The Mount music program celebrated the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ legendary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album with a tribute concert. The Mount’s lab band, wind ensemble and string ensemble all participated in a group performance covering all the songs in the album on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 in the Knott Auditorium. The event was directed by Dr. Mark Carlson.
In addition to the music being performed, the audience was also prompted during the concert to make the sound effects that accompany some of the songs on the album. This was facilitated through the use of a Powerpoint with each of the sound effects displayed, including laughter and cat and dog sounds.
Dr. Carlson stated he was inspired to work on this event while listening to the Flaming Lips’ “The Soft Bulletin” album. “I thought that psychedelic-pop would be a pedagogically rewarding genre for the Mount’s student musicians,” Carlson stated in the program notes. The Flaming Lips had done a full cover of the album in 2014. The album also has a much more diverse variety of music that allows each ensemble equal performing time in the concert, according to Carlson.
The concert was put together in a short time. The Mount pep band, which is comprised of members of the wind ensemble, had just returned from playing at the Mount men’s basketball game in Buffalo, New York against Villanova just three weeks before the concert. “The hardest part about the concert was the short time frame to practice,” stated first-year student Aaron Soifer. Soifer plays trombone for the wind ensemble.
In addition to the on-campus groups, the concert also hosted several off-campus guest performers. The use of non-western instruments such as the sitar required Carlson to ask nearby musicians to perform at the concert. Due to the University’s proximity to Washington D.C. and local universities, it was “surprisingly easy” to recruit performers, according to Carlson.
Normally each ensemble has their own individual performance. The group concert format was decided upon due to time restriction and the greater diversity of music programs with the introduction string ensemble. “We could not have done something like this two years ago at all,” Carlson stated.
The Mount wind ensemble’s next performance will be at the 2017 commencement ceremonies on May 14.