Beatlemore jam fills Zankel

Posted by Julia Leef

There was a full house at the Helen Filene-Ladd Hall of the Arthur Zankel Music Center on Nov. 21 for the 10th annual Beatlemore Skidmania.

The 24 acts included student bands, individual musicians and a cappella groups, which performed a variety of Beatles songs. Participants included groups like The Accents, The Hand-Me-Downs, Drastic Measures and George Martian.

Professor Gordon Thompson, the host of the event, spoke highly of the excitement the bands brought to the stage. "The a cappella groups, the acoustic ensembles and the bands all made remarkable contributions to the program. Perhaps as importantly, they brought excitement and energy to their performances. Every time a new act came on stage, you could feel the power they brought to their music," Thompson said.

The sounds of the Beatles reverberated throughout the concert hall, mingling with the cheers of the audience. Some audience members even joined in singing the songs.

A band composed of faculty members, with student accompaniment, followed up the student performances. Everyone gathered onstage for the concluding number "All You Need Is Love." The performers invited the audience to sing along as the 10th Beatlemore Skidmania came to an end.

Unlike previous Beatlemores, students primarily completed this year's preparations. Thompson had his freshman seminar handle the auditions, selecting acts from among 43 applicants. The students also designed the fliers, posters and T-shirts. According to Thompson, this enabled students to "put into practice ideas they had seen in their readings about music scenes."

Amanda Boehmer, the concert and events manager for Zankel, visited Thompson's seminar to teach the students how to run a concert, especially since Beatlemore Skidmania, which was usually held in the old Filene Music Building, was held in Zankel this year for the first time. Having the concert in Zankel allowed for more crowd control, as it provided limited and assigned seating. "Being in Zankel is different. It's a bigger space, it's a more formal space," Boehmer said.

Preparations for this event included hours-long sound checks, setting up specific microphone layouts for each act and adjusting the accompanying volume levels and monitor mixes. Shawn DuBois, the Zankel technical director, and his tech crew handled these tasks.

Ticket distribution and advertisement were ongoing efforts. The event continues to be publicized through clips of the concert posted on the Skidmore website.

Boehmer also distributed surveys to audience members to collect feedback about what could be improved in the years to come. "I think it's really helpful in future events when you understand who's coming," Boehmer said.

Already plans are being made for next year's concert and several new possibilities are being discussed. An intermission may be included in next year's performance. In addition, some have suggested spreading out the performances over two days, which would give the musicians and tech crew more flexibility. Those involved also hope to circulate ticket information sooner next year.

Thompson's seminar students chose to donate the concert proceeds to Skidmore Cares, a campus-wide endeavor that collects food items, money and school supplies and delivers them to local service agencies during the holiday season.

"Thus, all of the money from ticket and T-shirt sales will be going to Saratoga's food pantries, soup kitchens and other services that assist the less fortunate among us," Thompson said. With the cash ticket sales, Thompson's students donated over $5,000 to Skidmore Cares.

T-shirts were sold at the event and signed by the members of the performing bands. All of the performers signed and auctioned off one of the T-shirts. These T-shirts are still available at half price. Thompson's students are continuing to raise money for Skidmore Cares online and through Skidmore ID sales.

Boehmer talked about the importance of seeing so many different people brought together for this one event. "It's a really moving thing. I mean, this is why we do what we do. To bring people together through music," Boehmer said.

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