Consider this list of newsworthy events: The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, the Watergate scandal led to Richard Nixon's resignation, Karol Jozef Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II, Iran took 52 Americans hostage and Jim Jones masterminded the Jonestown massacre.
Those who lived through that turbulent decade will have no problem identifying it as the 1970s. But decades are also defined by music and fashion trends. The 1970s conjure images of miniskirts, bell-bottoms, platform shoes, bell-sleeved shirts, polyester suits and spandex.
Musically, the '70s were no less diverse, from disco, funk and new wave to hard rock, country rock and soft rock prevailing. That wide range of musical styles will be the focus of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic's 2012-13 pops season opener.
Jack Everly, a frequent guest conductor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, will present “Disco Days and Boogie Nights,” a tribute to the 1970s that will feature guest vocalists Farah Alvin, N'Kenge, Anne Beck and the a cappella group Chapter 6.
In 1998, Everly created the Symphonic Pops Consortium, an Indianapolis-based organization that produces theatrical pops programs for symphony orchestras. In addition to being the consortium's music director, Everly works with some of the industry's top orchestrators — Fred Barton, Wayne Barker and Mike Runyan — to create innovative musical arrangements.
“We had already created programs that paid tribute to the 1940s, '50s and '60s so the '70s seemed like the next logical step,” Everly said recently. “With these shows, you always have to ask yourself if the pieces you want to program will translate into a symphonic medium.
“In planning these decade concerts, it all comes down to what's appropriate for the style of the music. Did a song become popular at the beginning of a decade, was it a turning point or was it released near the end of the decade? It's something we analyze about every piece.”