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The Beatles inspire concert, capstone

The 60s are coming back to campus, and not just in the form of flared jeans and rock band t-shirts.

Local Beatles cover band Beatlemania Now will be performing live for Eastern students in the McInnis auditorium on January 22.

The band is specialized to dress, act and perform exactly like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and will be performing classic Beatles hits like “Help!” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” with authentic period instruments.

“This is as close to a Beatles experience as anyone nowadays would get,” said Shannon Hartsock, director of student activities.

Dr. Stephen Gatlin, history professor, was responsible for inviting the band; he spoke with band member Scot Arch (who plays John Lennon) early this summer to book a show.

Despite the size of Eastern’s campus and its auditorium that has a maximum capacity of 310, Beatlemania Now agreed to come.

“I think [the band] likes the idea that it’s an intimate setting, so people can really hear the authenticity of the instruments and sound,” Hartsock said. “It’s just a fun place to play.”

A cover band concert is not the only way the Beatles are coming to Eastern.

Beatles Music in Dreams and History is the newest capstone course (INST 480L) being offered next semester. Its name was derived from the subtitle of Magic Circles by Devon McKinnly, the only Beatles-based textbook that will be used in the class.

Gatlin will be teaching the course.

“What we are going to do in this class is something that’s never done-relate twentieth century music with cultural revolution and see how the two related to one another,” Gatlin explained.

The Beatles is also a topic in which Gatlin is well rehearsed, since they became popular when he was 12 years old.

“We as kids just never heard anything like it before,” he said. “We thought they were from another planet.”

One thing that set the band apart from all other musicians of the time was their combination of high quality harmonies and chord riffs with rock and roll, Gatlin said.

“Elvis didn’t do pretty music,” he said.

While Gatlin is a long-time Beatles fan, the class will not focus on musical preference.

“I know there are students who take interest in [Christian rock]; that’s not my sort of thing,” he said, “but I’m not going to come down hard on that.”

In fact, the course will cover many variations of music.

“We’re going all the way from Wagner to hip-hop,” Gatlin said.

For Gatlin, the Beatles were the perfect feature for his class topic.

“The Beatles had one musical foot in the early twentieth century and were trailblazing the late twentieth century,” he said, adding that they were also the first musical group of their time to use complex and minor chord progression in rock music.

Gatlin went on to call the Beatles “the single greatest musical, cultural phenomenon of the twentieth century.”

The Beatlemania Now concert will act as a requirement for the course, but will not require any work other than filling the 30 reserved seats in the front row.

Both Hartsock and Gatlin expect the auditorium to be quickly packed.

Tickets will most likely be sold only at the door.

The auditorium’s small seating capacity could be problematic, as a great number of both students and faculty are bound to be interested.

“Security’s going to have to be involved with it to be sure,” Gatlin said, adding that Cabrini students will probably attempt to attend, even though admission will only be granted to Eastern identification carriers.

The date of the concert falls on a Sunday evening. Hartsock explained that SAB usually tries to avoid hosting events on Sunday nights due to schoolwork and Sunday church services, yet she does not think students will mind.

“It’s going to be a great event no matter what,” she said. “People who don’t go will wish they had gone.”

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