WILLIAMSPORT — The world of rock music has often been referred to as a “boys club.” A world where woman have contributed their talents since its creation, but have rarely made any serious impact. All of that changed for good however in the 1990s, when five women, including Lauren Hill, Bonnie Rait and Alanis Morissette, won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year.
On Nov. 15-16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport, the students of the Uptown Music Collective will demonstrate how the “he man woman haters” club of rock, has gone co-ed, with their presentation of “Jagged Little Pill: Two Decades of Women in Rock.” This fundraising concert for the 501 (c) 3 nonprofit school of music will feature music from some of the most influential and notable women in music over the past two decades, including Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Adele, Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and many more.
The 1990s saw major changes in music, grunge replaced “hair” metal as the most visible form of rock, the genre “alternative” was born, and a lesser known movement, often referred to as “third-wave feminism,” changed the musical landscape. This movement, spearheaded by bands and artists like Hole and Bikini Kill, combined with the revival of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement, known for artists such as Tracy Chapman, Ani Difranco and Jewel, caused a major resurgence of women in music.
The first sign this fundamental power shift had occurred came late in the decade with a concert tour known as the Lilith Fair, which first took place in the summer of 1997. The tour, which consisted solely of female solo artists and female led bands, was very successful and helped to change people’s perception of woman in rock. Perhaps the most important albums attributed to this movement were the many-times platinum “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette and “Tuesday Night Music Club,” the eponymous album by Sheryl Crow.
This female force continued into the 2000s up to the present day, with artists such as Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Adele, Alicia Keys and Florence and the Machine following in the heels of their predecessors.
It is to these artists that the students of the Collective will pay tribute, with enthusiastic, note for note renditions of their most popular songs performed in the type of high energy presentation for which the Uptown Music Collective has become known.
“Jagged Little Pill” will feature performers between 9 and 18 years of age who have been preparing for this performance for well over three months. “I cannot wait until the show,” said Cade Palmatier, 10, one of the student performers. “It will really blow the roof off the Community Arts Center. I am most excited about the song ‘Don’t Speak.’ I have worked tremendously hard on it. It is going to be one of the most remarkable shows I’ve ever been in.”
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. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians, spot light operators and video operators.