Whitworth Symphony Orchestra to perform with original lead singer and drummer of “Rare Earth,” Peter Rivera

By Ruby Brady | Staff Writer

Peter Rivera performs a piece at a rehearsal before Friday’s concert with the Whitworth Symphony Orchestra at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in downtown Spokane. Thursday Sept. 22nd Spokane, Wash. | Ben Gallaway / The Whitworthian

This Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:00 p.m., the Whitworth Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Fox Theater under the direction of Peter Rivera, former drummer and singer of the R&B band “Rare Earth.” The group was incredibly popular in the 80s and sold millions of albums in their heyday. 

Over the summer, Director of the Whitworth Symphony Orchestra Philip Baldwin, renown composer David Cebert, Gonzaga’s Director of Jazz Studies David Fague and Professor of Music Brent Edstrom collaborated to bring this event to fruition.  

According to Baldwin, the band members of “Rare Earth” approached him and Edstrom and asked if the Whitworth Symphony Orchestra would like to collaborate with Rivera. It had always been a dream of Rivera’s to have his music played with string and brass accompaniment.  

Over the summer, Baldwin, Edstrom and Fague met to discuss “what music to do, how difficult the music should be, what role the string players should have in the concert [and] how many of them there would be,” Baldwin explained. 

When asked what he was most excited in regard to the event, Baldwin said, “Just having my students on stage with somebody so famous, playing music that they have never encountered before.” He added, “Playing it in a way that’s a little different from the way most classical music is performed is a real experience for them. So I guess the educational as well as the theatrical versions of the event appealed to me.”  

Rivera and the orchestra will perform some top hits of “Rare Earth,” as well as some additional musical surprises. Tickets for the event range from $22-$102 depending on seating, visit the Fox Theater’s website here for more information.  

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