Juniors Joshua Reed and David LeBlanc will unveil their semester-long independent study project: a complete transcription of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album to be performed by a 15 piece ensemble on November 17. The project was the brainchild of an afternoon Frisbee game when LeBlanc and Reed decided to add more rock and roll to the music department and decided to arrange an album by The Beatles.

“We wrote off the earlier albums because there was too much guitar,” LeBlanc said. “In the end we had it down to Abby Road or the Magical Mystery Tour but we wanted to do Strawberry Fields.”

The ensemble will feature an array of instruments, from violins and guitars to pianos and flutes and even an oboe. The performers are a mixture of undergraduates from The College and Eastman, many of whom will play on different instruments throughout the performance.

“Getting the people was definitely the toughest [challenge],” LeBlanc said. “Arranging [the music] wasn’t so hard, it was just finding the time.”

LeBlanc and Reed hope to emulate the exact sound in the recordings as close as possible. They got their start by looking over already transcribed music from Beatles recordings.

“We actually had the complete Beatles’ score and worked off of that,” LeBlanc said. “But we had to separate out all the different instruments as the book was written in short-hand.”

The ultimate goal of this project for LeBlanc and Reed is to bring more rock and roll into the River Campus music department.

“The whole point of this project is to show that you can study rock and roll in an academic environment,” LeBlanc said. “The music department is moving in that direction and we’re hoping we can take that to a performance level. We worked with the [the music department] chairmen to help get [the project] through and the other department members were excited about it.”

LeBlanc hopes that this performance will eventually lead to the creation of a school rock band which would be audition based and be run from within the music department much like the jazz band.

“There’s not that big of a music scene on campus,” said LeBlanc, “There are probably a lot of kids who play and are deterred because there is only classical music. I hope that kids see that the music department is moving in this new direction and is open to other ideas.”

Although the performance does not contribute towards their grade, LeBlanc still wanted to hear the music played out live.

“There was no way we were going to arrange it and not perform it,” said LeBlanc.

Currently LeBlanc and Reed have no plans to arrange another album but are not completely opposed to the idea.

“We’ve been having people tell us we should do another album next year,” LeBlanc said, “But we’ll see.”

LeBlanc estimates that the performance will last about 45 minutes. It will start at 7 p.m. in the May Room.

Audience members are encouraged to sing along and dance along with the music. There is standing room only but tables will be available for people to use. Admission is free and the performance is open to the public.



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