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March 21, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-21

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, March 21, 1979-Page 5
arts &entertainment

Fisk Singers hold a jubilee

By MATTHEW KOPKA
The Fisk University Jubilee Singers
appeared at Rackham Auditorium
Saturday night in the second event of
the Ypsi-Arbor Black Arts Festival.
They delivered seventeen songs in a
style that their director Matthew Ken-
nedy said is unique, "slave songs in
origin," but in "a kind of classical ren-
dition."
Fisk University, a school in Nash-
ville, Tennessee, had been open for five
years and was near bankruptcy in 1871
when the Reverend George White, "a
New England gentleman" according to
Mr. Kennedy, took a group of singers
with beautiful voices on a tour of the
North that garnered enough money to
save the school.
WHJTE AND successive directors of
the singers took "traditional songs in
the public domain," and adapted them
to the classical choral idiom to produce
a music that complemented the style of
the proper school, the "Black Harvard
of the South," as singer Bernard Mc-
Cree told me the school is called.
The music had an ethereal quality
that would not be out of place in some of
Europe's Gothic and Baroque chur-
ches. Its likeness to traditional
European church music was made ap-
parent by the inclusion of J. S. Bach's
All Breathing Life, Sing and Praise Ye
ARTS
STAFF'
ARTS EDITORS
R. J. SMITH ERIC ZORN
THEATER EDITOR
JOSH PECK
STAFF WRITERS
bill barbour, mary bacarella, tony
bloenk, mark coleman, anthony
chen, mark dighton, el:eanora
dilisciajim eckert, scott eyerly, pat
fabrizio, owen gleiberman, kurt-
grosman,sdiane haithman, katie
herzfeld, steve hook, mark johanm-
son, matt kopka, mark kowalsky,.
marty levine, lee levine, rich
loringer, peter manis, anna nissen,
gerard pape, lily prigionero, kim
potter, alan rubenfeld, anne sharp,
nina shishkoff, mike taylor, keith
tosolt, peter wallach, dan weiss,
carol wierzbicki, tim yagle.

the Lord in the program. Though the
Bach work differed ir the greater num-
ber of sung syllables per bar it had, it
was quite similar to the classical black
music of most of the rest of the concert.
Melodically and rhythmically simple
music was re-introduced to European
churchgoers by Martin Luther, who
saw a need to involve people more fully
in the religious service than did the
Catholic church. He wrote hymns that
could be easily learned and sung. Often
as Bach was to do some 200 years later,
folk melodies were given inspirational
lyrics, which later also-happened with
American black music.
THOUGH RACKHAM'S acoustics
have a muffling effect on sound, the
holy music, the beautiful harmonies
and the extremely garish comfort of the
hall gave one a sense of deep-muscle
relaxation throughout the performan-
ce.
Some of the highlights included a
stirring solo by Kimberly Flynne in a
multi-tempoed version of "He's Got the
Whole World in His Hands," and a
powerful version of the well-known
spiritual "This Little Light of Mine."
There was a fugue-like "I Belong to
That Band," another standard of the
spiritual repertoire, arranged by Eva
Jessye, the choral conducter, composer
and poet who had a long residence here.
For this one, the tenors came down off
the risers to show their strong voices
and carry the theme.
AFTER A brief pause in the show
during which the group left the stage,
the men returned for "Po' 01'
Lazarus," a song that tells the biblical
story of how Jesus, brought his friend
Lazarus back to life after he had lain
three days in a cave amid the weeping
of his sisters, Mary and Martha.
This version was a kind of worksong
with short "hups" in its chorus and the
calling question-and-answering charac-
teristic of such songs.
The women rejoined the men for
"Sweet Home," a liltingly melodic tune
in which ,the collectively humming
vibrato was so strong that one could not
help thinking it would make a grgnd
denouement for a tear-jerking film.
Soloist Iris Jones hit a tremulous and
uncanny high note at the end.
"House In Baltimore" painted a pic-
ture of abiding spirit despite hard times
in that city.
Igot a house in Baltimore
Streetcar running by the door
Sugar babe
Got no money but I'm gonna have
some
Just you wait till payday comes
Sugar babe

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperatve presentsaA
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21
THE EXORCIST
(William Freidkir , 1973) 3 7 &9--AUD A
A demon takes up residence in a split-level California ranch-style little girl,
despite the combined efforts of mother love, modern medicine, and trendy
psychiatry. Setting new film standards for scares and chills, THE EXORCIST
overwhelmed audiences with its special ettects, tsothic trignts, and things
that go "Regan" in the night. With ELLEN BURSTYN, MAX VON SYDOW, and
LINDA BLAIR.
Tomorrow: BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1967
BLOW UP
Starring DAVID HEMMINGS as a mod London fashion photographer who
witnesses a murder-or does he?-that somehow involves an unwilling
subject in the form of Vanessa Redgrave. THE EYES OF LAURA MARS is only
the latest offering in a seemingly never ending stream of copies of this
notorious film. Antonioni went to the point of painting the grass green for
the electrifying effect of it. THE influential film of the past decade. With music
by Herbie Hancock and footage of the early yardbirds. In color.
Thurs: HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR
TONIGHT AT OLD ARCH. AUD.
CINEMA GUILD 7:00& 9:05 $1.50
TON IGHT
An Original Musical Play
THE ANITABRYANT FOUlIES
by TOM SIMONDS
Wednesday through Saturday
March 21 to 24-8 p.m.
CANTERBURYLOF0332 S. State St.
Tickets $2 at the door-All Welcome

Daily Photo by LISA UDELSON
Director Matthew Kennedy leads the Fisk University Jubilee Singers
through one of many songs during their performance last Saturday evening,
in the Rackham Auditorium.

Dello Joio's contemporary A Jubilant
Song was the musical highlight of the
evening. Mr. Kennedy's wife Anne, a
fine concert pianist and the group's ac-
companist played the leapingly
dissonant melody and counterpoint
with relish while Mr. Kennedy's
graceful hands urged the surging
voices through a complicated piece of
music, "a universal song awakening in
the hearts of men." The audience reac-
ted with the evening's most sustained
and enthusiastic applause.
The encore, "Wheel,",concerned the
prophetic revelation of Ezekiel, the
biblical four-headed creatures who
were "a wheel in the middle of the
wheel," and above whom a
manifestation of God stood, directing
the prophet to go and speak to the
rebellious Israelites. I don't know
whether the song was an authentic
round, but it had that quality and suited
its subject.
AFTER THE performance I spoke

with some members of the group and
was told that they put in long, hard
hours both in rehearsal and on the road.
Mrs. Kennedy, who has played at state
dinners in both Jamaica and Haiti, told
me that there was "a lot of discipline
involved" in singing and in organizing
the group.
When Kennedy was asked about the
somewhat surprising nature of the
music, he said that audiences are
sometimes surprised by its quality and
restraint, do' not "find themselves
hearing what they expected to hear,"
but that, as he said, the "generally win
them over."
Co ncerning his role as director of the
singers, Mr. Kennedy made apparent
his view of the role he plays. "I am an
interpreter," he said, of the "rich
storehouse of traditional music," and
added that he works to maintain "a
style and simplicity of style" in the
music.
Proceeds from the event went to Fisk
University.

TV 1I ichannels
community innovation

Original gay musical
opens tonight at Loft

BY JOSHUA PECK
During the late sixties and early
seventies, minority theater was all the
rage in the U.S. on Broadway, dozens of
black musicals (Raisin, The Me Nobody
Knows, Your° Arms Too Short To Box
With God) were staged and warmly
greeted. Puerto Ricans had input with
Manuel Pinero's Short Eyes, among
others. Women's and ethnic theater had
surges as well, and the very vocal
idiotic minority was pleased by the rash
of Neil Simon offerings.
One minority whose advent in the
theater was a little trickier than that of
the rest was the homosexual con-
tingent. Only one play, The Boys in the
Band, has won any national notice and
much of it has been ardent opposition
from gays themselves, who found its
picture of gay life depressing. The
filmed version of Boys was barred from
exhibition in Ann Arbor by a horde of
shouting and furious local gays.
Which brings us to what gays (and
straights with liberal tendencies) will
regard as good news: the opening of an
original, show in Ann Arbor which not
only has the support of the homosexual
community but the participation of
several of its members as well.
Tom Simonds' The Anita Bryant
Follies opens tonight at the Canterbury
Loft on State Street, and runs through
Saturday. The show is a satirical revue,
and looks at many sides of gay life in
the United States, from Anita's. suc-
cessful rampage against gay rights in
Dade County, to psychiatric attitudes
towards the minority, to the mad fears
many heterosexuals have of their little

ticular relationship. The effects of
homophobia (heterosexuals' hatred of
gays) is drawn in as well.
Simonds is an Eastern Michigan
University student, and has authored a
few other shows around the University
campus in the past. Simonds, and
several friends authored Nutcracker
Revue last December, a half-amusing
little production at the Halfway Inn.
That show moved skittishly from scene
to scene, but by virtue of its format
really needed no continuity. Anita
Bryant, on first reading of its script,
has much the same feel, but perhaps its
ideological drive will hold the many bits
and pieces together. In view of the
rarity of original theater in the area,
one is certainly moved to hope so.

By KAROLYN WALLACE
Until October of 1978, media
producers on campus had no place to
display their productions on campus.
Because of cable Channel 11, a gift from
Ann Arbor Cablevision, the University
now has yet another opportunity to
provide an educational and
professional experience to its students
as well as the Ann Arbor community.
There is a wide diversity in the con-
tent of the channel's programs, which
are required to be original, in
agreement with copyright laws, and
produced at the University.
The various media producers on
campus share a common desire to
deliver useful information to the com-
munity. The Journalism Department
produces a weekly magazine about Ann
Arbor news. The production work
provides a practice ground for future
professional work.
THE'CHANNEL has multiple uses.
The Center for Continuing Legal
Education uses Channel 11 to explain
laws pertaining to laypersons.

Procedures for taxes and divorces are 1 lt CAN ERYl4:45
among the topics covered by the cen- I b llNERi7:30
ter's programs. 10:00
Students as well as faculty members
are encouraged to submit programs.
Presently, the channel airs Professor 10:15
Tom Sawyer's engineering students 1:00
who have prepared lectures as final 3:30
projects in Humanities 499. 7:00
In this sense, Channel 11 strives to be 9:30
part of the community by sharing the
See TV, Page 7

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MARCH .21 S
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A a fr arnrr~f lfinE!

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Ct nrrigxDa'T f '.DtrED TT T TZR iA iEMA nV THURSDAY

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