Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Ph.D’s by day, rockin’ guitar heroes by night

Students may know Keith Farrington in the classroom, but the sociology professor is known for his participation in several bands on and off of campus.

Farrington has been a member of the community band Vintage for three years.

He is also in two campus bands that mostly consist of faculty members: Loss of Faculties and Orange Fight.

“I played really seriously in New England when I was in Maine, at Bates College, and in graduate school at the University of New Hampshire and I played in what I think were a couple of really good sixties blues rock bands,” said Farrington.

“When I went to Graduate School I put my bass guitar away.   It was literally 23 years between when I put it away and took it out again. I started building a career in graduate school and then teaching at Whitman.   You don’t have a whole lot of extra time as a young professor,” said Farrington.

Farrington was reintroduced to playing music when, in 1993, he agreed to play in a fund-raiser for what was then his children’s day care Kid’s Place.

“[Organizers] tried to get people like me, you know professors that maybe had some kind of musical talent, to come out and play and so the fact that I hadn’t played for 23 years was immaterial,” said Farrington.

“I decided to come out and give it a try. I was horrible and I didn’t even think like a bass player anymore […] but there’s just something about having that instrument in my hands again and having my students and other people out there,” he said.

Vintage is not as well-known on campus, playing the occasional Coffee House.

However, Loss of Faculties is known for playing various campus events such as the Cakes for Casa fund-raiser hosted by Kappa Alpha Theta.
Faculties contains Whitman professors Matthew Prull, Paul Apostolidis, and John Cotts, as well as members Neil Christopherson and Whitman alumnus Norrie Gregoire.

“Loss of Faculties has a very small repertoire because we’re obviously faculty members first and family members second so there is really not much time […] to put into our music,” said Farrington.

“We have a very long list of songs that we want to work on, but not very many songs that we’ve learned well enough to play out.   Hopefully we will play those 10 or 12 songs well, because that’s all we’ve got.   And when you only play once or twice a year its not like everybody remembers the songs,” he said.

Orange Fight, another band that Farrington participates in, is the brainchild of Loss of Faculties member Christopherson.

“Orange Fight has only played two short shows so far.   This summer we played 3 songs at the Walla Walla Battle of the Bands, and then about a month ago, we were the house band for the Instant Play Festival.   We played a 30-minute set prior to the show in addition to short musical breaks between plays,” wrote Christopherson in an e-mail.

The band’s name is far different from the school-themed names of Loss of Faculties or another band, Piled High and Deep (P.H.D).

“My brother makes a home-brew that he calls Orange Fight, and I stole the name from him.   The label has a soldier throwing an orange instead of a grenade, which I liked.   We grew up in Redlands, California, which is an old citrus-growing town,” wrote Christopherson.

Christopherson names his main musical influence as Bob Dylan.

“My music library has a lot of classic rock as well as what could be called alternative, although I’m not really sure what that means anymore,” said Christopherson.

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