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Skidmore College

Beatlemore Skidmania to mark 10th year with panel, concerts

November 18, 2010

For the 10 th straight year Skidmore will continue its fall tradition of celebrating The Beatles. A panel discussion with noted rock journalists and the annual "Beatlemore Skidmania" concert are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21.

In 1960, the Beatles boarded a ferry for Germany for a residence in Hamburg and the education of their lives. Ten years later the adventure ended, but Beatles fans have been celebrating them ever since. This coming weekend, Skidmore will celebrate these anniversaries with a discussion by a panel of Beatles authors and the 10th annual concert of Beatles music, performed by members of the college community.   

For the first time, these events will take place in the college's Arthur Zankel Music Center. The panel discussion, featuring Skidmore music professor and Beatles expert Gordon Thompson, will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. Admission is free and open to the public. The following day, Nov. 21, student groups and ensembles will cover a wide range of Beatles songs in two performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets for both performances are sold out. Proceeds from the concert tickets will support Skidmore Cares, an outreach program designed to strengthen the bond between the campus and the community. This year Skidmore Cares is supporting food pantries in Saratoga Springs.

In the panel discussion, Allan Kozinn of TheNew York Times, Tim Riley of National Public Radio, and author Jonathan Gould will talk about the formative years of the Beatles and the long-term impact on their music. Thompson will moderate the discussion, which will include rare clips of music and revealing insights into the Fab and pre-Fab Four. The audience will have the opportunity to engage in question-and-answer exchanges with the authors and revel in perhaps the most important music source of the second half of the 20th century.

The concert on the following day has a rich history at Skidmore. It began with a simple question: Could we put on a concert? In the fall of 2001, the students in Thompson's Beatles Seminar asked if they could perform some of the material they had been analyzing. Now "Beatlemore Skidmania" is one of the biggest musical events on the Skidmore calendar. Each year, students and faculty (often joined by alumni) perform both re-creations and original reinterpretations of their favorite Beatles songs and recordings.  

In 2009, the concert audience overflowed into the aisles of the Filene Recital Hall, with Beatles fans packing the balcony and even sitting at the edge of the stage. This year's performances move to the beautiful 600-seat Ladd Concert Hall of Skidmore's Zankel Music Center. For the first time in the concert's history, admission will be for ticketed seats.

This year has also added an educational dimension as Thompson has given his first-year seminar the tasks of recruiting, auditioning, and marketing the concert in conjunction with the College's staff. "Nothing can beat the hands-on experience of preparing a concert as a way to familiarize students with the intricacies and the time-consuming work associated with musical performance," Thompson observed. "They learn to apply the abstract notions of how audiences and performers relate in an exhilarating context."

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