By Nicole Morozin
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Beatle mania is set to invade Camden County College’s Blackwood campus this December as Professor Mike Billingsley’s music ensemble takes on the classic Beatles album Rubber Soul.
The concert, which happens every semester, will this time open with Camden County College’s jazz ensemble, followed by Billingsley’s ensemble and their personalized version of Rubber Soul, and will conclude with a movie presentation of musical artist Beck’s new album of unreleased sheet music the students have been working on.
Rubber Soul, released in December 1965, is a folk rock album that has grown widespread appreciation from various sources. With each student undertaking a different song on the album and making it their own for this concert, Billingsley believes he is able to help his students connect to the audience, melding together the very classic musical aspects of The Beatles with his students’ personal interpretations. Each student brings a different musical aspect to the album, resulting in a vast diversity throughout the show. “There is so much there for us to infer,” he explained.
The students practice every week to prepare themselves, but student Brittney Aristone assures it doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun. Aristone, who will be participating in the concert for her second time this semester, claims everyone is always having a good time and singing along throughout practice. She continues her favorite song thus far she has been working on is “In My Life.”
Originally starting out with about 100 attendees per semester, the audience has doubled since a gradual increase of Beatles music has been added to the picture over the last four semesters. “I only think of [my students] via The Beatles,” Billingsley joked.
And his students seemed to agree. Student Greg Mele joked they have gone from being Mike Billingsley’s ensemble to The Beatles ensemble.
As the date of this semester’s concert fast approaches, both Billingsley and his students are growing more and more thrilled. “I get more excited every semester,” Aristone said.
“It’s a blast,” Billingsley stated. “I am always terribly excited. This concert is a place where a jazz instructor can meet his modern rock students.”
The concert is set to occur at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theater in Lincoln Hall on the Blackwood campus. Admission is free of charge and tickets are not required.