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December 03, 1998 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-03

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4B --The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - inursday, ueceoeuriwwo

The Michigaraily 'W ekend W
® State of the Arts

A cappella style, sound catching on all over campus

IF LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

By Debby Hwang
Daily Arts Writer
Bubbly. Polished. Drunk. The Friars,
an eight-man subset of the Men's Glee
Club and one of several a cappella
groups on campus, are intoxicated with
making music. Based on a 50 year-old
mantra of "light-hearted spontaneity"
embodied by a frothy beer mug, the
group's uncommon blend of melody,
humor and style springs from cama-
raderie among members who love to
sing, arrange music and have fun.
"We're always looking to lose our-

selves in a good time and taking the
audience along for the ride," Friar
Jeffrey Hogg said. Group members hail
from different academic backgrounds,
from archaeology to engineering, and
almost always do not seek professional
musical careers after graduation. But
they all say they are drawn to a cappel-
la because it offers a new way of enjoy-
ing familiar, instrumented songs.
Indeed, the general popularity of this
type of music stems from its uniquely
human sound - it appears to strike
ancient chords in listeners.

"People feel intrigued with what is
able to be done with the human
voice. And a chorus of human voic-
es used to emulate the instrumental-
ists behind the soloist, I think,
brings more focus to the corrobora-
tion of a group as a whole ... that
each member has an important and
crucial role tothe sound of the
group," said 58 Greene member
Amit Pandya. Campus a cappella
groups seize the essence of a cappel-
la and combine it with buoyant, col-
orful and at times irreverent spirit to
produce charismatic live perfor-
mances.
Similar to the Friars, two other a cap-
pella ensembles owe their origins to
University choirs. The vocal ensemble
Gimble was born last year when mem-
bers of the University Arts Chorale
decided to form the group as a smaller
off-shoot. By early this year, Gimble
had split entirely from Arts Chorale and
moved on to perform its first full-length
concert - a show that featured the vis-
iting a cappella group, the Dicks and
Janes, last month.
For many a cappella groups, the
emphasis is on amusement. Any tune
of interest to the members is fair
game, and Gimble's broad repertoire,
spans from gospel renditions to the
Pink Panther Theme. The group
takes its name from Lewis Carroll's
poem "Jabberwocky" and hopes to
capture the effervescence of his
poetry: "'Twas brilling, and the
slythy toves/Did gyre and gymble in
the wabe/All mimsy were the boro-
goves/And the mome raths out-
grabe." On Feb. 19 and 20 Gimble
plans to sing for IMPACT, a dance
show that will be held at the
Mendlessohn Theater.
The only all-female a cappella
organization at the University, the
Harmonettes derive from the
Women's Glee Club. "We all share a
talent and a love of music and per-
formance," Group Member Katie
McLaughlin said. "And we definite-
ly all are flexible. If we weren't; I
think it'd be a lot harder to gel than
it has been. From the first time we
all sang together this year, we've just
really been able to blend." The
ensemble, which contains a few
aspiring songwriters, arranges its
own music and sings a mix of mod-
ern and old songs. This semester, it
presents a mix of chiefly sad music,
"but that wasn't on purpose,"
McLaughlin said.
The Harmonettes helped to establish
another campus a cappella group, their
male counterpart, the Gentlemen. In

Over Thanksgiving break, I saw the
film "Life is Beautiful." Starring
Roberto Benigni, the movie is about an
Italian Jew, Guido, who faces the harsh
possibility of death during the Nazi
regime in World War II Europe. He is
taken to a concentration camp with his 6-
year-old son, Giosue. In order to blind
his son's innocence to the reality of their
situation, Guido entertains the false
notion that their trip to the camp is actu-
ally a game. Giosue is told by his father
that, in order to win, they must accumu-
late 1,000 points. It is explained that
points are awarded for certain deeds,
such as Guido's daily chores and his
son's willingness to cooperate with the
harsh conditions. The boy, fascinated by
toy trucks, becomes overwhelmed with
anticipation when his father tells him
that the grand prize is a life-sized tank.
Within the first week of their stay, all of
the children are gassed and Guido real-
izes that Giosue must remain hidden
from view of the Nazis. The rest of the
film chronicles Guido and Giosue's
close-encounters with the Germans,
building up a tense plot of suspense and
near-misses.
While the main focus of the film is
Guido's devotion to his son's life, there
remains what I found to be an even deep-

er beauty. At the moment when Guido
and Giosue are put on the out-of-town
train, Guido's wife, Dora, discovers that
the men of her family have been taken
away. She demands of a young blond
soldier that she be put on the train with
them, regardless of the fact that she is a
gentile. At first he refuses, her name not
appearing on his
list. At her repeti-
tive demands, he
finally decides
that her life is not
, . worth arguing
over, and grants
her permission to
join the crowded
passengers.
At that
moment, my heart
Christopher Tkaczyk swelled with
Daily Arts Editor admiration and
intrigue.
I found Dora's action, the risking of
her own life, to be the most heroic
motion possible by a human being. Her
passionate devotion is something beyond
immortal, possibly divine. To make that
decision, that decision of death, in hopes
of the assurance that you may spend one
more minute with that certain someone
- that is beauty. That is what makes life

worth living.
It was recently explained to me by a
wise old sage that life is a game. If you
live your life, and in the end you're loved,
then you've won. The love itself is your
reward. I harkened back to the image of
the immature Giosue, who had believed
the disenchanting lie of the game, and I
realized that Guido was right. His life
was a game. And he won.
But Dora isn't alone in her devotion.
While she and Guido are separated at the
camp because of the gender segregation,
they never see one another. At a particu-
lar moment in the film, Guido discovers
the room that houses the loudspeaker the
Germans use to deliver their daily mes-
sages of warning and threat. Without
even knowing if Dora is still alive, Guido
addressed her with his trademark charm:
"Buongiorno principessa ..." He tells
her of his undying passion, of his sleep-
less nights and his longing to be near her
again. He risks his life in the attempt to
touch her, again, from a far.
And she hears him. And she hears
Giosue's voice as Guido allows him to
address the memory of his mother.
It is at that moment that she realizes
her love is returned seven-fold. Hearing
Giosue's voice, she cries and knows she
has not loved in vain.

After I emerged from the
fellow patrons mute and enve
a certain sense of understan
life and love, I began to questi
motives in life. Could I ... w
make the same decision Dc
sionately chose? If ever face
decision of death, would I
courage, wrought from pa
demand to be put on the trair
It is my firm desire that I v
have that chance.
In our romantic hopes and
believe we will end up with
someone, a possible true love
become blind to the harsh rep
accepting for ourselves the id
love is always close at hand.
Another recent film that ac
idea of perfect passion is
Black."Within that movie, a:
played by Brad Pitt, explains
tations for true love to a wom
in a diner. He tells of his n
someone who can take car<
quality he promises to mirr
drive. He wonders if such a
exists in today's world. T
played delicately by Claire F(
ly discovers her search fo
goodness, but unfortunately,
Fate lends a hand and her brie

ANDI MAIO/Oaily
Kol HaKavod entertained the University community in a concert on the Diag last
night. Kol HaKavod, an a cappella group made up of Jewish University students,
specializes in "Jewish" music.

ANDI MAIO/Daily
Formed in 1995, the Gentlemen are one of many popular a cappella singing groups
on campus.

I

IIAft

JAU
HFFFTETEi

a

-. I . ". U -... .

I

Ann Arbor
241 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor
998-0008
Fax 998-0303
Mon.-Sat. 11-12 AM
Sun. 12 noon- 10 PM

~l~l

i

Plymouth
447 Forest
(Behind the Mayflower Hotel)
459-3332
Fax 459-3113
Mon.-Sat 11 AM-11 PM
Sun. 12 noon-10 PM

1995, then-Engineering first-year stu-
dent Will Friedman formed the all-male
Gentlemen to nurture a vision of
"strong sound, energetic performance
and musical brotherhood" through joint
gigs with the Harmonettes and the
Headnotes - an a cappella organiza-
tion from the University Law School.
The Gentlemen feature popular music
from the '80s and '90s, from country to
R&B.
"As a group, I think we are inspired
by our love for music and singing and
the need to entertain people and bring
joy to those who want it," said
GentlemansCorey Slutsky. The
Gentlemen's new CD, "The Power of
100 Raging Buffaloes," is out now
and another is in the works.
Kol Hakavod began five years ago at
Hillel where several Jewish Students
decided to form a singing group.
Synchronously Hebrew for "Voice of
the humor," Kol HaKavod specializes
in "Jewish" music Yiddish or Hebrew
translations of American songs, Israeli
rock and folk and compositions based
on the Bible, Jewish tradition and litur-
gy. "We're a really diverse group," said
Kol HaKavod Musical Director Lili
Kalish. "Especially considering that we
share the religion. We come from all
corners of the University, with mem-

1) Value Meals
Only 399
Soup or Cold Drink, Egg Roll, Entree & Fried Rice
Lunch Only
2) Buy one dinner entree and get a second

bers from almost every undergraduate
college. We also hail from all different
parts of the United States. There's never
a dull moment at rehearsal:'
Members exhibit a passion for musi-
cal spirituality and never perform or
rehearse on the Jewish Sabbath or holi-
days: Despite its singularity, Kol
HaKavod has close ties to the rest of the
a cappella community. One member is
also part of the Gentlemen, and the
group recently trounced 58 Greene in a
furious match of whirlyball. In addition
to its winter concert on Dec. 5 at Hillel
and a performance at the Encompass
show at the Michigan Theater on Jan.
16, 1999, Kol HaKavod will team up
with Gimble at a Michigan League
Underground recital on Feb. 4, 1999. A
third CD, succeeding "Shir Michigas"
and "Don't Look Back," is currently in
works and should be completed by
spring.
58 Greene also celebrates its cul-
tural roots via a cappella. Contrived
by a group of friends from the
Filipino American Student
Association who used the 58 Greene
East Quad practice room to perfect
their harmonies, the organization
has expanded across cultures and
musical genre. Four former mem-
bers have gone on to form a Boyz II
Men-type group called Natural Vibe.
The ensemble arranges an eclectic
playlist - Doris Day to Culture
Club - and includes, of all things,
skits and dance mixes with names
like "Electric Boogaloo" and
"Sexual Anthology."
"For the most part, we don't sing to
please audience or make money," said
Pandya. "We sing to satiate that urge
that each of us has to express ourselves
... and we love to share that excitement
we feel towards our music with our
See A CAPPELLA, Page 108

Top 5 TV Shows
(The most watched Tv shows in America and when and where they appear.)
1. "60 Minutes" CBS, 8 p.m. Sunday
2. "NYPD Blue" ABC, 9 p.m. Tuesday
3. "Touched by an Angel" CBS, Sunday 8 p.m.
4. Movie: "Jumanji," Fox, Thursday 8 p.m.
5. Movie: "Cab To Canada," CBS, Sunday 9 p.m.
5. (tie) Football: "Dophins Vs. Patriots," ABC, Monday 8:23 p.m.

1. "Deep Impact," Paramount
2. "Godzilla,"'Columbia/TriStar
Home Video
3. "Hope.Floats," FoxVideo
4. "A Perfect Murder," Warner
Home Video
5. "The X-Files," FoxVideo
6. "Small Sodiers," Universal
7. "Armageddon," Touchstone
8. "The Horse Whisperer,"
Touchstone
9. "City of Angels," Warner
Bros.
10. "Mercury Rising," Universal
Source: Billboard Magazine
Top 10 Albums
(The nation's top-selling albums
for the week)
1. Garth Brooks, "Double Live"
2. Method Man, "Tical 2000:
Judgement Day"
3. Jewel, "Spirit"
4. Mariah Carey, "#1's"
5. Celine Dion, "These are Special
Times"
6. The Offspring, "Americana"
7. Ice Cube, "War and Peace
Vol. 1"
8. Supposed Former Infatuation
Junkie"
9. 'N Sync, "'N Sync"
10. Jay-Z, "Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock
Life"
Source: Billboard Magazine

Top 10 videos
(Last week's top videos and the
studios that produced them)

Top 10 movies
(Last week's top grossing movie
1. "A Bug's Life," Disney
2. "The Rugrats Movie,"
3. "Enemy of the State,"
4. "The Waterboy," Touct
5. "Babe: Pig in the City
6. "Meet Joe Black," Un
7. "I Still Know What Y
8. "Ringmaster," Artisar
9. "Home Fries," New Lit
10. "Very Bad Things," I
Top 10 Books
(The week's best-selling books)
1. "A Man in Full," Tom \
2. "When the Wind Blows
3. "The Vampire Armand,
4. "The Simple Truth," DE
5. "Bag of Bones," Steph
6. "All Through the Night
7. "The Path of the Dagg
8. "Rainbow Six," Tom Cl
9. "The Poisonwood Bible
10. "Hammer of Eden," N
Top 10 Singles
(The nation's top-selling songs
1. R. Kelly and Celine Dio
2. Deborah Cox, "Nobody'
3. Divine, "Lately"
4. Lauryn Hill, "Doo Wop
5. Shania Twain, "From Ti
6. 98 Degrees, "Because
7. Monica, "That First Nig
8. Dru Hill, "How Deep Is
9. Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
10. Faith Hill, "Love Like

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