Jenks class brings together community musicians
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Monday, February 25, 2013
2/25/13 at 5:29 AM
JENKS - The group kicked off the class/band practice Thursday night with the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," which didn't come easy without the drummer, who had taken his wife to dinner for Valentine's Day.
After several starts of the well-known rock riff, the six guitar players found the groove and made their way through the song.
It was only the second meeting of the Jenks Community Rock Band, a class and practice session where musicians of any instrument and any skill level can come and learn to play the roots, and branches, of rock 'n' roll.
The class, offered through the Jenks Community Education Program, meets Thursday nights in the East Elementary cafeteria.
The band leader, Jeff Thomas, said it's open to anyone with the ability to play his or her instrument, although he'd like to have more people who can play keyboards, percussion and brass instruments.
The class' song list, or syllabus, covers the first decades of rock and different genres, including early rock of the 1950s, the British Invasion, soul, dance, girl groups, pop rock, classic rock, garage bands, psychedelic and surf rock.
As the players learn the song and its layers of parts and elements, they also learn a little history about it and the artist who wrote it or made it famous.
"We want to do more than just jam, that's the point of the class," said Thomas, who pointed to community orchestras or community bands but the lack of community rock bands. "That's a whole area of music that isn't being addressed."
The goal is by the end of the semester, the group can hold a concert and play through some of the songs they've learned together.
Reid Wixson, whose children attend Jenks schools, got a flier in the mail about community education classes and wanted to exercise his musical abilities, which include playing guitar, flute and keyboards.
"I'm having a blast. I haven't done this in years," Wixson said. "For me, this is a night in my zone."
Blair Powell said he played in bands across the globe, but in 2007, he put his guitar away and came back home.
"I moved back here to the states and stuffed (my guitar) in my closet," Powell said, but when looking for courses to take now that he's on the verge of retirement, he saw the community rock band and decided to play again.
He appreciates the variety of music the class tackles, Powell said.
"The last band I played in, we did reggae, folk, funk, rock. I tried for polka," he said.
What's great about the class is it brings in people who may have never met or played together, Thomas said.
"We have IT people, people in the medical field, I'm a (certified public accountant) ... aviation, retired guys," he said.
"It's a cool way to bring people from different walks of life together."
Jenks Community Rock Band
What: Musicians study and perform music from the early decades of rock 'n' roll
Where: Jenks East Elementary School cafeteria
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays
Prerequisite: An instrument and the ability to play it
For more: Go to tulsaworld.com/jenkscommunityed or send an email to email@example.com
Original Print Headline: School of rock
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Mick Hewson (left), Jeff Thomas and Allen McCurdy practice a song in the Jenks East Elementary School cafeteria. Thomas leads the Jenks Community Rock Band, where adults study music from the genre's early stages. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Jeff Thomas, leader of the Jenks Community Rock Band, and Mick Hewson (top) practice a song at their rehearsal space in a school cafeteria. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Mick Hewson (left), Jeff Thomas and Ken Bezan (bottom right) practice a song in the Jenks East Elementary School cafeteria. Thomas leads the Jenks Community Rock Band, where adults study music from the genre's early stages. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World