A new twist on the music of Prince this weekend

Singer MacKenzie Green (center) joins Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra The Music of Prince: A Rock and Symphonic Tribute, the first Rockin Orchestra Series concert of the season, at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 30. CONTRIBUTED

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Singer MacKenzie Green (center) joins Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra The Music of Prince: A Rock and Symphonic Tribute, the first Rockin Orchestra Series concert of the season, at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 30. CONTRIBUTED

Singer MacKenzie Green grew up in a strict Southern Baptist home in a small farm town in northern Virginia. When he was 9, he used to hide in his closet and listen to Prince in secret. Today, he travels around singing Prince songs with a group featuring former members of the late, multi-talented artist’s band, the New Power Generation.

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Green and his bandmates — including drummer-music director Nisan Stewart — will join Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and musical director Neal Gittleman for “The Music of Prince: A Rock and Symphonic Tribute.” The first Rockin’ Orchestra Series concert of the season is presented at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 30.

“I didn’t actually sing anything other than traditional gospel music until I was 18 or 19,” Green said, speaking over the telephone from his home in Los Angeles. “I started singing Prince songs shortly after that. Being a musician playing clubs in a cover band, you can’t escape his music because people want to hear Prince.

“I’ve sang his songs my whole professional career, but the first time I sang his songs consistently was when we started doing the orchestra shows earlier this year,” Green continued. “The whole point of this is to showcase Prince’s music in a way the fans haven’t heard before. There’s definitely nothing like singing with an orchestra. It’s been an incredible — I’d say transformative — experience for me.”

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Green and Stewart will be joined by former New Power Generation members Andrew Gouché (bass) and Jairus Mozee (guitar), along with Bonnie Brooksbank (violin, vocals) and Kevin Randolph (keyboard). The group will play Prince hits like “Purple Rain,” “1999,” “Raspberry Beret,” “When Doves Cry” and “Little Red Corvette.

“His music was already very emotional, but it’s definitely a lot more emotional singing these songs since Prince’s passing,” Green said. “I feel like we take life for granted a lot because we live it, so when we’re singing a song, it’s really sobering. You feel the emotional connection to the song and then you look out at the audience and see all the different generations of people he affected and you realize he’s not here anymore.

“But he is still here because his energy is still here,” Green added. “It’s still affecting us and that’s why all these beautiful people come out to hear us perform these songs.”

The Rockin’ Orchestra Series continues with “Michael Cavanaugh: The Music of Elton John and More” on Nov. 3. Other concerts in the series include “Winborne Presents the Music of Led Zeppelin” and “The Who’s ‘Tommy’ in Concert.”

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WANT TO GO?

What: "The Music of Prince: A Rock and Symphonic Tribute" with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, vocalist MacKenzie Green, music director Nisan Stewart and others

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30

Cost: $21-$81

More info: 937-228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com

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