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December 04, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-04

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 4, 1979-Page 5

Ye festive sing
anticipates holidays
The spirit of Christmas past and elsewhere paid a visit to Ann Arbor
Sunday night. It came from the days. when the holidays were pageants,
celebrations, and true festivals of merriment and song, and "not just the orgy of
gift giving and ripping paper apart."-
Said spirit arose in a concert, entitled "Nowell Sing We Clear," performed
by British folksingers John Roberts, Tony Barrand, Fred Breunig, and Steve
Woodruff at St. Andrew's Church, and sponsored by the Ark and Canterbury
Loft. The four musicians are touring the country-spreading an old fashioned
version of the Christmas spirit, emphasizing not only the attendant fuss over
the birth of Jesus, but the rituals, myths, and traditions associated with the
coming of winter and the approach of the mid-winter holidays.
The spirit of the evening was neither commercial nor insufferably laced
with sentimentality and goodwill: The songs, plays and stories communicated
joy and the fervor of true celebration.
"We are trying to put the dance back in Christmas," said Tony Barrand, in-
r ".,
Tony Barrand and John Roberts during an earlier Ark performance.
troducing the sprightly, almost Dionysian "The Lord of the Dance." Soon after,
the foursome sang:
h fRise up, Jock, and sing your song,
For the summer is short and the winter long.
Let's all join hands and form a chain
'Til the leaves of springtime bloom again.
The comfort in a song like this, being sung, as it was, on one of the colder nights
of the ineluctably approaching winter, is that it redeems the frosty months and
our choice to live in a brutal climate: We will earn our spring season, unlike
those in a more temperate climate.
ABSOLUTELY NOT ENOUGH can be said about the, incredible talents of
Roberts and Barrand. The duo, who performed in last January's Second Ann
Arbor Folk Festival at the Power Center, were the centerpiece of "Nowell Sing
We Clear," and their act was completely professional.
It's not enough that they sing in perfect, blending harmonies and never
miss a word, but their stage presence is warm and effective, rounding out their
performance without a rough edge.
. When all four men sang together, their reedy harmonies never missed, and
the instrumentation-concertinas, fiddles, and accordions-was tasteful,
smooth, and of a piece with the entire performance.
Still, though Roberts, Barrand and company may have a mission in
bringing old traditions out into the light, there was no sense of reproachful
tsking at an audience mostly steeped in a single-shot "OhWBoy!" Christmas.
"Nowell Sing We Clear" was neither a lecture or a sermon, but a pageant (early
in the month, yes) designed to raise all voices together in remembrance of what
Said Barrand, "Christms begins on the 25th, it doesn't end there."

'U' cre'
The annual presentation of Handel's
Messiah in Hill Auditorium came off
admirably well this past weekend.
Donald Bryant led the gala performan-
ce of soloists, chorus, and orchestra,
and considering that the majority of
performers were University students
and community members, the presen-
tation was quite good.
The orchestra was at its best when
accompanying the chorus of soloists,
playing ,or them rather than forcing
the soloists to follow their lead: In the
opening "Sinfonia" as well as in the
"Pastoral Symphony," the orchestra
was not as impressive. At times, there
seemed to be a struggle to stay together
between the various sections. The or-
chestra deserves praise for their work,
with special recognition to Scott
Schroeder and Kenneth Olsen, who
handled all trumpet solos confidently
and securely.
THE WEAKEST LINK of the per-
formance was the soloists. None of the

w can Handel it

soloists were exceptional and only the
tenor, David Eisler, sang his part
musically and with a full tone. The con-
tralto and the soprano, Victoria Grof
and Elizabeth Parcells, had good voices
but both lacked volume. Donald Bell,
the bassist, was harsh in his approach.
He sang all his runs stacatto (short and
separate) rather than legato (smooth
and connected), and his stage manner
was removed and condescending.
The chorus was well prepared and
gav'e the evening its brightest momen-
ts. Approximately 300 voices combined,
filling the auditorium with a full, rich
sound. The final "Amen" chorus was
professionally done, yielding all the
power and excitement that the music

demands. An amateur group achieving
such precision and ensemble is a rare
accomplishment, and one for which all
members can be proud. Donald
Bryant obviously knows how to work
with a choral group and bring them up
to their highest potential.

Use Daily
Classif ieds

Edell, Lippett shine
in Oasis concert

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Following Therese Edell and Betsy
Lippett's Saturday night performance
at the First Unitarian Church, one con-
cert-goer summed up the evening: "On
a scale of one to ten, I'd rate it a fif-
Edell and Lippett are responsive, un-
pretentious musicians from Cincinnati.
They sing about women's concer-
ns-growing up, careers, marriage,
and women's love for each other and in
concert they bantered with one another
and the sell-out crowd of 250.
At one point, singing against an accor-
dian from a wedding downstairs, Edell
gracefully used the music to introduce
a song about her sister's wedding and
marriage. Her voice is rich and direct,
and she sings passionately, often
playfully. She demonstrated her ver-
satility by singing a sensitive and
moving song about a woman con-
sidering suicide, and later an amusing
defense of Ohio, which she acted out
with her hands while she sang.
LIPPETT IS not only a singer, but a
violinist cs well. She used both talents
Saturday. night, often within the same
song. Her voice, sandy and fluid, com-
plemented her partner's and stood well
on its own. She highlighted an extraor-
dinary old English ballad by swinging
her bow during particular phrases.
Later, Lippett used the bow in a
striking number which combined
singing and acting.
Edell and Lippett were introduced to
Ann Arbor at a 1978 concert at the
Michigan Women's Music Festival in
which Edell served as M.C. Last spring

they produced their firat album, From
Women's Faces, on a Sea Friends
Records, a feminist recording company
owned by Edell and Teresa Boykin,
their sound engineer.
These women's songs are written by-
Ellen McIlwaine, of country-western
style, and Joni Mitchel, but most are
authored by the women themselves or
their friends.
OASIS, A women's production com-
pany, brought Edell and Lippett to Ann
Arbor. Because Oasis is committed to
giving local artists an audience, their
concerts usually begin with such per-
formers. This concert was no excep-
tion; Kathy Moore and Joyce Schon
sang a short, enjoyable set, mixing
Motown and women's music. Moore
began with an a capella version of Cris
Williamson's "Shooting Star."
Schon followed with "Joan Little," a
powerful song about the famous woman
who killed a jail guard when he tried to
rape her. These singers ended with
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough," a
Motown classic, to wild applause and a
standing ovation.
Quite an oasis of an evening, I'd say.

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..mommom m"

recovering nicely when further tragedy
struck. He has had to undergo two brain
operations recently' and suffered' a
stroke that has left him partially (and
temporarily) paralyzed.
The financial burden on the young
folksinger has been eased somewhat
through benefit concerts throughout the
country (Linda Ronstadt is expected to
give one, as is Pete Seeger). He is.
currently recovering in a hospital out
east, and his fans and friends are urged
to write him care of Front Hall Recor-
ds, RD 1, Wormer Road, Voorheesville,
N.Y. 12186.

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1401 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15206



._ 1



Still Cooney After All These Years
Michael Cooney
Front Hall
Michael Cooney hates to make recor-
ds, but does once in a while -
presumably because everyone asks
him to and, hell, he could use the bucks.
Though it is always preferable to see
one of our country's most eclectic and
personable traditional folksingers in
pWrson, his albums are wonderful fac-
The third such effort; Still Cooney Af-
ter All These Years, is his best to date.
The song selection shines, and, for the
first time, Cooney has relaxed in the
studio enough to let his whimsey show
through, playing with the, nuance of ex-
pression in his lyrics and pounding on
his instruments just like in concert.
Most of the cuts are traditional -
with the exception of "Me and My
Shadow - and they include "Sloop John
B.," the haunting "Spanish
Flang-dang," and "Woah Back Buck,"
an instantly captivating tune that can-
not be beat for images of rural Ap-
palachian farming (that we all love so
,COONEY was in a serious auto ac-
Sdent in August of this year - as
reported in the Daily - and was

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