Uptown Music Collective to present ‘More Than a Feeling: 70’s Arena Rock’
At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16-17 the students of the Uptown Music Collective will celebrate the school’s 30th Major Performance, by paying tribute to the big hair, big voices, and really big guitars of the style known as “Anthem Rock,” “Dad Rock,” “Corporate Rock” or most commonly “Arena Rock.” The performance, “More Than a Feeling: 70’s Arena Rock,” will feature the music of rock icons Boston, Kansas, Styx, Journey and Foreigner, brought to the stage as only the energetic and talented students of the Uptown Music Collective can.
Growing out of rock groups of the mid-1970’s who were creating material inherently designed for large audiences, arena rock was commercially oriented, radio-friendly and often highly-produced music. Emphasizing powerful dramatic songs with melodic choruses that would become rock anthems, and slower “power” ballads with soaring guitar solos, and big vocals.
Classic examples of the power of this music would be the Kansas hit Carry On Wayward Son, or the Styx classic Come Sail Away. Their big choruses, heavy guitars, and commercial success would be echoed by bands like Journey and Foreigner later in the decade. Of course, the quintessential arena rock band would have to be the band Boston. Their first album was released in August of 1976, and featured the hit songs More Than a Feeling, and later Long Time, although nearly the entire album still receives constant rotation on classic rock radio. Boston’s style would go on to be imitated many bands trying to create radio-friendly arena rock, the creation of which the band has often been accused of. That first album was a high water mark 1970s rock and has gone on to sell 17 million copies in the United States alone and 25 million worldwide.
In their performance, the students of the Uptown Music Collective will be performing most of the hits of all of these rock heavyweights, including the majority of Boston’s first album. All under the bright lights, of the big stage of the Community Arts Center. “In my experience preparing students for our 30 major performances, and countless of other performance events, I have rarely seen a group more excited about a show”, said Dave Brumbaugh, UMC Founder, and Executive Director. “The music is challenging, the stage performance is going to be very demanding, and the whole production has required a huge amount of planning and energy. All I can tell you is that they are totally into the music, and prepared relentlessly for what could be one of our best performances yet.”
More Than a Feeling: 70’s Arena Rock will feature Collective students who have been diligently preparing for this event for over two months. Along with the live music, there will be a professional grade light and sound show organized by the students themselves. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students are not only the performers but also direct the show. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians and spotlight operators. The cast for the show is drawn from the Uptown Music Collective’s much heralded Special Performance Group 1. The students have set a goal to get 1500 people to see the show over its two-night run.
This show is produced by UMC Alum, Alexis Best and is directed by Uptown Music Collective Senior, Julia Sauers, and Sophomore, Izzy Brumbaugh (WAHS), along with a leadership committee that includes UMC students Leah Batman, Alexis Carnevale (WAHS), Molly Chapman (Montoursville Area H.S.), Andrew Head (Montoursville Area H.S.), Cece Lutz (WAHS), Kenni Powell (Jersey Shore H.S.), and Eli Wilk (WAHS).
“Journey and Boston have always been some of my favorite bands growing up,” said Isabella Cole (15, Loyalsock Township High School) “But, doing this show has really opened my eyes to a much bigger variety of arena rock and has introduced me to more songs by those bands. The songs we are doing in this show are iconic and are ones that I’ve always listened to. Being able to pay tribute to these incredible bands and being able to perform their songs have really helped me grow as a musician. I have learned how to sing and play in ways that I never have before and it’s an incredible experience. I can’t wait for this show. It’s definitely going to be one of my favorites!”