Dayton Philharmonic presents songs of Paul Simon Saturday at Schuster



With a vast and eclectic catalog of beloved songs stretching back to the early 1960s, Paul Simon is the perfect subject for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s final Rockin’ Orchestra Series concert of the 2022-2023 season. Nashville-based Paul Loren, who performed in the DPO’s Beatles show last season, returns to town for “The Paul Simon Songbook” at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Saturday, June 10.

“Talk about an artist who consistently challenges himself and pushes new territory,” Loren said. “Paul Simon is still making records that seem challenging. To try new things with every record, with every song, is an enviable career and an enviable way to work. It’s truly amazing. As someone who writes songs and spends a lot of time in the studio, it’s just so inspiring.”

A life in songs

The program of compositions by Simon, the winner of 16 Grammy Awards, includes well known songs such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “The Sound of Silence” from his early days with Simon & Garfunkel and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and other solo hits.

“The show with the orchestra really takes you through the trajectory of Paul’s early-to-mid-songwriting career,” Loren said. “We start with the Simon & Garfunkel stuff, and you see the growth happen in that first act. They go from ‘The Sound of Silence’ to something a little more epic like ‘America’ or ‘The Boxer.’ You see those aspirations as a songwriter expand as the show happens in real time. The second act focuses on his solo catalog, and you can see that expansion there too. It’s almost a chronological journey into Paul Simon’s work and his career as a songwriter. There are moments of sheer magnificence, so Daytonians are in for a treat.”

Credit: Photographer: Andy Snow

Credit: Photographer: Andy Snow

Immersive sounds

The music for “The Paul Simon Songbook” was arranged for orchestra by Jeff Tyzik.

“Jeff’s arrangements are stupendous,” Loren said. “Words don’t really do them justice. You take a song like ‘Scarborough Fair’ for example, and you hear the harp or the way the mallet percussion is working in the song and then the woodwinds are to the left of you. Imagine being in the most incredible 5.1 surround sound listening environment of your life and it’s happening around you live. That’s the sensation I get every time those orchestras make those sounds. It’s transportive for me. I’m in the song.”

This concert also features vocalists Emily Drennan and Daniel Berryman, who will be backed by a rock band and the DPO conducted by artistic director Neal Gittleman.

“The orchestra, for me, is actually (what) brings me most into the moment,” Loren said. “You have these 50 players around you and you have to be at a certain level. It doesn’t matter if you have a rasp in your voice. It forces you to be present and be as great as you can. It’s an experience I sometimes have dreams about because I think about the orchestra all the time and the way these songs work with the orchestra.”



A musical connection

Simon and Art Garfunkel were in high school when they started performing as a folk duo called Tom and Jerry in the late 1950s. By the time the childhood friends signed to Columbia Records in 1963 they were known as Simon & Garfunkel. The act went from performing in intimate folk clubs to placing 17 songs at the top of the pop charts, including three No. 1 hits.

Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 for his work with Garfunkel from 1963 to 1970 and in 2001 for his extensive and eclectic solo career. Loren first connected with that music in the late ‘80s, riding in his father’s Ford Escort.

“My dad had a cassette tape of Simon & Garfunkel,” he said. “It might have been their ‘Greatest Hits.’ ‘Homeward Bound’ is the first Paul Simon song I have this cell memory (of) that’s really woven into my DNA as a musician. I didn’t quite understand the song, but I loved the sound of it, Paul’s voice and the lilting melody. They knew each other so well, they grew up together, so it almost sounded like one voice harmonizing with itself.”

New York stories

Simon’s work continues to influence Loren as a songwriter and solo artist. His latest release is the covers EP, “Everybody’s Talking,” the follow-up to “Between,” his late 2022 full-length collection of original songs.

“As a New Yorker, I grew up with Paul Simon’s music,” he said. “We heard it on the radio, on CBS-FM, in grocery stores and playing on the beach on someone’s boombox. His music was just always present and a lot of it was about where he came from. There’s ‘The 59th Street Bridge Song,’ or talking about the tenement houses or the queen of Corona. We knew all these places. It was a great inspiration for me as a songwriter. I always knew there was this guy who grew up eight miles from where I grew up who was able to transcend and create art. It was very inspiring for me as a young kid and continues to be. I’m very excited to bring those songs to Dayton.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or


Who: The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents “The Paul Simon Songbook” featuring Paul Loren

Where: Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St., Dayton

When: Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $27-$90

More info: 937-228-3630 or

FYI: A preshow tailgate party on the Schuster Center’s loading dock will begin at 5 p.m.

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