The Michigan Daily
Sunday, December 4, 1983
Tradition lives on with Handel's
By Knute Rife
A CHRISTMAS TRADITION con-
tinued Friday night as the Univer-
sity Choral Union, under the direction
of Donald Bryant, performed Handel's
Messiah. Performing with the Union
were soprano Kathryn Bouleyn, coun-
tertenor John Ferrante, tenor Joseph
Evans, bass Jay Willoughby, har-
psichordist Nancy Hodge, organist
Marilyn van der Velde, and members of
the University Symphony and
Messiah is a unique experience. It is
Rocky Horror for the classicist.
Everyone has heard it 500 times.
Everyone waits for favorite bits and
pieces. Everyone sings along on the
"Hallelujah Chorus." Messiah plays by
its own set of rules. and that has to be
Not only will Steve Almaas (pictured here) appear at Joe's Star Lounge
Sunday night, but the other two members of his band, The Beat Rodeo, will
also be on hand to pound out the beats.
at Joe's tonight
By Larry Dean
ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a
tyke named Steve Almaas. Little
Steven (not to be confused with another
pint-sized lad fronting the Disciples of
Soul, or playing guitar for one B.
Springsteen) grew up in Minneapolis
and decided one bright and sunny day
to take up the guitar - which he did.
Little Steven took it up and played,
played, played, listening to the likes of
Buddy Holly, the Beatles, and so on.
Now, as Steve approached full-
fledged "adulthood," the desire was
there to 'do something with his guitar.
He had cared for it all these years,
changing the strings every now and
then, wiping down the neck and fret-
board, and bumping it against foreign
objects with great infrequency; but
Steve thought there must be more to
owning a guitar than just following
along to the record "Peggy Sue."
So he got together with some pals of
his and formed a band with the ex-
tremely pleasant name of the Suicide
Commandos. In time, they were the
toast of Minneapolis, hailed as "the
midwest's answer to the Ramones" and
considered your basic fun early
American proto-punk outfit. During his
stint as a Commando, Steve played
bass guitar, sang, and wrote. Unfor-
tunately they enjoyed only brief local
success, then went out in a blaze of
glory with one studio LP and a live
record, The Suicide Commandos Com-
mit Suicide, as their legacy.
Not to be disgruntled or defeated by
any means, Steve underwent inter-
nships in a number of seminal pop ban-
ds: Jonny III, Crackers (with able-
assistance from Mitch Easter, today's
answer to Phil Spector), and the
Bongos, with whom he toured and ad-
ded rhythm guitar. With these groups,
1 Steve displayed his pop chops, opting to
go with the earlier Holly influences,
rather than the Ramones-isms.
But still Steve was unhappy, for
lthough he had made some commit-
thents to vinyl with Crackers, he did not
-yet feel satisfied. Enter one Richard
Barone, high priest of the Bongos:
-elisted by Almaas to help twist the
dials, the two set off for Easter's
-famous Drive-In Studio in North
Carolina (located in Mitch's parents'
garage) to lay down some tracks for an
EP. Despite some minor technical dif-
ficulties - like the studio being struck
by lightening, as the EP's liner notes
say - the three friends toiled collec-
tively on what is now known as the Beat
Rodeo EP. It is wonderful, full of
smart, catchy gems such as "What's
the Matter," "The New Girl," and "Do
You Mean It?" - a veritable goldmine
of bubblegummery, but with punch.
After Beat Rodeo came out,Steveput
together another band to tour and
(maybe?) record with. They have been
christened Beat Rodeo, a-la record. The
Rodeo favors country-tinged, two-
minute-or-less bursts of adrenaline,
with Steve twanging away on a trusty
acoustic and singing in his natural high
voice. They, were in town last summer,
and many-a patron walked away from
the establishment, smiling and
whistling, feeling good. But why not?
This is Steve's credo!
Oh, yes...and they all lived happily
recognized. The vocal soloists were a bit spotty. enunciation slacked a few times, and he
The instrumentalists tend to get Ferrante sounded more like a creaky had a little trouble with octaves, but he
ignored, so I shall start with them. woman-alto rather than the pure boy- is a good interpreter with a flair for
Hodge and van der Velde were fine ac- alto the countertenor is supposed to dynamics and tone.
companists, more felt than heard. The duplicate. His sustains were smooth, Bouleyn was the best of the soloists.
orchestra was more robust without but his attacks were shaky. Ferrante Her .voice was strong and full yet
being overstated. The play was solid, had strong high notes, though, and his delicate and precise. She was on top of
except for some intonation troubles in attacks smoothed out as the concert her part throughout the performance.
the violins. Credit is due the piccolo progressed. The chorus sounded good. The voices
trumpets, who produced amazingly full Willoghby was solid and had much were mixed together, so the parts were
sounds. energy like Evans. Unfortunately Evans interwoven rather than en bloc.
983 - 1984--
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*January 1, 1984 through March 5, 1*984
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P tSemes er off. Lodging transportation, ski equipment,*
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*1:00 p-m. - 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 5 and.
9Tuesday, December 6, 1983, from 10:00 a.m. -
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