FLORENCE - The Beatles craze that swept the world happened long before these kids were born, but choir and band students at Florence High School have been immersing themselves in the legendary band’s music and influence in preparation for their “Beatles Experience” concert later this month.
According to Florence-Carlton band director Jennifer Kirby, it was a student who first came up with the idea.
“Colby Ostheimer, a senior this year, just totally out of the blue one day last year came up to me and said ‘Hey Kirb, we should do a Beatles concert!’ ” Kirby recalled. “I thought it was a great idea. Our choir director, Emily Hackethorn, is a Beatles fanatic, so she was totally into it as well. So we’ve been planning it since last spring.”
The concert, which will be on Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the new gym, will feature Beatles artwork, bits of trivia and narration, memorabilia, a slideshow and costumes.
“I dressed up as Ringo Starr from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band last week to encourage the kids,” Hackethorn said. “I want them to look at the different styles that the Beatles went through. And the fashion for females in that era who were obsessed with the Beatles. I love the Beatles, and the kids are loving it too. It was difficult to choose songs because they have so many that are wonderful and popular and you want to include, so that was hard.
“We went by choosing some for their arrangements and some because they were songs we wanted to do. We chose the music this summer and last week we sat down and went through all of it. Hopefully it will flow with a fusion feel, and things will hopefully transition from a band piece to a choir piece altogether, so it should feel like a concert.”
According to Kirby, most of the students, who were all born over a decade after John Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan in 1980, hadn’t really delved into the Beatles catalog before preparing for this show.
“It’s been really interesting,” she said. “I would say about 70 percent of the kids are just discovering this music, but there is a good 30 to 40 percent who love the Beatles and know every song. It’s definitely a smaller contingency.”
Kirby said there will be songs from every Beatles album, covering the span of the band’s influence.
“It’s going to be a little bit of everything,” she said. “I think the parents are going to dig it the most.”
Although the concert is free and open to the public, the music department is asking for Goodwill donations at the door and the suggested entrance donation will be “a buck a Beatle” – four dollars, for those not great at math.
“Artwork displayed from the art students here, as well as Beatles memorabilia, and the slideshow will be really informational,” Hackethorn said. “It’s the whole Beatles experience. We want to be it the full-out feeling of their music.”
“It’s not just music but an experience,” Kirby said.
For more information on the concert or to temporarily donate Beatles memorabilia, call 273-6301.
Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or email@example.com.