SFA's Rockin' Axes

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Rockin' Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program "The Sounds of the '70s" when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

The concert will feature the music of the widely popular Stevie Wonder; the Bee Gees; Kansas; Billy Joel; the Eagles; Earth, Wind and Fire; and others.

The Rockin' Axes is comprised of students in the SFA School of Music's Sound Recording Technology program. Their course focus has been on influential and popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries, according to Andrew Sperandeo, SRT instructor and director/arranger for the Rockin' Axes.

"This course is designed to assist students in developing the skills necessary to transcribe, rehearse, arrange and perform in an ensemble setting," Sperandeo explained.

Last year, the students performed some of the more influential rock, pop and rhythm-and-blues music of the 1950s and '60s.

"This year, I wanted the students to experience the evolution of the popular genres as well as to see how they relate to the earlier artists we covered," Sperandeo said.

Wonder's "I Wish" is on the program because the artist is "a great example of a talented songwriter and musician who is very capable of many genres, including R&B, rock and jazz," he said.

The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" was selected to expose the students to disco, while "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas shows "that a rock song can be catchy and still have a lot of substance," Sperandeo said, adding the song has "soaring harmonized vocals, feel and time signature changes, as well as good ole blues guitar solos."

No '70s concert is complete without the music of the Eagles, Sperandeo said, and "Hotel California" features "pleasant harmonized vocals and the iconic guitar solos."

"This song shows again how popular music does not have to be 'dumbed down,'" he said. "The chord progression utilizes some basic secondary dominant functions to create the well-known verse section of this tune."

Earth, Wind and Fire's "September" is "a great way to end the night on a positive and upbeat note for the students, the audience and the director," Sperandeo said.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.