Sources: Monterey County Weekly – By Adam Joseph | All Things Michael
Monterey has a new Independence Day tradition that’s as explosive as fireworks: a 14-piece Michael Jackson celebration. Last year, tribute group Foreverland tore through epic renditions of the King of Pop’s biggest hits, from “Billie Jean” to “Beat It.” This year, the MJ big band returns to Monterey’s Fourth of July celebration at Colton Hall.
Here’s more about Foreverland, plus some other options for good listening on Independence Day:
In 2004, Foreverland singer Lisa Leuschner competed on American Idol. Judge Randy Jackson said she had the best voice in the competition that season. Though she didn’t make the finals, she still views the experience as a win, because it inspired her to improve, and to make music her full-time career. Also, being one of the final 14 on Idol foreshadowed Leuschner’s future role in the 14-piece Foreverland.
But the group wasn’t always massive. The outfit began as a foursome, before the original members decided to recreate Jackson’s music without any pre-recordings or samples. Now Foreverland has the resources to tackle the icon’s vast repertoire, from the Halloween-inspired favorite “Thriller” to the mellow ballad “Rock with You” to the old-school Jackson 5 catalog.
“We’re not an impersonation of Michael Jackson’s music,” says Foreverland singer Lisa Leuschner. “We’re a celebration.”
Before Foreverland’s 3pm spectacle, the music kicks off at 11am with the 2015 Monterey County High School Battle of the Bands winner Operation Rock, who unload a mix of blues-rock originals and classic rock covers. At noon, Pop Fiction! unleashes a set spanning six decades of popular rock, R&B and dance music. Locked-N-Loaded follow at 1:30pm with country hits, ranging from Patsy to Merle.
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