From blues to rock

Long after the lights fall dark and the guitars go in their cases, the spirit of rock’n’roll remains.

Now, that spirit is coming to life at the Whitman Center for all to see.

Every year, the MCCC Foundation grants Whitman director Sandy Kosmyna $600 to erect monthly, themed displays.

February’s exhibit is entitled “From Blues to Rock” and includes a “History of Rock” section that goes all the way back to 1877.

The exhibit includes a contribution from musical history instructor Kim Goss.

Goss, who is scheduled to speak on the topic on Feb. 23, loaned part of his personal collection of autographed rock albums to the Whitman Center for use in the exhibit.

“Sandy mentioned it to me a year ago that they did these different topics each month – that they’d like to do one on rock’n’roll music,” Goss said.

“I grew up listening to classic rock and still love it.”

The albums in the display cabinet include signatures from the likes of Ian Anderson, Dicky Vetts of the Allman Brothers, and Steve Howe of Yes. They can be seen on display through Feb. 28.

“Most of our speakers are people from other colleges or people with expertise,” Kosmyna said.

“It gives [students] an opportunity to learn about something that may not be talked about in the classroom.”

The exhibit also includes a long line of chronologically organized album covers by legendary personalities and bands. Exhibit viewers can see the gentle cursives, psychedelic prints, unexpected pictures, and strange landscapes that can be expected of hippie-era artwork.

Jimi Hendrix, Queen, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash are a handful of the legends representing the rock universe in the Whitman exhibit.

Complimenting the timeline of album covers are mentions of still-famous titles like Presley’s “Hound Dog.”

“I am excited,” Goss said, regarding his upcoming presentation.

“My goal is to let people see the profound influence the blues have had on rock.”

Helping Goss is another part of the exhibit: a standing, multi-part poster which includes the “History of Rock” timeline.

Adding to the various dimensions of the rock experience, as depicted by the Whitman-hosted exhibit, is the scene of a man busting through saloon doors on that poster-like display.

From the unassembled peanut butter and jelly sandwich Jefferson Airplane album cover to the very patriotic Beach Boys artwork, the silent part of the exhibit offers a view of all dimensions available in the rock and roll experience.

“Like all good music, it brings you enjoyment,” Goss said.

“I like the way our presenter, Kim Goss, will not only lecture, but will play music throughout the presentation. I’m excited about that,” Kosmyna said.

Goss said he will bring several guitars and use them to show his audience some examples of blues and rock characteristics.

The exhibit itself is set to give way to the March theme of Women’s History Month, but for now, the Whitman Center is concentrated on blues and rock.

“It’s great to see the number of people who turn out for some of our events,” Kosmyna said.  

“That’s why we will continue to do it here, because we’ve had good response from the community and students and staff.”