It was 20 years ago today…when a couple of forward-thinking Skidmore College music department faculty members (i.e. Professor Gordon Thompson and Artist-in-Residence Joel Brown) had the brilliant idea of getting students to form bands and ensembles to perform Beatles tunes in a live setting. Enter the “Beatlemore Skidmania” series, which has been a hit on campus and in the Saratoga Springs community ever since (last year’s performance featured choice cuts from the Fab Four’s final two albums, Abby Road and Let It Be).
While many students have returned to campus for in-person classes despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all live on-campus events, including Beatlemore, have been canceled and turned into virtual ones. To that end, Beatlemore will take place on November 20, the last day of Skidmore’s fall semester, and be offered as a free, public, live-streaming event, so that students and Saratogians alike can join in the fun.
This year’s theme, “The Complete Beatles: Please Please Me to Let it Be,” spans the legendary band’s entire career and has compelled participating students to think outside the box. “The virtual version of Beatlemore has brought out a new level of creativity in our students,” says Brown. “Of course, there’s nothing like a live performance, but the videos they’ve created won’t disappoint.”
Beatlemore is not a sign-up-and-you’re-in scenario, though; Brown and a committee of students hold auditions during the fall semester to solidify the final lineup of groups. “Students were free to choose from any era, any song,” explains Brown. “We have some imaginative arrangements of a wide variety of songs. There will also be some important conversations about the Beatles’ relationship with black American songwriters and musicians.”
The event will begin streaming on November 20 at 7:30pm here. Brown says that there will also be a chance to purchase exclusive Beatlemore T-shirts at the event, with all proceeds going to local charities.