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Pitman String Quartet to perform in Beatles, Rolling Stones showdown
Pitman Quartet 4
During Beatles vs. Stones A Musical Showdown in Merced next month, the Pitman High School String Quartet will take the stage with renowned Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction The International Rolling Stones Show and the nations top Beatles tribute band Abbey Road. - photo by Photo Contributed

Who is the greatest rock band of all time: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?


If you were to ask Pitman High School String Quartet members Kayla Rodenburg (Violin I), Steven Courney (Violin II) or Marissa Staffero (Viola), they would agree that The Beatles were the best. If you were to ask fourth member Dennis Lawson (Cello), however, he would say — without hesitation — that The Rolling Stones is the band that reigns supreme. 


Personal biases aside, the Pitman High School String Quartet will come together as they take the stage to perform seven songs during “Beatles vs. Stones,” an “all-out musical showdown for rock dominance” that will pit one of the nation’s top Beatles tribute band “Abbey Road” against The Rolling Stones tribute band “Satisfaction - The International Rolling Stones Show.”


During the show, the Pitman High School String Quartet will add “orchestral texture” to seven songs: “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Hey Jude,” “As Tears Go By,” “Ruby Tuesday” and “Eleanor Rigby.”


“The string quartet will add another dimension to the show especially on songs like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ which were conceived and originally recorded with a string quartet as part of the orchestration,” said Pitman Orchestra Director Don Grishaw.


Last month, the producers of “Beatles vs. Stones” approached Grishaw looking for an ensemble that “could hold their own” as the show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour. The production, which is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique tribute show in decades, will include multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments.


“This is a great opportunity for these Pitman High students to work with a professional touring band and learn from their expertise in the music world,” said Grishaw.


As the string quartet’s cello player, Lawson said that he has been playing the cello for seven years. He said that while he is looking forward to playing “Eleanor Rigby” since it will be the song that will involve the quartet the most, he is admittedly more excited to listen to The Rolling Stones. 

“It is especially meaningful to me to be able to play in this ‘Beatles vs. Stones’ concert as my grandfather’s favorite band is The Rolling Stones and while he comes to all my concerts, I know this one will be extra special for him,” said Lawson.


“Beatles vs. Stones - A Musical Showdown” will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Merced Theatre, 301 W. Main Street in Merced. Tickets range in pricing from $30 to $50 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 381-0500, or by visiting the Theatre Box Office between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.


The Pitman High School String Quartet can also be hired to perform at community and private events. For more information, contact Grishaw at 620-0968 or email