We wanna rock! OCCC rock band ready to roll

OCCC has its own rock band and the group is building up an arsenal of sound to unleash this fall.

Preparing for their first performance for this semester on Oct. 24, the band of six members say they are ready and willing to rock hard and inspire the student body to do the same.

The band has held four rehearsals so far in preparation for the show, which will be at 7:30 p.m. in OCCC’s Bruce Owen Theater.

So far the band is set to cover hits from some notable bands such as The Offspring, The Cranberries, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC and many more.

Professor José L. Gabaldon, the band’s mentor and instructor, is optimistic this will be the first of many performances this year.

“The theater has been booked so intensely that we haven’t any other dates there,” Gabaldon said. “There is a chance that we might play a second show outside of OCCC but it is uncertain.”

He said about 12 people auditioned this semester, and six were selected. This is the second semester OCCC has made the class available to students.

This semester’s band is a blend of experienced musicians, and musicians who are new to performing live. Gabaldon said the goal is to get the performers out of their comfort zones.

“Mainly the whole idea of this ensemble is preparing the kids to play,” Gabaldon said. “Some of them have never played in a band. Some of them have stage fright, which is normal. The primary function is getting them the experience to perform live.”

The band members talked about their favorite performers.

Guitarist Nathan “Burch” Burchett, 38, is a music major who has been playing for 30 years. He said his favorite band is Van Halen.

“The guitar playing fascinated me,” Burchett said.

Vocalist Lori Valentine, 22, is a public relations major who has been singing for 16 years. Her favorite musician is Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour.

“He’s amazing,” she said. “He’s in two professional bands with platinum albums, he is an award winning author, and he has a comic series.”

Another vocalist, Ramon Harper-Alonso, 25, also is majoring in music. His favorite band is Led Zeppelin, saying he likes their skill and creativity.

Harper-Alonso said he has been singing 15 years.

Bass player Diamond Middleton, 21, said he plans to major in bass performance at ACM@UCO. His favorite band is Kings of Leon.

“I’m inspired by the bass player Jared Followill,” Middleton said. “He learned how to play bass in a matter of days in order to go on tour.”

Middleton has been playing for 12 years.

Drummer Jeremy Koehn, 19, also is a music major who has been playing for 10 years. His favorite band is Memphis May Fire.

“I’ve played a show with them,” he said. “I like to see how much they’ve grown.”

Guitarist Tyler Allen, 20, said he hasn’t decided on a major yet. His favorite band is Slipknot.

“I can really relate to their lyrics,” he said. Allen has been playing for three years.

For more information about the rock band, email Gabaldon at jgabaldon@occc.edu.

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