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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
by: Tonya Lowentritt
IMPAIRED FACULTIES – A Southeastern Louisiana University faculty member band, "Impaired Faculties," will play a benefit concert for Fanfare and Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the downtown Hammond Theatre. Pictured from left are Randy Settoon, Dan McCarthy, Joe Burns, Bill Robison and Ralph Wood.
HAMMOND - What do college professors in the fields of communication, history, health studies, management and physics have in common?
In the case of an odd-matched group of faculty members at Southeastern Louisiana University it's a love of music, as well as a desire to give back something to the arts.
The new rock group, calling themselves "Impaired Faculties," consists of Southeastern's Bill Robison, guitarist and vocalist; Joe Burns, guitarist and vocalist; Ralph Wood, drummer; Randy Settoon, bassist and vocalist; and Dan McCarthy, keyboards and vocalist. They will play a concert to benefit Fanfare and Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts at the downtown Hammond theatre on Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m.
According to Robison – whose day job consists of serving as head of the Department of History and Political Science -- the group was born of the common desire for the five members to return to playing before live audiences, which they all did with various bands when they were considerably younger.
Other members' academic credentials include McCarthy as dean of the College of Science and Technology; Settoon as former dean of the College of Business and now professor of management; Burns as a communication professor and founder of the popular KSLU radio show "Rock School;" and Wood, professor of health education and promotion.
As for the name, Robison says it is, "an exercise in self-deprecating humor." While the band takes the music very seriously, they do not take themselves very seriously at all.
"The 'faculties' part of the name is pretty obvious," he explained. "Impaired refers to what the budget has done to us in the last six years, which is also the reason why a benefit concert is necessary in the first place. 'Impaired Faculties' might also be a joke about our age, but it is not a reference to substance abuse, unless you count caffeine."
Robison said he is having the time of his life playing in the most congenial and talented group of which he has ever have been a part.
"The members' maturity, sobriety, and restrained egos combine with a shared enthusiasm to make every moment a joy," he added.
In 2013, Robison approached Columbia Theatre Interim Director Roy Blackwood with the idea of a rock concert to benefit the Columbia and Fanfare featuring a band made up of entirely non-music faculty, and Blackwood accepted.
Robinson said they formed a group excluding music faculty for a specific reason.
"The music faculty are, by definition, capable; thus, any excitement associated with one of their performances is a comfortable, complacent excitement based on the certainty they will be good," Robison explained. "With Impaired Faculties, there is an element of surprise. Will we be good or will the wheels come off onstage? The only way to find out is to come to the show."
Burns shares Robison's enthusiasm for the group.
"This is a project I think we're all proud to be part of. People are going to be impressed when they hear it," he said. "The five of us started doing it just for kicks but it's gelled into something bigger than that. It rocks pretty good. You know what they say – it's only Rock and Roll, but we like it."
Although the band will play cover songs for the benefit concert, they have written and recorded music and will begin work on original songs later this year to perform and record their own music.
Tickets for the concert are available at the Columbia Theatre box office from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, by phone at 985-543-4371, or online at www.columbiatheatre.org.
Tickets are $15 for loge seats, $12 for the orchestra and balcony, and $5 in the orchestra and balcony for students with a university ID.