The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) is gearing up for a momentous celebration as it marks the 50th anniversary of a pivotal event in rock and roll history.
On Feb. 6, 1974, the campus played host to an electrifying performance by none other than KISS.
Reminiscing about that unforgettable night, Frank Shufletoski vividly recalls the shock and awe that accompanied KISS’s arrival. He was a journalism student at the time, and dropped by the gymnasium to take a few photographs.
“They were loud, painted up, in six-inch platform shoes,” said Shufletoski. “The crowd was kind of in disbelief as to what’s going on.”
With their flamboyant costumes, towering platform shoes and facepaint, KISS left an unforgettable impression.
“They were really good,” Shufletoski added. “I only took two rolls of film. If I had known where they would have ended up, I would have shot a lot more.”
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KISS’s performance at SAIT wasn’t just another rock show, it was a seismic event. SAIT instructor Richard Stroobant says it was so loud, it alerted local authorities.
“Nobody knew they were coming,” said Stroobant. “They had the big KISS lights, and they turned the volume up to 11. There was a bank in the same building. And when the pyrotechnics went off and the music started the alarm started going. About 12 police officers showed up with the bank manager thinking somebody blew up the bank, trying to rob it.”
Fast forward to the present day, and SAIT is preparing to pay homage to its rock and roll roots with a special radio broadcast. The student-led radio station Power 103 is rebranding to KISS 103, and on Feb. 6, it will play wall-to-wall KISS, along with special feature pieces.
It’s something that students like Zane Bauer say they are proud to be a part of.
“We have special segments like the evolution of KISS, going through their history, and some interviews that the jocks will play with people who were there at the actual event,” said Bauer.
“I love being able to try new things. I would have never guessed I would be doing anything like this at the beginning of the semester.”
SAIT’s student radio station is leading the charge with a full-day lineup of KISS-themed programming. From live tracks to exclusive interviews, listeners can expect a non-stop barrage of rock anthems and behind-the-scenes insights into the band’s meteoric rise to fame.
“It’s going to be so exciting,” said Bauer. “Every single one of my classmates, including me, have all worked together for our big day. This is a way to show not only SAIT, but Calgary and beyond what we are accomplishing here.”
Stroobant says it’s encouraging to see the students take on this unique learning opportunity.
“We’ve been planning this since December,” he added. “Finding people, interviewing them, and getting a hold of them to learn more about the story and finding out exactly what happened. It’s become bigger than they thought it would be.”
As the countdown to Feb. 6 begins, SAIT is inviting rock enthusiasts from near and far to join in the festivities. Tune in to RTBN.ca on the big day and get ready to rock and roll all night long. The program will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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