The University of Lethbridge is ready to have a little fun in celebration of is 50th anniversary, with two accomplished music graduates taking centre stage.
On Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre, the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Office of Alumni Relations, presents Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a special night of history and music – Beatles’-style – featuring alumna and music instructor Bente Hansen (BMus ’86) and alumnus Jesse Plessis (BMus ’10).
While 1967 is well known as the birth of the U of L, it is also the year the Beatles released their iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Their eighth studio album, it is widely considered the first concept album in music history and changed the sound and face of popular music forever. Hansen and Plessis will present a two-piano arrangement of the complete album that Plessis crafted in 2011.
“We’re both classically trained pianists and we also love rock and roll music, so to have a chance to collaborate on something as classic as this is a real treat,” says Hansen, who has been teaching at the U of L since 1997. She currently teaches first-year music theory and was behind the establishment of a History of Rock ‘n’ Roll course that remains one of the most popular classes the U of L offers.
Plessis studied piano at the U of L with Dr. Deanna Oye and composition with Drs. Rolf Boon and Arlan Schultz. He has appeared on stages across Canada, England and continental Europe, received numerous awards both in piano and composition and regularly performs as a guest artist with several ensembles in Canada. He currently resides in Montréal where he studies with Paul Stewart of the University of Montréal.
“It’s exciting for us to be able to pair Bente and Jesse on stage again because they have such an incredible chemistry,” says Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Dr. Edward Jurkowski. “They are both wonderful pianists and have been performing together for eight years. I expect the audience will be swept up in their energy.”
The arrangement crafted by Plessis closely follows the format of the album. The track listing is the same and he and Hansen move from song to song seamlessly. Plessis has expertly explored ways to express the meaning and feeling of the Beatles’ lyrics through the piano, capturing the essence of the songs and complementing the album.
“We’re very proud to feature two of our exceptional alumni,” says Lyndsay Montina (BMgt ’09), manager of Alumni Relations. “The classical training they received as students here at the U of L set them off on different but complementary career paths and I know they are thrilled to continue to showcase their talents to the southern Alberta community.”
Tickets for the event are $30 each and include a reception and optional backstage tours. Tickets are available at the University Box Office (Monday to Friday, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.), by calling 403-329-2616 or online at ulethbridge.ca/tickets.