadow City natives and visitors will have a chance to hear his artistic musical creations.

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Winston said, “The show will be a musical spectacle. There are not many opportunities to hear music like this, it is very intricate and very epic music, and the lyrics are really poetic. The musicians are extremely well trained classical musicians.”

Winston’s Dead Superheroes Orchestra will feature several local musicians including Robertson High School choir teacher, Michael Campbell, on drums, New Mexico Highlands University music student and soprano, Nicole Robinson, on vocals, and Beth Meyer on piano. Winston’s twin brother, Craig, is also returning to his hometown to play guitar as part of the orchestra. The group will perform following Boris and the Saltlicks starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, at El Rialto Patio.

“We hired musicians from New Mexico using a funds raised online,” Winston said. He said donations came in from various parts of the world including New Zealand and Canada.

Other performers for Saturday’s concert include several area musicians from Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Los Alamos.

“Primarily what we do is rock opera type of music,” Winston said. “For this festival, I have composed ‘Beyond the Farthest Star’ opera that was inspired from ‘Frankenstein’ and the 1958 fire at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago.”

The opera is about a young girl who perished in the fire and of her young father who tries to bring her back from the dead, using mechanical parts to rebuild her to be indestructible so she won’t die again.

“It is very dark, but there is a lot of supernatural types of fantasies,” Winston said. “The music is very elaborate and dazzling.”

The group will also be performing Winston’s composition based on the Greek legend of Orpheus entitled, “Dead Superheroes,” a musical.

“I have been here (Las Vegas) for about two weeks working with the various musicians,” Winston said. “We had to break the group down into sections because the group is really big as a whole.”

Winston said the performance is some rock and roll mixed with parts of cabaret recital and gothic oratorio.

“It is a mix of strings, piano, harp, drums, and guitars led by a melodramatic bass vocalist,” Winston said. “The Orchestra conjures songs and stories of love, death, and existence in the great beyond.”

Winston’s orchestra performing his original compositions has performed in many Chicago venues including the Mayne Stage and the Abbey. They have also been featured in the Chicago Sun Times and The Chicago Reader newspapers.

“A lot of the music I wrote was  inspired by growing up in Las Vegas,” Winston said.

He said his Robertson High School friends and his walks through local graveyards inspired one song particularly late at night.

“It is definitely a unique thing in Las Vegas, but even in Chicago when we do these type of shows, it is something that just doesn’t happen very often,’ Winston said. “It is really cool to do this type of show here and to share my compositions with Las Vegas.”

The Dead Superheroes Orchestra is one of the many bands playing for the two-day MainStreet de Las Vegas’ Meadow Music Festival. On Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. music of all types from norteno to ‘80s classic rock to blues will be performed by area bands. The performances are free and open to the public.

MainStreet de Las Vegas executive director, Cindy Collins said, “this is the second annual Meadow City Music Festival and we hope to grow it each year. MainStreet de Las Vegas received a $10,000 grant from the McCune Foundation to hire musicians and we are doing the marketing and promotion of the event. This is our signature event and we are joining forces with Heritage Week”

Along with the music, there will be other activities and food vendors at the park.

Collins said, “Bring your blanket and come listen to great music.”

The Las Vegas Dollies organization has also partnered with MainStreet de Las Vegas for this music festival.

Saturday evening, local group, Los Tropicales, will open for Tobias Rene at 8 p.m. for a dance until midnight. Tickets for the Dead Superheroes Orchestra and Tobias Rene may be purchased at Love Music, at brownpapertickets.com, or at the door on the night of the show. Tickets for Friday night’s performance are $20 at the door and $25 for Saturday’s Tobias Rene concert. A two-day pass may be purchased for $35 online.

For more information on the Meadow City Music Festival, call 505-617-6800.