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December 07, 1980 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-07

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Sunday, December 7, 1980 Page 5

Post sets sail with
comedy and music

A seasonal tr

By PHIL DESCHAINE
The Ark Coffeehouse hit with another
winner in Jim Post's dynamic comedy
ri musical performance Friday night.
Post was masterful in demonstrating
his finely wrought musical technique
and hilarious stage wit.
Post's vocal performance was
nothing shy of exhilarating Friday,
eclipsing even his two live albums (one
of which received a Grammy
nomination). He demonstrated a fan-
tastic range in taking the lowest bass
nQte straight up to a canines-only
pitch effortlessly, and, at the end of
Roost songs, stopping anywhere in bet-

pened. I was in Canada when it hap-
pened and my friends said 'it's alright
Jim, you can live here.'" Or, in in-
troducing his LSAD song: Mayor Daley
was protecting us in '68-though it
would have to of been one helluva big
mugger to get all 5000 of us." The same
biting irony was applied to radio
preachers who say it "Jay-sus"
mocked Post, "Put your hand on the
radio, feel the spirit. Oral Roberts
needs your dollar." A similar spoof is
the point of a song entitled "I Want to go
back to California" where Post finds
himself in heaven with Billy Graham's
Castle next door.

BY JANE CARL
What would the Christmas season be
without a performance of Handel's
Messiah? And what would Ann Arbor's
Christmas season be without the
traditionally long-awaited performance
by the 270-member University Choral
Union and its conductor, Donald
Bryant, a bevy of guest soloists, and
members of the University Symphony
Orchestra aided by Harpsichordist
Nancy Hodge and organist Robert
Clark? This year marks the 102nd Ann
Arbor performance of the Messiah by
.the Choral Union in conjunction with
the University Musical Society, which
has its origins rooted deeply in the
Messiah. The Musical Society began 102
years ago as a kind of Messiah club
which gathered together local church
choices for a Christmas time perfor-
mance.
Friday, December 5th, marked the
first performance of this event in a
series of three. An aura of festivity was
in the air among the near-capacity
crowd who braved the rather un-
pleasant weather for this annual event.
The production began with the familiar
Sinfonia, performed by members of the
University Symphony Orchestra and
harpsichordist Nancy Hodge. Overall,
their performance was generally good,
tempos were adequate and the group
lacked none of the detail or festive
Handelian spirit that pervades this
oratorio. However, at times in this sec-
tion ,(and others throughout the
evening) the strings, particularly the
violins, could have tuned more
carefully.
TENOR LEONARD Johnson, direc-
tor of the U of M Men's Glee Club,
began the solo sections. Johnson
possesses a very pleasing voice and
fluent technique. Especially impressive
is his usage of expressivity to extract
the maximum amount of power and
drama from each piece. The brilliant,
virtuositic figurations, a {carry-over
from Handel's opera arias, in the
tenor's first section were forceful and
clear without any of the heaviness one

would expect.
Bass Edward Pierson possesses ab-
solutely wonderful declamation, his
words are never garbled or unclear, as
with many "muddy" basses. He also
has a very secure sense of ensemble
with the orchestra in particular. His an-
tiphonal sections with Principal Trum-
pet John Schuler were magnificently
baroque. Schuler deserves his own
special round of applause for bringing
the well known trumpet part to life with
a special triumphant quality.
Pierson, who sings opera and oratorios
in New York, also has commendable
projection for such an extreme range.
Soprano Elizabeth Parcells, a mem-
ber of a German opera company, has a
sparkling purity of sound and a very
consistent range. All of her solos were
very satisfyingly done except for one
small factor; her volume tended to be
towards the soft side, occasionally
making her listeners strain to hear her.
This was an unfortunate factor because
she obviously had the power necessary,
but unleashed in infrequently.
CONTRALTO Victoria Grof is mainly
an oratorio singer in New York City.
She has a nice sounding voice and uses
a large amount of expressivity quite
well, but has the disconcerting habit of
continually swivelling her head while
singing, presumably to encompass the
entire audience within her scope. This
could be a useful technique; but unfor-
tunately for Grof it goes awry in two
respects: creating a continual, distur-
bing dynamic change to the audience's
ears and, after losing its novelty, it
becomes irritating to watch.
Boy Soprano Mejun Mehta is quite a
remarkable twelve year old. Besides
having a very beautiful, angelic voice,
which can also be heard in the
childrens' choir of the First
Presbyterian Church, Mehta also plays
the cello and composes. His stage
presence is extraordinary for a child,
and for that matter, for many adults.
His voice has an eerie, ethereal quality

iumph
which, combined with the constant
gesture of raising his eyes toward the
heavens, was quite effective and un-
nerving. The above, and his tremen-
dous control of pitch, make Mehta a
person to watch for in the future.
Two hundred seventy voices lifted
together is an impressive sound, one
that is not quickly forgotten, par-
ticularily when they are singing a
typically Handelian declamatory
passage. The women in the University
Choral Union outnumber the men by
more than two to one; but despite this
factor, the tenors and basses of the
Choral Union can usually, hold their
own. One wonders how Donald Bryant
manages to keep a choir of this size
consistently together, but whatever his
methods, they do a remarkable job.
Bryant may not be able to indicate too
many nuances to the group of over 300
that occupies the stage at one time, but
he certainly gets magnificent results
with what he does. Bryant has been
conducting the choir, and Ann Arbor's
Messiah since 1969.
The choruses in the Messiah are im-
posing works. Ranging from fugal to
See "LOCAL", Page 7

#I

I- ~. .1

"Sheer vocal elegance ". Music Week London.
"A clean, mellow style atld a great feeling of togetherness,"
Evening Express, Aberdeen, Scotland.
"Cooly urbane virtuosity, "Chicago Tribune.
**1

Jim Post

ween, holding the note playfully long,
while varying the pitch by moving in
and out, of the microphone's range.
POST'S HUMOR held a three-
quarters full Ark-"I wonder if this
place will really float"-hilariously at
bay for the entire two-and-one-half hour
show. Before the first set was over he.
had exploited "honkey rhythm":
".. . if we had some more blacks here
you'd know how to clap"; Dylan: "If
'you had to serve somebody Bobby why
didn't you become a
waiter? ... 'Taking-that-LSD' (That's
obvious Bobby)." The audience itself
was hardly spared as Post introduced a
sing-along: "I sing a line and you
repeat it." He then sung a half-dozen
lines in Spanish snickering all the
while.
Post's repertoire of 20 songs Friday
varied widely from the graceful love
ballads of "Rachel's Song" and "Three
Soft Touches," to the topical mirth of
"Brain Damage" and Tom Paxton's
"Little Rabbit," to sing-alongs of "I
Love My Life" and "Back On The Road
Again." A common theme throughout
the show was sea songs-at least one-
half dozen-which is understandable
since Post lives in Rutland, Wisconsin.
In the second set Post was weaker
musically, and seemed to peter out till
he ended the show, exhausted. Such is
" not surprising, though, as he fully oc-
cupied his stage area in a balet mimic
,while. singing this instant, imper-
sonated his neighboring cows and far-
ners the next, or became an earth
worm 'suddenly being snatched from
the earth, sputtering, "I hate robbins."
He was at his very best in "Walk on
Water" which totters from a revival
sing-along to the story of "Jeeesus" and
apostles taking a day off to go fishing in
the sea of Galilee with a keg of beer and
a small Sony TV.
POST ALONE ON stage with only his
guitar and a capo transforms his stage
to a theatre. gPost's two and one half
hour show was pregnant with political
comment: "I can't believe it hap-

The most remarkable part of Post's
show is its intensity; the magical rap-
port of this man who never broke his
ardent eye contach with the audience
once during the entire performance.
Musically'Post was very much at
home Friday night at the Ark where G-
D-C-F-D, and Em-D-Em-D chordal
progressions are the rule. Post
irreverently modulated his 6-string
guitar back and forth from the urgency
of "I Love My Live" to the serenity of
"Windego." Post has great respect for
his instrument, as in several songs the
clear resonance of the guitar was cen-
tered in the arrangements.
If Post's show was lacking in any
manner Friday it was through his
reference on comedy rather than his
musical talents to carry the show. This
was felt particularly in his ship ballad
"Windego" which could not be taken
seriously in the shadow of his humor.
Similarly in "Snow Shoe," a song of the
living-death effect of prison, the
audience rmissed the haunting effect
Post intended as it was unable to wind
down and get serious enough for the
song. Indeed, Post's quick and constant
wit posed a stay-ready-to-laugh threat
most of the show, inhibiting any inten-
ded dramatic flair.
One of Post's favorite gags was to
mimic his a capo or guitar talking back
to him-"You want a note, get it from
your mother." And just such a
dichotomy existed Friday as Post
alternated back and forth between
spurts of music or his comedy, neither
gift forced to carry the show singly, yet
neither paled in the shadow of the other.
THE ALICE LLOYD PLAYERS PRESENT
3 PIWA Ys9Y
EUGENE IONESCO
THE LESSON
THE LEADER
THE BALD
SOPRANO
Dec. 8-8:00 P.M.
Alice Lloyd Hall
Tickets $2.400 For More Information
Coll 764-5946 or 764-5947

William Shakespeare's
1980-81 GUEST ARTIST SERIES
at the POWER CENTER
FINAL PERFORMANCE
TODAY AT 2:00!
Power Center Box Office opens at 6:00 (763-3333)

flew SoLm g 1-5ingeriu
A Christmas program
Traditional carols
Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"
Songs by Jerome Kern and Cole Porter
Music of Scarlatti, Debussy, Rimsky-Korsakov
The New Swingle Singers' style of singing music by
Johann Sebastian Bach
Mozarts- "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"
FIdo Da2,t 8100
Ticket prices: $9, $8 $7, and $5
Tickets at Burton Tower, Ann Arbor, Ml 48109
Weekdays 9-4:30; Sat. 9-12 (313) 665-3717
Tickets also available at Power Center
14 hours before performance time.
OV IkSITYtMUSICAL8CIETY
In Its 102nd Year

1v

(' J

Holiday Greetings
from
/i ~87AV

Family Fun & Enterta
Celebrate

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