Student musicians salute those who rock

February 26, 2014
student performers on stageNo Jackets Required performing at their fall 2013 concert. (photo courtesy of No Jackets Required.)

After honoring the work of the Beatles, paying homage to the most famous one-hit wonders of all time, and highlighting the greatest in alternative rock, No Jackets Required is bringing their next show back into the classroom, hoping to school audiences on the history of rock music. Inspired by the 2003 film School of Rock, the University of Rochester student organization will offer a survey of musical numbers that highlight the best of American Rock, Classic Rock, and the genre’s early roots in the Blues, while also paying tribute to one of the best screen comedies of the 2000s. The NJR School of Rock concert, scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, February 28, in the May Room of Wilson Commons on the University’s River Campus, will feature more than 50 student musicians performing some of rock’s most memorable numbers.

No Jackets Required will pay tribute to guitar-driven rock and roll by performing classics from big name artists such as The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, KISS, and the Rolling Stones. Progressing through the heyday of classic rock, the show will include selections that highlight a wide array of subgenres. The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” will feature elements of punk and disco, while The Beastie Boys’ anthemic “Fight for Your Right” will showcase an infusion of rock and hip-hop. A performance of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” will feature a brass section led by student performers, and a full orchestra backs The Doors’ “Touch Me.” Other selections provide examples of stadium rock and hair metal, as well as early indie rock, New Wave, and grunge.

The group hopes to offer audiences a musical journey that is simultaneously entertaining and educational. The show shares the educational focus of the titular film’s protagonist–just as Jack Black teaches his students in the film about rock history from the ’50s to the ’80s, the NJR show will offer a chronological survey of classic rock. The concert will also use videos to reenact and spoof the movie.

Creative director Dan Gorman ’14 is hoping to use this show to “cap off the last four years of NJR.” Many of the upcoming concert’s numbers will incorporate the different themes taken by past NJR shows, and many of the featured song selections reference NJR performances from the past four years, which have drawn inspiration from Beatlemania and the great legends of American music. “I’m trying to really integrate the threads we’ve had so far,” said Gorman. The show promises bigger numbers than ever before, with more than a few surprises along the way.

Gorman is positive that the upcoming show will offer a chance to honor the progression of rock and roll, and similarly provide a vehicle for music appreciation. Quoting the words of NJR alum Tom Krasner ’13, and following in the spirit of School of Rock, Gorman explains, “We’re not only about putting on a good show; we’re about including everyone and having a good time.”

Tickets to the performance, which are $3 for University undergraduates, $5 for graduate students, faculty, and staff, and the general public, can be purchased at the Common Market or at the door (cash only). Live online streaming of the event also will be available at the University of Rochester Newsroom. For additional information about the show, visit No Jackets Required onFacebook or email nojacketsrequired@gmail.com.

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Category: Student Life