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March 13, 1998 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-13

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 13,1998 - 11

R&B group

Take 6 takes

five to warm up in A2

By Jessica Simmons
*ily Arts Writer
Every now and then, there comes a
group with so much class and talent
that its success is genuinely deserved.
No one scoffs every time it wins an
award or has a CD go platinum,
because the group has earned it - not
through trendy, flashy gimmicks, but
because it has worked hard to achieve
that level of success.

Take 6
Hill Auditorium
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.

Take 6 is one
group to add to
this category. The
group will be
bringing its soul-
ful sounds to the
city of Ann Arbor
as part of the Ann
Arbor Summer
Festival's annual
Winter Warm-Up
Benefit. The
group will be
performing songs
from all of its

a hobby.
"When I first started the group,
being that it was a college group, it
was more of a hobby, just something
for us to do in our spare time. It wasn't
until five or six years later, after a lot
of different line-up shifts, that we
thought it would be cool to try to pur-
sue as a profession," Claude
McKnight, of Take 6, said in a recent
interview. "One thing led to another
and very quickly we got signed to a
deal and right after that started putting
out records and winning Grammys."
Part of what has made Take 6so suc-
cessful has been its ability to appeal to
a very diverse audience. But the group
is diverse in and of itself. Take 6 pulls
from many different musical genres to
create its music. Gospel, jazz, soul and
R&B are all incorporated to display
the group's unique sound.
"We take a lot of different elements
from a lot of different styles of music.
You can't really put us into a pigeon-
hole and say this is the kind of music
we do. Lyrically, it's all Christian-
based music, but we add jazz, R&B,
etc," McKnight said. "A lot of it is a
cappella and then we also have some
different instruments. I think people
gravitate towards what they like about
Take 6. When we do shows, we're
lucky to see a lot of different kinds of
people from a lot of different back-
grounds (in the audience)."
It has been Take 6's ability to reach

the old and the young, gospel lovers,
jazz lovers and all of those in between
that has propelled the group to the top.
Not allowing itself to be placed in
any particular category, Take 6
embraces the musical input each mem-
ber has to offer in order to hone its
unique craft.
The group relies on each member's
insight, rather than current industry
trends, to dictate the course of its
"Whatever it is that has gone into
you over the years, what you've lis-
tened to or whatever, generally that
comes out in the music you write or
arrange,' McKnight said. "If you grew
up listening to R&B and you're in the
church, you're going to write in that
style. Because there are six of us in the
group we have varying interest as far
as musical styles. If I write a song, it
may have a jazz or R&B influence to it
because that's what I may have grown
up listening to. If Cedric writes a song,
it may have a certain classical or old
Negro spiritual quartet sound to it."
Another appealing element Take 6
has used to win over many of its fans is
the volume of positive messages sent
out through its music. In a music
industry with an increasing tolerance
for violent, negative lyrics, positive
messages are often few and far
between. The positive messages the
groups sends aren't part of a phony,
contrived persona, but are reflections

Take 6 brings its award-winning R&B and gospel to Hill Auditorium tomorrow.

albums as well as a collaboration per-
formance with the Neville Brothers.
To say that Take 6 has enjoyed a suc-
cessful career would be putting it mild-
ly. The group has been awarded seven
Grammys and five Doves (Gospel
Music Awards), among others. It has
also produced five albums that have
sold gold or better. These are impres-
ive accomplishments especially con-
sidering that the group was formed as

of each group member's personality.
"You just have to be who you are. I
think we sing positive music and we
portray a positive image because
that's who we are. That's not fake for
us," McKnight said. "I think, even
the Lord, would rather have you be in
public, who you are in private. If
you're a good guy or a good girl,
then just be that. Don't try to be
something else because the public
may want you to be something else.
We're not trying to be something that
we're not."
With success comes responsibility
and Take 6 hasn't shied away. Being in
the forefront has allowed the group to

become a role model and trailblazer
for many of today's rising groups such
as Boyz II Men and Dru Hill. This is a
role about which the group feels very
"I believe there's a certain level of
accountability," McKnight said. "In a
certain sense maybe we have been
trailblazers. I think that there were
groups before us that were trailblazers
to us as well. I think everybody,
whether you're a single artist or a
group or an instrumentalist, or whatev-
er, as you have success, it opens the
door for somebody else. When we
came along, there weren't a lot of
young, male vocal groups in the fore-

front. It gave young, guys a chance to
say ' Oh man, look at these guys"' he
Over the past 10 years, as the music
industry has seen groups come and
go, disband and disappear, Take 6 has
consistently remained stable. The
group has more than proved that a
successful career doesn't necessarily
mean bending to current music
trends. Take 6 has shown that the best
of groups rise to the top and remain
"Musical styles come and go, but if
you stay true to who you are, hopeful-
ly, you'll always have your fan base,"
McKnight said.

Pops' Gershwin concert promises 'S'Wonderful' entertainment

By Valerie Lapinski
Daily Arts Writer
When Woody Allen needed an overture to portray his
ve affair with New York in Manhattan, what could have
been more perfect than the music of Gershwin? George
Gershwin has influenced American pop culture since his
ingenious melding of jazz and classical music exploded in
the '20s and '30s. This Sunday, to celebrate his 100th
birthday, the Michigan Pops Orchestra will reveal its own
love affair by performing an all-Gershwin concert.
Steve Bizub, a School of Music senior and the orches-
tra's conductor, said, "When you think of great pops
music, Gershwin was the guy who really started to infil-
ate popular music into the concert hall. It's very nice to
nally be able to do an all Gershwin concert."
Bizub has done his own share of bringing popular music
into the concert halls of the University. Three years ago as
a freshman, he was asked by a fellow student to try and put
together a Pops Orchestra. Through months of preparing
for the first concert, Bizub found himself advancing from
assistant conductor to conducting the entire program.
- Composed of about 65 undergraduate and graduate stu-
dents from various schools of the University, the orchestra
boasts a variety of talents. This spring's ensemble has a

special advantage because most of the members performed
together in last fall's "No Theme" concert.
"It's been great because we have a concert under our
belts together," Bizub said. "I'd like tqthink that we sound

Power Center
Sunday at 4 p.m.

a good deal better than we did last
The extra experience will come in
handy in performing the challenging
work of Gershwin. The orchestra's
program for Sunday includes the
famous "Rhapsody in Blue," featur-
ing School of Music pianist Sam
Davis, and excerpts from "Porgy and
Bess," Gershwin's experiment with
Also included is "An American in
Paris," Gershwin's "symphonic
poem" about a lonely American
walking the streets of Paris in the
'20s. Complete with actual taxi horns

age of 38 from a brain tumor. He produced such hits as
"Someone to Watch Over Me," "S'Wonderful," "I Got
Rhythm" and "Our Love is Here to Stay."
The Gershwin concert marks the end of Bizub's direc-
tion of the orchestra, "which I will dearly miss." Bizub
said. He is happy to have been part of the group's success
since its establishment in 1995.
The Pops Orchestra has performed the works of John
Williams and other film composers as well as some opera
and classical selections.
"I'm proud to say that everything we've performed has
wonderful musical merits," Bizub said. "Most of the
musicians are not getting credit for this," Bizub
explained. "Many are not aspiring to be professional
musicians; they're only doing it for the experience and
the music."
Dave Ostreicher, Engineering junior and the orchestra's

program director said, "I like the fact that there's an oppor-
tunity to play 'orchestral music that is open to non-music
majors, whether it be for credit or not."
The appeal of the orchestra is the spirit of its members.
Since it's a student-run organization, the members have a
say in how the orchestra works.
"That's the fun part of the job, to decide what's going on.
A lot of it has to do with what the orchestra wants to play,
trying to keep everybody happy. You have to make sure
you're satisfying the players and the audience," Bizub said.
Certainly a joyous birthday celebration of Gershwin's
music will satisfy both the members of the orchestra and
its listeners on Sunday night.
"I don't know if you can get any more American than
George Gershwin;' Bizub said.
- Tickets are $7 for adults and $S for students. Call
MUTO at 763-TKTS for information.

to emulate the sounds of city traffic, the piece combines
French musical influences with American jazz and blues.
Gershwin composed many musical numbers for
Broadway and Hollywood before dying tragically at the






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