The pressure is on for OCCC’s first rock ‘n’ roll ensemble.
Their mission is to set the stage on fire and ignite flames of interest in students that share the same burning passion for rock music in order for this class to continue at OCCC.
When the band performed May 2 in the Bruce Owen Theater, the students covered a wide variety of songs, including some from as far back as classic rock legends AC/DC, to the beginning of the Punk revolution with some Ramones, and even on to teenage anthems of the early ’90s grunge movement with a taste of Nirvana.
José L. Gabaldon, Rock Ensemble #1 professor, said the class is an experiment.
“This is a completely new class,” he said. “We tried to find songs that everyone will know and my students would be comfortable performing.”
For some of the members in the ensemble, it will be their first time performing in front of a live audience.
Band members said they are influenced by artists like frontman Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin and David Lee Roth from Van Halen.
“This class helps people break out of their shells,” said vocalist Stefanie Cox. “I am looking forward to the audience most of all. I can’t wait to see their reaction.”
Bassist Nicolai Bell said he hopes to see the crowd “dancing and up out of their seats.”
Gabaldon said audience interest is important to the program.
“The more people that come to the show, the bigger the chance that this class is going to repeat next semester,” he said.
Gabaldon, who has been teaching various guitar classes at OCCC, said he always wanted to create a class like this.
“If we really want students to be interested and involved in music, why shouldn’t we give them the opportunity to learn it through whichever style they love the most?” he said.
“Lots of other schools are trying this like The Academy of Contemporary Music. “ACM@UCO is doing great, so why not try it here?”
Guitarist Seth Burchett likes that OCCC is gravitating toward this style of music.
“I think this class is important,” Burchett said.
“Academically, rock ‘n’ roll should be recognized as an art form in music just like classical always has been and even jazz is finally being accepted.
“I think it’s time for rock ‘n’ roll to be recognized and taken seriously as well.”
Together, Gabaldon and music Professor Michael Boyle have generated opportunities for OCCC students to be able to experience music in various outlets. Most community colleges don’t offer classes like this, which can leave many students who have a passion for music sitting on the sidelines.
“We have a great jazz program directed by one of the top musicians in town (Professor Michael Boyle) and now, we are also opening the doors to rock,” Gabaldon said.
If these students are successful in spreading the word and enough people audition in the fall, Gabaldon plans to create two classes next semester.
“My plan is to offer two styles: rock and metal,” he said.
The students in the band all plan on continuing to make music. Each member writes music and hopes to perform it someday.
Guitarist Tyler Allen voiced his dream: “I would love to open up for bands like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold one day.”
For more information, email Gabaldon at email@example.com.