By Zach Bender
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Students in Professor Mike Billingsley’s music ensemble class will perform their spring concert, featuring the entirety of The Beatles’ legendary masterpiece, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” on May 6.
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is The Beatles’ most successful album. Released in 1967, the album spent 27 weeks at the top of the U.K. Album Chart and 15 weeks in number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. It’s one of the world’s best-selling albums, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the number one greatest album of all time.
For the past two semesters, the ensemble, led by Billingsley, had been performing entire Beatles albums, with a plan to eventually tackle “Sgt. Pepper.” Thus far, they have successfully performed “Abbey Road” last spring and “Revolver” in the fall.
“This is the album we’ve been leading to,” says Billingsley. The album is more challenging than other Beatles albums. He initially wasn’t sure if it would be possible, but he says that they are pulling it off.
Billingsley feels that the music they have chosen to perform separates Camden County College’s music program from other college music programs because he “can’t think of other schools playing all of The Beatles.” He hopes that students in his ensemble take in the performance as an experience playing a legendary album.
Greg Mele, a student in the ensemble, feels that rehearsals are “going good.” This is Mele’s second time in the ensemble, as he previously played bass last semester for the performance of “Revolver.” For him, the experience this time around is different because he is now getting the opportunity to show off what he can do on a guitar as well, as he switches between the two throughout the album. “Some songs are taking some time, but it’s coming together,” he says.
The concert, which will be opened by the college’s jazz band, will have approximately 35 students participating. About 20 of those will be performing The Beatles. Billingsley says that usually about 100 to 150 people attend, and he’s hoping for at least 150. “That’s part of the idea of doing The Beatles,” he says.
The concert will be held on May 6. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the event is expected to conclude by 9:30. It’s happening in the Dennis Flyer Theater in Lincoln Hall on Jefferson Drive on the Blackwood campus. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend. For additional information, e-mail Billingsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.