Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, April 26, 1990, Page 10, Image 22

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    Gospel choir lifts
songs of praise
with united voice
By Adrienne Butler
• The Stale News
Michigan State U.
If you lived near Michigan State U s
Brody Complex, there’s a 99.9 percent
chance you would have heard the
strong, uplifting voices of the MSU
Gospel Choir.
For the past 19 years, the group has
been singing the praises of God, winning
fans and adding members to its ranks
One reason the 60-plus member group
is so successful is because of its motto:
Every voice is important. From a sopra
no's highest glass-shattering note to the
deep, reverberating tone of a bass, every
member is treated the same
“It’s a great feeling to bo a part of the
chorale, and for them to be a part of you,"
said three-year member La Shawn
The chemical engineering junior said
she joined the chorale one day after
"It's a groat fooling to bo a
part of the chorale, and for
them to bo a part of you.”
—Ia\ Shawn Ford
Michigan State U. junior
hearing the group practice Ford said
when she walked into the room she
automatically felt welcome, and
although she had no previous experi
ence, she was invited to join.
Special education senior Michelle
Harper has directed the chorale for
three years. She said the only thing
needed to join the group is the will to
sing God's praises. She said the group
is open to nil denominations and races.
“We are always accepting new mem
bers," she said “Everyone is welcome."
The chorale's gcxxl sounds and deeds
are what attract and keep many mem
bers, including James Brady, a mechan
ical engineering senior. Brady said the
chorale often visits youth groups and is
involved in anti-drug programs
Wendy Reynolds said she remains in
the group because it filled a void in her
life. 'There’s a spirit of God in the
chorale and that really drew me.” she
said "It helps enhance spiritual
1964: As the Beatles In Concert
Holding on to ‘Yesterday’
By Stephen Rountree
■ The Breeze
James Madison U.
They were those mop-topped young
lads that had taken the world by storm
on the front line of the British Invasion,
capturing the heart of every young girl
in America.
They were, of course, the Fab Four —
Mark, Gary, Toni and Terry, from Akron,
Wait a minute It was John, Paul,
George and Ringo. And it was Liverpool,
Kngland, not Akron, Ohio. And it was 20
years ago today, more or less, that the
band refused to play
Enter Mark Benson, Gary Grimes,
Tom Work and Terry Manfredi as John
Lennon, Paul McCartney, George
Harrison and Ringo Starr, respectively.
Together they are 1964 As The Beatles
in Concert
“Most of us had been in band after band
and grown tired of playing Top 40 music.
We wanted to put on more of a show,"
Benson said. All four grew up in the era
when the Beatles were heroes. They knew
the excitement the magic, as some
called it.
So the group studied the songs and
hours of videotape of the boys from
Liverpool. Their equipment, while not the
actual pieces, is of the same make and
model that the Beatles used
And m the true spirit of the Beatles,
1964 picks up the music by ear because
according to Benson, most written ver
sions of the songs art: filled with musical
Benson said he's seen other perfor
mances that tried to imitate the Beatles
but missed the mark either in appear
ance or the music. 1964 strives for what
some might call obsessive perfection
“Our forte is live performance,” said
Benson, who has perfected the character
of Lennon right down to his spread
legged stance and gum chewing during
songs He said that 1964 fills a void since
there are no more Beatles concerts. The
real Fah Four stopped touring in 1966
and moved into studio performance until
their breakup
1964 performs the songs the Beatles
immortalized during and after those
tours The band has toured coast-to
coast in Canada and North America
since premiering at a September 1984
Beat les convention in Pittsburgh, Pa. In
May, the group will travel to Berlin to
work with a popular television show
March 31 marked the beginning of a
new era for 1964 and the Beatles. At an
appearance in Hickory, N C , they intro
duced a new show that brings the post
66 Beatles to the stage, complete with
the Western Piedmont Symphony.
.As any fan knows, the Beatles’ studio
years produced music that was unprac
tical if not impossible to transport to the
stage. Songs such as ‘A Day In The Life”
require large symphonies if they are to
sound like the recordings.
In Hickory, the audience heard what
even the Beatles couldn’t deliver — a live
performance of songs from all the later
albums, employing mostly technology
from the years they were produced To
add to the “fantasy,” as Benson described
it, 1964 earned the show further by "cre
ating what we think the Beatles would
be like today, had they not broken up and
had Lennon not died,” he said.
College students in particular seem to
appreciate 1964’s performances. Last
year, they were voted “Contemporary
Music Artists of the Year” by the
National Association for Campus
“Everybody seems to like it. We get a
lot of comments like. Thanks for making
me feel 15 again.' ” He said most audi
ences range in age from senior citizens
to young children “It’s wonderful to see.
This music really speaks to all genera
lions; grandparents and 7-year-olds are
singing the same songs.”
Beatles fans may range in age, but the
songs must remain the same. Ten min
utes after we’re on stage, none of the gui
tars, Vox amplifiers or Ludwig drums
matter. We rely mostly on our ability to
sell the characters. We put this show
together with the idea that it’s a show
we'd like to see," Benson said.
Each member of 1964 is committed to
portraying the Beatles as accurately as
possible. Right-handed Gary Grimes
even learned to play left-handed guitar
so his Paul McCartney would be more
"When we’re on stage singing
See 1964. page 11
Music prof fills classroom with tales of Fab Four
By Robert Moran
■ The Daily Troian
U. of Southern California
With a wild growth of hair hanging
past his shoulders, a pair of ragged blue
jeans and a tie-dyed shirt. Bill Biersach
defies most stereotypes of a university
Biersach, a lecturer at the U. of
Southern California’s School of Music,
traces many of the key innovations in
musical recording back to the '60s In
particular, he points to the wide-rang
ing influence of the Beatles, the subject
of one of his classes.
“The Beatles were the first group to
catapult rock n' roll from a vulgar art
form — sub-art form — to a studyable
art form,” Biersach says. “And after
they got their popularity, they used the
studio as part of their art form."
Biersach’s course otFers an in-depth
look at the accomplishments and
impact of the Fab Four.
About 140 students are enrolled in
the course “The Beatles: Their Music
and Their Times." Originally launched
; as an experimental freshman seminar
| last spring, the idea caught on quickly.
Registration filled to capacity in less
than 22 minutes.
The dean of the college agreed to a
regular course offering. “On the first
day, 66 people showed up,” Biersach
says. “Within three weeks the class size
expanded to 143."
Nearly 20 years since the Beatles
broke up, the interest in the class
attests to the power of the group that
made peace and love central themes in
its music.
“You can study the Beatles from a his
torical standpoint, a technical stand
point and a social standpoint,”
Biersach says.
The Beatles expert brings a meticu
lous knowledge of his subject to the
course. One class period is devoted
entirely to the one-day recording ses
sion that resulted in the band’s first |
album, “Please Please Me."
Biersach takes the class through the
day, describing how the band — with a
yoimg John Lennon suffering from a
had cold and a sore throat — recorded i
12 songs in as few as 22 hours.
“They decided to do ‘Twist and 1
Shout.’SoJohn goes into the bathroom, j
tears off his shirt, gargles with a glass
of milk — of all things — and smoked
a cigarette, then did “Twist and Shout’
in one take,” he says.
Such tales are the stuff of legends,
and Biersach has a headful. But with
the loving reflections come the harsh
realities of the band — the bickering
and petty squabbles between the
members — and Biersach is not reluc
tant to attack the magical status that
some students have attached to the
“I’m a demythologizer by nature," he
says. “The nice thing about the Beatles,
though, is that you can demythologize
the hell out of them and they still come
out as landmarks.”
One day Biersach brought in
“Newlywed Game’ host Bob Eubanks to
relate his encounters with the Fab Four
as a fledgling disc jockey in the '60s.
As a D.J. for Los Angeles station
KRLA, Eubanks helped organize local
Beatles’ shows in 1964, ’65 and '66. In
front of Biersach’s class, the television
host added fuel to the debate over
which Beatle really controlled the
See BEATLES CLASS, page 11