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April 07, 1974 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-04-07

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Sunday, April 7, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Fivd

Sunday, April 7, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

PagePiv

PROFILE

1

STRINGS AND THINGS
Herb David: Making
music out of wood

By HOWARD BRICK
T HERE IS a clay sculpture of
Herb David at the end of the
s,'les counter of his guitar studio
on South State Street. The bust
shxvs his deep, sunken eyes, his
thiY b u s h y, protruding eye-
brow , and his strong cheek-
boes. A powerful, extra-large
hand emerges from the base of
the sculpture and drapes itself
over the sound hole of a clay
guitar. 'His chin rests on the
guitar box, his head bent down
in a contemplative pose. The
whole figure s e e m s wrapped
around the instrument, holding
it with warmth and affecti.'
The sculpture, made by a
friend in 1964, expresses an im-
portant aspect of the man, for
Herb David, amateur musician
a n d professional instrument
builder, feels a special sort of
affinity for both his craft and
his product. For the past twelve
years he has been building wood
instruments - everything from
guitars to recorders - with the
belief that he is carrying on a
venerated, age-old tradition. It
is a tradition tinged with spir-
ituality, combining a respect for
his tools and his materials and
a conviction that they, like him-
self, "have a life of their own."
The beginnings of David's in-
terest in instrument building are
complex, but they can best be
narrowed down to the influences
of environment and a very lucky
chance encounter.
The years of 1962-1964, when
the guitar studio was first open-
ed, were the big folk music lays
in Ann Arbor. "Music was really
poppin' then," David remembers.
People used to stroll through the
streets playing their instruments,
and coffeehouses were first open-
ing up. "We had some killer
hootenannies in those days."
By THAT TIME, David, a
graduate student in psychol-
ogy, had. played guitar for sev-
eral years. His main interest
was classical guitar, and after
performing one night at the
Player Club in Detroit, a mem-
ber of the audience told him of

an old man who built instru-
ments by hand in the city. With-
in a few dpys, he had arranged
to meet the 70-year-old Armen-
ian shoemaker who spoke virtu-
ally no E n g l i s h. Instrument
building' had been in his family
for seven or eight hundred years,
and he needed someone to carry
on the tradition. Herb became
his student,, and soon after drop-
ped out of the University, at a
time when he was only twelve
credits away from completing his
doctoral studies.
Today, in one of the music
lesson rooms at the studio, Herb
leans back, pushing his chair
off its two front legs, and con-
siders t h a t critical decision.
"I've thought many times about
why I quit. But I'm sure it was
the right thing to have done. It
just seemed right at the time."
It is clear that the old man
meant a lot to him, and his
bushy brows arch far up his
forehead as he tries to make a
point. "It was so amazing to
find someone who was really
wrapped up in what he was do-
ing. He looked forward to every
day, and each day was as ex-
citing as the rest."
That definition of a committed
craftsman applies to David as
well. In the twelve years he has
been building instruments - on
personal order only-he has con-
tinued to learn new skills and
new secrets of the trade. He has
built lutes, mandolins, guitars,
dulcimers, harps, and recorders.
DAVID WALKS to the shop in
in the back of the studio. Now
in his early forties, he is a man
of small stature with a develop-
ing paunch and coarse, thinning
hair. He wears clean, unfaded
blue jeans and a button-down
shirt. His arms appear muscular,
probably due to his continuing
interest in gymnastics, and they
stand out from his sides some-
what as he walks.
He gently takes a half-finished
lute off its hook in a drying
room, and runs;his fingers over
the smooth round surface of the

in
New

color from
Line Cinema

"One of the artistically important
films of the year."
--William Wolf,
CUE MAGAZINE
"Charged with an intensity and a
complex vitality . not equaled
in recent cinema."
-Roger Greenspun,
NEW YORK TIMES

CINEMA GUILD s$

7&"9:05

Arch. Aud.

=now

Daily Photo by DAVID MARGOLICK
Herb David with a recently completed lute

instrument's body. It is made of
sycamore wood, he explains. His
fingers run up the anck as he
points out a part made o wal-
nut and maple strips. At the
very end of the neck, he has
carved the face of a smiling old
man with bulbous, shiny cheeks.
For David, wood is a very
special material. Though he has
built a French coronette, a
wooden trumpet-like instrument,
he says he could never make a
brass trumpet. "Brass is not
spiritually satisfying," he says.
"Metal is cold, but wood is like
holding someone's hand. It's
warm. You know, I think you
can tell whether something has
lived before."
And just as he feels a special
attraction for his material, David
believes that the completed in-

strument must hold a similar at-
traction for its owner and player.
That is why he will only build
instruments on order or for him-
self. An instrument has to "look
friendly, feel friendly, and souna
friendly."
"I HAVE TO have somebody in
mind-when I make an instru-
ment," he says. "Instrument
making is a special art, and you
need a musician for an instru-
ment."'
Of course, besides his cus-
tomer, there is always one other
person that Herb keeps in mind,
and that is the old Armenian.
When the man died in 1968, Herb
inherited all his tools, some of
which date back 400 years.
"Like there's an old saw, and
it doesn't look right," he says.

He is now back in the front of
the studio, standing next to the
bust. "Its blade is curved and
the teeth are worn. But you take
that into your hands"-and at
this point he reaches his hands
out to grasp an imaginary tool
-"and it works! It has a job to
do. These tools have a life of-
their own."
HE KEEPS a lot of the old
man's things around him
simply for their spiritual value,
he says, and he even has the
Armenian's glasses sitting some-
where in the shop. "I know it's
crazy," he concedes, "but people
do all sorts of crazy things. Some
people turn around three times
before they'll do anything. This
is what I happen to do."
Howie Brick, Contributing
Editor of the Magazine, has been
carefully groomed for the Maga-
zine editorship next year. despite
his inexplicable interest in wood-
work, architecture, and a gen-
erally eclectic though low-key
lifestyle.
603 E. Liberty

r TP

r

7

BILLY JACK
Woody Allen's
"SLEEPER"
a rtHCINEMA
James Bond
"Thunderball" and
"You Only
Live Twice"
-WED.-"Jesus
Christ Superstar"
MM 1 Nt ,lt.. ....x.i t//1 N

A

r'
,
l
II;

SHOW TIMES
Mon.-Sat., 7:15 & 9:00
Sun., 5:30, 7:15, 9:00

t;l1ri11F1i1T. 'I1111it1i, .$I N. WASHINGTON*YPSILANT
,OPEN . MON. TURU.SAT. 6:45 P.M
SUN. & HOLIDA Y$ 2.45 P.M..
LATE SHOW rRi_ 'SA r_

tt
T1
t

«.:.... . .-.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .'^,.....«....... .....,..!{:..;.4,v""'6;.r. .,.
The amnesty dilemma rages through lives

( continued from Page 3)
is among them. He Is a high
school graduate who arrived in
Toronto in 1971. After a year and
a half without working papers,
Leo was finally granted immi-
grant status. With no college
training and a minor criminal of-
fense on his record, Leo found
that Canada was not as recep-
tive to him as to some other war
resisters.1
To complicate matters, the 23-
year-old enjoys and earns his
living by painting and renovat-
ing the exteriors of houses. Cold
Toronto winters kept him from
that work for too long, and now
Leo says he'd like to come back
to the States where California,
New Mexico or Arizona could
offer him year-round employ-
ment.
He says he'd even come back
under a conditional amnesty -,
to work and to see his friends
whenever he wanted to.
ARMY DESERTER Jack Col-
houn, a former student of the
University of Wisconsin, also

plans to return to the U. S. But
his decision comes after living
through a tragic experience in
exile.
"I'd been here for two months
when my mother was taken to
the hospital with what was di-
agnosed as terminal cancer. She
supported me in being here, and
accepted fully that I wasn't go-
ing to be at her funeral. Lucikly,
she was able to visit me twice be-
fore she died. But it's still a
heavy thing. I have to admit that
I felt a lot of anxiety at not be-
ing there for the funeral."
Although traumatic, this event
was not the key to Jack's desire
to return. "I want to go back be-
cause I'm an American, and
that's where I want to work for
changes," he explains.
Besides, amnesty or no am-
nesty, he has discovered that in
Canada there are very few jobs
for people like himself, who are
getting Ph.D's in American His-
tory.
Until Jack finishes his degree

at York University, he will con-
tinue the part-time work of co-
ordinating activities of war re-
sisters in Toronto. He currently
helps to edit a magazine called
AMEX (from American Exiles)
and counsels other American re-
sisters and deserters.
What is perhaps most disturb-
ing about the question of amnes-
ty for these people is not so
much the fact that there is none,
but rather the fact that the is-
sue remains unsettled.
'THE POSSIBILITY of going
back to one's own country
disrupts the exile's adjustment to
life in a new country," according
to one Toronto psychiatrist who
has studied the cases of many
draft dodgers.
Dr. Saul Levine found, for ex-
ample, that a colleague of his
who was a deserter seemed com-
pletely assimilated into Cana-
dian life. He had married a Ca-
nadian woman and expressed no
desire to go back to the U.S.
When amnesty became a big
issue last January, it looked like
he might be able to goback. His
family and friends put a lot of
pressure on him; he began think-
ing that there were some inter-
esting professional programs for
him in the U.S.--programs which

were more innovative than those
in Canada. All of a sudden, his
whole sense of the future was up-
rooted.
But, as the issue of amnesty
lost prominence in the States, he
was able to resolve his personal
conflicts and again settled into
life in Canada.
It's impossible to know when or
how many times this man's life
will again be disrupted. But one
thing seems sure - the end of
the amnesty debate is not yet in
sight. The Washington hearings
have ended, Watergate headlines
still dominate the front pages of
American newspapers, and many
resisters who would like to
come back to the U. S. and re-
sume normal lives here remain
in limbo.
Sandy Hausman is a graduate
student in Journalism.

RENE CLEMENT'S 1951
FORBIDDEN GAMES 4
Two young French children become playmates during the German occupation in
1940; they imitate the cruel adult life that surrounds them by collecting dead ani-
mals for their private cemetery. Few films have matched this poignant , outcry
against war. Brigitte Fossey, George Poujouly.
Next Weekend: (Fri. and Sat.) CABARET
(Sun.) RIO BRAVO
CATONIGHT at Aud. A, Angell Hail
CINEMA I 7 and 9 adm. $1

DIAL 665-6290

PG

OPEN 12:45
SHOWS AT 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 p.m.
JON VOIGHT as

DAILY OFFICIAL BULLETIN

WANTED:
Pre-1949 copies
of the
Michiganension
Box No. 4

Sunday, April 7
Day' Calendar
School of Music: Trumpet Student
Recital, Recital Hall, 2:30 p.m.
Univ. Dancers: Concert, Power Ctr.,
3 & 8 p.m.
School of Music: Heidi Harvey, piano,
Recital Mll, 4:30 p.m.
School of Music: Joint Faculty-Stu-
dent Concert. Rackham Aud., 8 p.m.
School of Music: James Forger, alto
saxophone, Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
School of Music: Early Pianos in
European Museums, an illustrated lec-
ture, Cady Music Rm., Stearns Bldg.,
8 p.m.
Monday, April 8
University Senate: Rackham Amph.,
4 p.m.
Physics: M. LeBellac, Univ. of Nice,
Praanee, "Clustering Effects in Multi-
particle Production," P&A Colloq. Rm.,
4 p.m.
' chool of Music: DMA Piano Series,
Leslie Wright, Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
School of Music: Opera workshop,

Rackham Aud., 8 p.m.
General Notices
May '74 Teacher's Certificate Candi-
dates: All requirements for teacher's
certificate must be completed by April
10. Teacher's oath should be taken as
soon as possible in rm. 1225 Sch.
of Ed. Placement material can be ob-
tained from that office in the SAB.
Summer Placement
3200 SAB, 763-4117
City of Flint, Mi. Summre Mgt. In.-
tern Prog. for graduate students ma-
joring in bus. public admin., public
policy, urban aAirs/mgt. Appls. and
details available.
BASF Wyandotte Corp., wyandotte,
MI. Will interview Tues., Apr. 9, 9:30 to
5. Juniors in chemical and mechanical
engr. Work in Engrs. Dept. at Plant/
Maintenance Services. Call and Regis-
ter.
Jelnn Deere Insurance Co., Moline,
Ill. Opening for student majoring in
Insurance. Must be in Junior Year.
Come check.

I

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r.

JO ANN ALBER/JULIA ANDREWS/MARGARET
BAUM/NANCY BERG/BARBARA CERVENKA/
MIGNONETTE CHENG/SUSAN CROWELL/RITA
MESSENGER-DIBERT/EDWINA DROBNY/CAROL
FURTADO/GEMMA GATTI/ADRIENNE KAPLAN/
CHARLA KHANA/LEE KURTIN/FRAN LATTANZIO/
JOAN MATHEWS/DALEENE MENNING/ MARY
ELLEN PORTER/JACKIE RICE/SUE STEPHENSON'
DOROTHY SMITH/SUE THOMPSON/
ELLEN WILT/GEORGETTE ZIRBES/
WOMANSPACE
APRIL 2-27 OPENS: APRIL 7 4-6 P.M.
UNION GALLERY 0 MICHIGAN UNION " ANN ARBOR

I

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m

I

ACADEMY
AWARD
WINNER
---BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
INGMAR BERGMAN'S
"CRIES &
WHISPERS"
Sat., Sun., Wed. at
1.3,5,7,9
Mon. & Tues. 7 &9 only ~

,.: :
j

Yearbook Mass Meeting
Those people interested in working on the 1975
Michiganensian are asked to meet
Wed., April 1O---7:30 p.m.
1st floor Student Publications Building

I

I

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SOCIETY
presents:
IOLANTHE
April .10th--13th
/" 1 1 9 eta

MUSKET 74-75
Now Accepting Applications
1r fo r ianaln uicaArls *tohPi

Areas of Interest

WINNER OF

i

EDITORIAL STAFF, PHOTOGRAPHY, ARTWORK, LAYOUT

. .

11

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