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Music history class ready to rock on April 6

From left to right Justin Campbell (guitar and lead vocals), Josh Sexton (percussion), Jamison Dexter (guitar), Taylor-Anne Bartholomew (vocals) and Thomas Cowart (drums), along with bass player Andrew Grout (not pictured) form the band Stellar, which will play April 6 as part of a concert put on by the music history class at The Dalles Wahtonka High School. The concert will be in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.

From left to right Justin Campbell (guitar and lead vocals), Josh Sexton (percussion), Jamison Dexter (guitar), Taylor-Anne Bartholomew (vocals) and Thomas Cowart (drums), along with bass player Andrew Grout (not pictured) form the band Stellar, which will play April 6 as part of a concert put on by the music history class at The Dalles Wahtonka High School. The concert will be in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. Photo by Jade McDowell.

— The songs of Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and other rock legends can be heard most days in the music history class at The Dalles Wahtonka High School, and this weekend they are coming to a stage near you.

The class is putting on their second concert of the year on Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 and admission is free, although donations are welcome.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and great music,” said Taylor-Anne Bartholomew. She is a member of the six-person band Stellar, one of several bands that have formed in the class. Stellar will be headlining Saturday’s concert.

Josh Sexton, the band’s manager, said the band practices in class but also tries to squeeze in rehearsals after school.

“It’s kind of hard to balance practice with school work,” he said.

Not all of the students in music history are in a band. Several members of the class form the production crew. Their jobs range from keeping the lights and sound system running to booking a venue (their last concert was at the Civic Auditorium) and promoting the show.

“It’s basically job experience,” said Caleb Ray, the production manager. “I always wanted to go into a career that was basically techie, and I’m really into music.”

Production team member Scott Terry said the team’s jobs behind the scenes are important to the bands in the spotlight.

“We make them sound better,” he said, noting he has learned skills from working a sound board to selling tickets.

Some members of the production team are musicians themselves, but others said when they read the syllabus they didn’t realize that the class involved hands-on experience. One team member said she signed up for music history because she was looking for “a boring class I could sleep through.”

The class is definitely not a sleep-through-it type of class. According to class members, throughout the year bands have been formed, kicked out members, broken up, merged and been renamed. The students use the band room where the class is held to rehearse, often during class time.

Paul Viemeister, the teacher, has to approve the set list bands use, but leaves most of the work of putting together concerts to the students.

“The class is basically run by the students; he’s just the facilitator,” said Tori Edmisten.

The class’s last concert of the year will be sometime in June.

The music at the April 6 concert will be mostly classic rock. The set list includes hits like TNT and Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC, Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf, Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath, Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.

Ciera Abrahms said the class’s previous concert brought back memories for some.

“My mom said she liked it because it brought back memories for her of listening to this kind of music and rocking out to it and it was fun to see it brought back to life,” she said.

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