The evening of Jan. 24 is likely to be a bittersweet one at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif. That’s when the Oakland Symphony will give a special performance with music curated by Bernard Tyson. The Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO had last submitted some suggestions to the symphony Nov. 8, for its Playlist series, just two days before he died in his sleep.
But the show will go on, with about a dozen songs expected to be featured in the two-hour concert, “A Celebration of Bernard Tyson.” Tyson’s list has 24 songs, and the orchestra is now working on getting permissions and arranging songs for the show.
It will only be the third show in the series, an annual event that began in 2018. Earlier honorees were comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell and Dolores Huerta, the Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the United Farm Workers.
“It was Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney who first told me about Bernard Tyson’s love of music, which I hadn’t known about. As such an important community and national leader, he was a natural choice. Until last weekend, we were still emailing about his ideas for what should be included on his Playlist. It still wasn’t finished,” Oakland Symphony Conductor and Music Director Michael Morgan said. “He was very excited about the project and in our meeting, bursting with his usual enthusiasm. A shocking loss.”
Morgan will conduct the concert.
Tyson’s full list dabbles in gospel, hip-hop, and pop, including Ramsey Lewis’ take on “Oh Happy Day”; Ray Charles' and James Taylor's version of "Sweet Potato Pie"; Sade’s “Babyfather”; “Excuse Me Miss” by Jay-Z;& “I Wanna Thank You” by Maze; “Miracles” by Kirk Franklin; and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Love The Lord."
The symphony has two months to practice for the show. But you’ll have to attend to find out the final picks. Tickets run $25 to $90; the show starts at 8 p.m.