More Than a Feeling: 70’s Arena Rock: Second Walk Thru Rehearsal

Styx and Journey are two major bands that the Uptown Music Collective has never covered in our 14 years of major performances. So todays second walk thru rehearsal featuring both of these iconic bands was a landmark occasion.

Starting at 3pm with Styx’s Grand Illusion, we continued on straight through until nearly 8pm without a break, except for a brief meeting. The Styx after a few false starts went very well. The set exposed some communication issues between the vocalists concerning backing vocal assignments which then required extra time to straighten out.

One of the more creative and difficult features of our programs is our emphasis on student leadership. Although it’s an amazing asset when it works, and extremely beneficial for the students involved. It also causes an equally amazing amount of headaches. Requiring extensive instruction, redirection, and “come to Jesus” moments for the leaders when their leadership goes astray, or equally as often for those who struggle taking direction seriously enough from their peers.

Aside from the vocalist’s communication issues the vast majority of the songs in covered in this rehearsal went smoothly. The most challenging elements were the lead and backing vocals, which the singers seemed to have pretty much nailed, in spite of their organizational issues, and producing the beautiful tone, and melodic solos of Journey’s Neil Schon.

Neil had a way of mixing singing melodies with short spurts of muscular musical gymnastics, all delivered effortlessly, and with a beautiful full tone reminiscent of one of his first guitar mentors, Carlos Santana. I see a few weeks of lessons with those guitar students centered on getting the phrasing, vibrato and stinging right hand attack together before I am satisfied with their efforts.

We have gone through all of the material now, and I must say that I am very satisfied with where we are at with this show. Today we will be hitting the material again in a long full rehearsal that will require the students to begin to work out their stage performance. Nothing more fun than spending the day trying to get a bunch of teenagers to produce the right musical part while also moving around, interacting with each other, all the while trying to look relaxed and cool.

At the end of today’s rehearsal, we will also be recording the audio/video for our promotional videos in the UMC Recording Studio. It’s going to be a long day.

Stay tuned for a report on how it all turns out.