'Night with the Living Dead: The 27 Club' in Williamsport

Neil Young once said, “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” a sentence that would later be echoed in the suicide note of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain. In 1994 Cobain became a member of the “27 Club,” a group of musicians who all died tragically at the young age of 27.

Other well known members of this exclusive club include; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and most recently, Amy Winehouse. On October 28-29 at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Community Arts Center in Williamsport, over 40 Uptown Music Collective students will pay tribute to these legendary musicians with their presentation of Night with the Living Dead: The 27 Club.

The Halloween performance, a sequel to the groundbreaking Uptown Music Collective performance Night With the Living Dead (2008), will celebrate the music of these artists, who in spite of their lives being cut short, left the world an amazing musical legacy. In what has become a trademark of Uptown Music Collective major performances, students will perform highly polished, note for note renditions of select master works from each artist, infusing each with their own artistry while delivering an exciting, high energy performance.  

Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective (a 501c 3 non profit school of music) has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area, with an enrollment of over 120 students. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs old, but is open to all ages and levels.

Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including most recently Rhythm Nation, a collaboration between the Collective and the Milissa Augustine Dance Academy.

Night with the Living Dead: The 27 Club, will feature performers between 9 and 18 years of age who have been preparing for this performance for well over two months. Along with the live music, there will be accompanying video presentations as well as a powerful light and sound show organized by the students themselves. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students are not only the performers, but also direct the show. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians, spot light operators and video operators.

The student leadership committee for this show includes: Directors Nuria Hunter, 17, Williamsport Area High School; and Brandon Route, 17, Williamsport Area High School; along with Tess Clutter, 15, Williamsport Area High School; Katie Kahn, 16, Williamsport Area High School; Garrett Gaetano,17, Loyalsock Township High School; A.J. Robbins, 13, Loyalsock Township Middle School; Shawn Chism, 15, Cyber School; Gabe Stillman, 16, Williamsport Area High School; Dylan Rockoff, 17, Loyalsock Township High School; Jasmine Harlan,16, Cyber School; Ronnie Reynolds,16, Loyalsock Township High School. The leadership committee is under the supervision of Uptown Music Collective Executive Director, Dave Brumbaugh.

“The musical legacy left for future generations by the founding members of the 27 Club, Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison, still resonates with our youth today,” said Dave Brumbaugh. “The biggest tragedy, beyond the obvious loss of their presence, is the loss of the amazing music these creative artists and the newer members of this dubious club would be producing today if their lives had not been cut so tragically short. While their problems in life and the ways in which they handled them may not set the best example for our young people, the importance of their music and what they accomplished in their short careers cannot be ignored. Teaching this music over the last few weeks has put me back in touch with my musical roots and also built within me a new appreciation for both Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. This show is going to be something quite special and anyone who loves rock music owes it to themselves not to miss it.”

Night with the Living Dead: The 27 Club is sponsored by Superior Plus Energy Services, The Rockoff Family, Turn Key Construction, and Woodlands Bank. Media sponsor for this event is Backyard Broadcasting .Tickets for the performance are $10 in advance and $15 at the door with the proceeds benefiting the Uptown Music Collective (a 501 c3 Non-Profit School of Music).

Tickets are available at The Uptown Music Collective (848 West Fourth St., Williamsport) and The Community Arts Center Box Office (220 West Fourth St., Williamsport) as well as Alabaster Coffee (410 Pine Street, Williamsport) and K & S Music (1116 West Southern Ave, South Williamsport).

For more information about, Night with the Living Dead: The 27 Club, or the Uptown Music Collective, check out www.uptownmusic.org or call 570-329-0888.

“I cannot wait for opening night of this show. The audience will be blown away. We have some amazing ideas coming. The songs are great; overall it’s going to be a sweet show.” –Katie Kahn, 16, Williamsport Area High School
“I think this show is going to be amazing! It will have so many great moments…It will be killer!” – Zack Chism, 13, South Williamsport Area High School.
“I’m particularly excited for this show because I kind of feel like somewhat of a ‘big dog’ now. It’s cool remembering what my first show was like and seeing all the younger kids come up in the way that all of us older kids did.” – Maverick Vicars, 16, Williamsport Area High School
“This show is a great mix of all different kinds of rock, from all different kinds of artists. It is a great rush to be playing songs from people that will never make music again. Although it is bitter-sweet to think that all these great artists are gone, I also like to think that we’re paying them an ultimate tribute by working very hard and performing with all the energy and emotion that they did. This show will knock you dead!”
-Jasmine Harlan, 16, PA Cyber School
“Shows like this provide something for everyone. From the in your face grudge of Nirvana to the laid back smooth blues of Amy Winehouse to the intense guitar sounds of Jimi Hendrix, everyone will walk away feeling satisfied. As young musicians it is important for us to look to some of those musicians who made such an impact in such a short period of time. While it is tragic that they each left at the premature age of 27 the mark all five of these artists’ left behind is enormous. That is why we hold such respect for each and every member of the 27 club.” –Nuria Hunter, 17, Williamsport Area High School
“We have the honor to cover some amazing music in this show. The artists are all legendary not just for their early demise, but also for their contribution to the music of their era.  I am particularly excited to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse’s smoky jazz sound, as well as Janis Joplin’s amazing vocals. The music in this show can be very technical at times and will require a lot of work, not just from the up-and-comings, but also us who have been around a while. I think everyone is looking forward to the challenge and is ready to put in some hard hours to make this an amazing show.”  -- Shannon Cantor, 17, Loyalsock High School


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