UNCG Campus Weekly

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Faculty, staff, and alumni Spartans Play ‘Dead’

Photo of faculty playing music

Spartans Play Dead members Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard (right) and Dr. James Anderson rehearse Grateful Dead songs ahead of their Feb. 15 performance.

Spartans Play Dead, UNCG’s own Grateful Dead cover band, has been hard at work preparing for its Feb. 15 performance at The Crown at the Carolina Theatre.

As part of Another Year of the Dead, a yearlong celebration of the Grateful Dead legacy,  Dr. Rebecca Adams conceived the idea of bringing together UNCG musicians to bring the band’s music to life. In November, she put out the call for auditions and a band was formed shortly after.

Dozens of musicians responded to the initial call for auditions, so whittling the ensemble down wasn’t easy. In fact, shortly after rehearsals began, the group split into two distinct bands — an electric band and an acoustic band. Between both bands, 12 UNCG students, alumni, faculty, and staff members will be playing some of the Grateful Dead’s most beloved songs.

Spartans Play Dead boasts a diverse lineup: alumni Bob Worrells, Jason Blalock, Justin Able, Jeremy Fountain, and David Bryan; faculty members Dr. James Anderson, Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard, Dr. Gavin Douglas, and Dr. Robert Anemone; students Ryan Waide and Matt Armstrong; and staff member Dave McFayden.

For a band put together so quickly, the music is coming together wonderfully, said Dr. Robert Anemone, head of the Department of Anthropology and acoustic guitarist.

“Rehearsals have been magical, and in a very short time the music is really coming together, which can be tough given the improvisational nature of the music of The Grateful Dead,” said Anemone. “They rarely played a song the same way twice.”

The performance will be held Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. in The Crown at the Carolina Theatre. The performance is free and open to the public.

Click here for more information on Another Year of the Dead events, including the New Revolution Art Revelation gallery at Greensboro Project Space and screenings of the documentary “Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead.”

Photo and text by Victor Ayala