Chuck Leavell will be joning the Macon Pops Orchestra, along with several other special musical guests, to celebrate local artists from the past, present and future with “Music of Macon,” happening Saturday at the City Auditorium.
“First of all, this is a rare opportunity for me to play in my hometown, especially with the Macon Pops Orchestra,” Leavell said in a recent interview. “We will be doing some rock ’n’ roll songs with string arrangements.
“I want to thank my friend Steve Moretti, who is in charge of the Macon Pops, for the opportunity. I want to mention Jimmy Hall, formerly of Wet Willie, who will be doing some duets with me. Finally, I will be doing one piece with Robert McDuffie, a world class violinist who is located right here in Macon. It’s going to be a great evening.”
Leavell also will be joined by Amy Schwartz Moretti, Floco Torres, Daniel NeSmith, Louise Warren and Joshua Neal for an unforgettable night of local music.
“This is certainly off the beaten path of my normal shows,” Leavell said. “I have worked with orchestras in the past. There is the wonderful live sound of the strings section to carry the music. There is a great opportunity to do something different with the arrangement of the songs. It makes them very different from a straight rock ’n’ roll presentation. It keeps you on your toes.
“You have to play with the orchestra and make sure you’re in sync with them at all times. You have to listen to each other. It’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge. So far, my experiences have all turned out extremely well.”
Leavell said his experiences in the past have proven that rock ’n’ roll works well with an orchestra.
“In the ’70s, we did a tour with Greg Allman as a solo artist, with a 13-piece strings (section) and five-piece horn section,” he said. “This is really nothing new, but it is something that occurs rarely. It takes a lot of work to put something like this together. To get this number of people together on stage is a challenge, but it’s one we all look forward to conquering.”
After touring “extensively” last year, Leavell said it’s good to be coming back home.
“It’s always fun to tour the world, but I’m a dyed in the wool Southerner,” he said. “There is no place like the South and I’m very glad to be able to come home and do this concert.”
He also gave a shout-out to all his local fans.
“I want to give a huge thanks to all my fans in the Middle Georgia area and around the state who have continued to support me. They always pay me such nice compliments on the work I’ve been privileged to do,” Leavell said. “It is nice to be able to give something back.”
In addition to travelling the world and making music, Leavell is an avid environmentalist and tree farmer and co-founder of the Mother Nature Network (www.mnn.com).
“This is a wonderful world,” Leveall said. “I just want to do my part to keep it that way and make it better.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28
Where: City Auditorium, 415 First St.
Cost: $10 balcony seating
Information: www.maconpops.com; 478-752-1585, extension 109