SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Beatlemania will once again run rampant on the Wittenberg University campus when the Wittenberg Faculty Rock Ensemble & Entourage (Witt FREE) presents its debut performance, an inaugural “Welcome Back” concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, in Weaver Chapel. Music by George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, best known as a group as the Beatles, will be featured.
Witt FREE was organized in 2004 by Professor of History Thomas Taylor, who plays guitar and keyboard and contributes his vocal talents as well. The group practices regularly in the basement of Taylor’s Springfield home. Ensemble members include Wittenberg Class of 1978 and Associate Professor of Languages Tim Bennett, who plays guitar, Professor of Chemistry David Finster, who plays bass, guitar and keyboards, and Assistant Professor of English Rick Incorvati, who plays guitar. Associate Professor of English Lori Askeland, Assistant Professor of Education Steve Broidy, and Biology Lab Coordinator Ruth Lewis also provide vocals. In addition, Tom Stafford, Wittenberg class of 1976 and a writer at the Springfield News-Sun, plays the drums.
According to Taylor, once the decision was made to perform music by the Beatles, it offered the necessary focus, and they had little difficulty selecting 30 Beatles songs to learn and rehearse. However, cutting the list down to selections for one concert has been “agony.”
“We used spreadsheets and polls and conversations,” said Taylor, who noted that this may be the most “over-educated” ensemble in the state of Ohio with 20 academic degrees among the band’s members. “Sometimes I just announced something was cut.”
The “First Annual Welcome Back” concert, in honor of the return of Wittenberg’s students and faculty for the second semester of the 2004-05 school year, is open to the public free of charge.
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