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September 02, 1970 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wednesday, September' 2, 1,970

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Seven

Wednesday, September 2, 1970 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Seven

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0
m1USIC.

UMS:
By R. A. PERRY
During my first registration
in the University's ugliest build-
ing, Waterman Gym, I noticed
a sign proclaiming that anyone
interested in ushering for the
concerts at Hill Aud. should
rush over and sign up. Rush
over I did, with wife in tow,
only to be told by the then not
too gentlemenly gentlemnan who
managed (I guess) Hill that I
could never usher for the Uni-
versity Musical Society until I
shaved off my moustache.
Appalled by such Middle
America idiocy-and wondering
why I had ever left the east
coast-I related the fact that I
had ushered for years at Sand-
ers Theatre in Cambridge and

Perils
Symphony Hall in Boston and
that not even the Beacon Hill
ladies on Friday afternoons
minded my neat, hairy embell-
ishment. I was subsequently
told, in none too sweet a fash-
ion, to go back where I came
from.
Feeling my c i v i1 liberties
abrogated (e.g. I was mad), I
made an appointment with the
then vice president of student
affairs, one Mr. Cutler, who,
never emerging from behind his
knotty-pine door, passed me on
to Mr. Gail Rector, head of the
University Musical Society
(UMS) (and, presently, presi-
dent of the Concert Managers,
Association of America). Rector
sat me down, apologized, and

of

an

honored

tradition

said that it was important not
to offend the customers, that
he ran a prestigious organiza-
tion, that he must not scare
away the over-thirties, and that
-would you believe it?--a dirty
body indicated a dirty mind
not implying, of course that he
believed it). After babbling back
and forth in Ionesco fashion for
one half hour, Rector agreed
that moustaches (with males
attached) could usher - though
beards required further consid-
eration.
That was four years ago, and
I bring back bygones to make the
point that the University Musi-
cal Society is hardly in the van-
guard of human events. To be
sure, as any visit to their offices

U

}

Where's the hub
of good' vibrations?
THE QUARRY, INC.

in Burton Tower will clearly re-
veal from the walls covered with
signed photos of great musical
artists, the UMS is proud of its
past glories. They cherish the
past with reason, for Ann Arbor
has witnessed almoat every great
m u s i c i a n who ever visited
America in concerts sponsored
by the UMS, and Rector tries to
program, regardless of rising
costs, the best artists he can
sign.
But rising costs have taken
their toll, and not only does it
become necessary to balance a
top-billing star like Serkin or
Sutherland with a performer
who requires a smaller fee, but
the number of presentations has
been reduced in the last few
years, with the special series of
string quartet concerts deleted
entirely. To make matters worse,
the trimester system has caused
the May Festival-five concerts
featuring the Philadelphia Or-
chestra-to occur after the stu-
dents leave town or, ,at best,
during examination week.
The greatest problem that the
UMS faces, however, is its own
conservative nature, which is to
say, Rector's failure to move be-
yond tradition and to try new
ways of filling the house.
Let me give you an example.
As reviewer of concerts for The
Daily, I frequently talked with
Rector about ticket. sales and
suggested to him numerous
times that he -should iniate a
policy of "rush tickets" where-
by a student could, at a desig-
nated time before the event,
purchase an unsold ticket for
$1.00. Rector balked at theidea,
afraid that regular ticket buyers
would opt for the rush ticket.
I voiced the opinion that this
would not happen because with
a pre-set limit on rush tickets,
obtaining one would not be
guaranteed, and certain prime
concerts do sell out so that rush
tickets wouldenot be available
for these concerts. Furthermore.
I argued, s t u d e n t s hesitant
about "serious" music would
more readily stake $1.00 than
several dollars, and many could

thus experiment their way into
the concert hall. There is, also,
always a fringe group of people
who are interested in music but
who are insufficiently motivated
to buy a series or even high-
priced single tickets; these lazy
souls would welcome a 'policy of
rush tickets.
Finally, Rector relented and
tried the scheme. With meager
announcement, the first bunch
of 200 tickets (Rector's limit)
sold out immediately. Rather
than revel in this success, how-
ever, Rector retreated and fail-
ed, for the rest \of the season,
to advertise the availability of
rush tickets. Even for the sum-
mer piano series, during a time
when Ann' Arbor is boring and
night-life is non-existent, tiny
Rackham Aud. was not filled,
for Rector did not try to bring
the students in with a promo-
tional, rush ticket scheme.
Fearful of losing revenue,
Rector thus fails to capitalize
on or try new schemes which
would attract a younger, fresher
audience; fearful of crowds of
students, Rector only mouths
complacent discontent at the
unfilled houses. And the thou-
sands of handbills sit in the
League, Union, and LSA Bldg.

only to be discarded after the
concert.
Competing with classical rec-
ords, local pop and rock con-
certs, movies, TV and inertia,
the UMS must pick itself off, its
piles of last year's programs and
actively promote this year's, in
a manner which will entice both
, the devotee and the curious.
If you are at all interested in
the art of music, a mere glance
at the list of the UMS's, offer-
ings this year can hardly fail
to impress you. The UMS will,
in the next eight months be
bringing in some of the greatest
musical artists now living: Ros-
tropovich, Gilels, Menuhin.
When the college years are
over and you move out of such
an oasis as 'Ann Arbor, you may
well never again have the oppor-
tunity to experience live per-
formances of music such as are
available through the UMS. And.
if you feel that you cannot af-
ford the present ticket -price,
call UMS and inquire about rush
tickets. Some goading In this
direction could only be to the
good of the UMS, an organiza-
tion which in its own sluggish
way helps put Ann Arbor on
the map, and which, despite its
appearances, serves YOU.

300 free concerts,
The music school does something no other school has been
known to do: It entertains.
Throughout the year, the school sponsors over 300 concerts,
including faculty performances, student recitals, and perform-
ances by the many University musical groups.
These groups include two full symphony orchestras, seven
bands, and several choral groups.
In addition, the school sponsors three fully staged operas
and an opera workshop performance. And faculty members
individually have spun off into many fine groups, such as the
Stanley Quartet, the Baroque Trio, the Duo Concertante and
the Woodwin Quintet.
There is something happening almost every day in the
music school, and best of all, everything is free.
A complete list of all coming events in the music school is
published every month and posted around campus. Students
can also pick up copies in the Union and in the lobby of the
music school building on North Campus.

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