In November of 1979, English progressive rock band Pink Floyd released its eleventh album, "The Wall." Thirty-four years later, the band and the album still resonate deeply with today's youth. So much so that on April 25, 26 and 27, the Uptown Music Collective will bring the epic rock opera live to the stage of the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., for the second time in seven years.
" 'The Wall' is a double album whose central theme is abandonment and personal isolation and what can happen as a result," said Jared Mondell, UMC staff member and director of the 2006 performance. "Although the album is known for hit songs like 'Comfortably Numb,' 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2', 'Run Like Hell' and 'Hey You,' most would say it is best heard as a complete work."
The concept for "The Wall" was first conceived during the band's 1977 tour when bassist and lyricist Rodger Waters, who was frustrated with concert goers, imagined building a wall between his band and the audience.
On April 25, 26 and 27, the Uptown Music Collective will perform the epic rock opera Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”?live on the stage of the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., for the second time in seven years.
The album is described as a rock opera and focuses on the character Pink, who is based on Waters, with some of the characteristics of the band's original leader, Syd Barrett, mixed in. In 1982, a live action-animated musical film was released based off of the album and Waters' screenplay. The film built upon the album's success and concept, using symbolic imagery and sound with very little dialogue, instead allowing the story to be told through the music.
To bring this epic album to life, the Uptown Music Collective has partnered with the Community Arts Center, the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, The Williamsport Area High School Orchestra, area arranger and orchestrator Rob Byham and the Fairfield Auto Group among others.
"To fully realize the sound of the album, we felt we would need an orchestra. Luckily, we found a willing partner in Matt Radspinner and the WAHS Orchestra," said Dave Brumbaugh, executive director of the Uptown Music Collective. "To make that work, we needed funding from the FCFP, which we received in the form of a grant that allowed us to pay for Rob Byham to orchestrate the entire album as well as help fund our staging concept. We will be creating a rather large piece of scenery, a 40-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall wall, with a few other exciting features, plus a great light and video show. Thanks to our affiliation with the crew and staff of the Community Arts Center and the support of our sponsors, including our primary sponsor Fairfield Auto Group, the plan is all coming together."
This album is not new territory to the nonprofit school of music. The Collective brought "The Wall" to life in May of 2006 as the school's first major performance on the Community Arts Center's stage. The performance brought about major accolades from the community and solidified the relationship between the Collective and the Arts Center.
Since that time, the Collective has performed over 10 major performances on the CAC stage.
"We were a much younger and less experienced organization when we first brought 'The Wall' to the stage of the Community Arts Center," said Brumbaugh. "We have learned so much since then about how to put together a show, how to prepare our students and the best ways to use sound, lights and special effects. Without a doubt, this show will be the most extravagant concert event we have brought to the stage yet and that's saying a lot after last year's epic 'Killer Queen' performance."
"The Wall," which is being produced by CAC executive director Rob Steele, will feature performers between 9 and 18 years of age who have been preparing for this performance for over three months. Along with the live music, there will be 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.