The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 3B
Scared to dress
One year, a University orchestra conductor was suspended upside-down dressed as a bat.
The spooky symphony
tor of U
orchestra gets year's Halloween Concert. "We
conduct various ensembles, but
ssed up to boogie this is the first (official University)
event of the year that we get to
r, classical style conduct."
Yet the Halloween Concert is
By JOE CADAGIN a somewhat unorthodox "first
Daily Arts Writer showing," considering that the
entire orchestra, the conduc-
hestras are notorious for tors and most of the audience are
g across as stuffy, elitist and dressed in costumes.
'us. But "There was a conductor who
Hallow- Unive wore a chicken Suit one time," said
he Univer- senior violin major Amy Cave,
orchestras Orchestras who will serve as concertmaster
heir hair Halloween for this year's Halloween Con-
and have a cert. "The violas always do a cos-
me. Concert tume as a section, so (they) were
more than Sunday at all crayons one year. One year the
rs, under- 3p.m. basses were all 'Tetris' pieces."
ite and Hill Auditorium For the newer conducting stu-
ite student Ticke m $8 dents, leading an orchestra of
ans in the goblins, ghosts and ghouls cain be
of Music, a soimewhat daunting, and even
e & Dance have come frightening, experience.
er to put on an annual Hal- "A few years ago, I remember
Concert of engaging - and coming up to conduct and right in
imes spooky - orchestral front of me sitting in the second
violins was this kid with white
orchestra for the Hal- face paint and blood and gore,"
concert will be made up Segal said.
combination of musicians "It was so scary to be up there
the University Symphony and have this devilish ghoul star-
e University Philharmonia ing at me ... It's intimidating and
tras, and will be conduct- it's hard to focus," he added.
graduate students from the The conductors thernselves
tral conducting depart- choose costumes that fit the
theme of their pieces. Last year,
ing Segal are seven other Warren Puffer Jones, a doctoral
ts from the conducting stu- student in orchestral conduct-
MT&D professor Kenneth ing, cross-dressed as a Wagnerian
r, who also serves as Direc- soprano - complete with a horned
University Orchestras. Each helmet and a large metal breast-
ting student directs the plate - to conduct "The Ride of
ous combined orchestra in the Valkyries."
of his or her choosing. "I've heard stories about the
is is our first showing, if you 'greatest hits' of the Halloween
aid Yaniv Segal, a doctoral Concert," said Jones. "Our teach-
t in orchestral conduct- er, Kenneth Kiesler, always talks
.o will direct a piece in this about when someone dressed up
as a bat to do the overture to (the
operetta) Die Fledernaus, which
is the German word for 'bat.' They
sorehow suspended him upside-
down, and he conducted upside-
The concert is tied together
by a series of madcap sketches
performed and written by the
conducting students. In fact,
the graduate students organize
the entire concert themselves -
everything from selecting the
music to finding costumes.
"We had a very fun time at the
costume shop, and we found some
great things," said Matthew Dell,
a first-year graduate student in
orchestral conducting. "There's a
lot of variety, a lot of wacky stuff."
This year's program includes a
wide range of favorite pieces from
the classical repertoire, including
Gustav Holst's "Jupiter" from The
Planets, Igor Stravinsky's Finale
from his ballet "The Firebird"
and Richard Strauss's "Dance of
the Seven Veils" froin his opera
"Salome." These pieces will be
conducted by Elliot Moore, Eiki
Isomura and Dell, respectively.
The concert also includes a few
Halloween-related pieces, such
as American composer George
Whitefield Chad wick's "Hobgob-
lin" from Symphonic Sketches (to
be conducted by Segal) and March
of the Little Goblins, a. piece by
Michigan alur Adam Glaser.
"It starts with just a few players
on stage, and then one by one the
sections file in," Segal said. "So at
the beginning of the concert you
get to see all the costumes of the
(musicians) as they walk on stage."
With its accessible program
and entertaining format, the Hal-
loween Concert is a favorite event
among students and community
"There are people in town who
might never come to one of the
other Symphony or Philharmo-
nia concerts, but they come to
the Halloween concert, and they
get to hear a great orchestra play
great orchestral music," Jones
said. "The reason they enjoy it is
because it's funny and there are
fun costumes, but they also enjoy
the music, and that's worthwhile."
The concerts are also a great
opportunity for kids to get
acquainted with classical music in
a friendly atmosphere where they
can dress up in their Halloween
"I think it's a big family event,
and there are people who have
come for years to the (Halloween
Concert)," Segal said. "At the end,
the conducting students run out
to the front of the house and hand
out candy to the kids for them
to get started on their trick-or-
treating. It's really fun to see them
there. They're usually laughing,
smiling and giggling, and they
have a real blast."
This year's concert is particu-
larly special because it happens to
fall on the same day as Halloween.
Segal hopes that this will draw an
extra-large crowd. He also point-
ed out that since the concert is in
the afternoon, it won't interfere
with youngsters' trick-or-treat-
For the musicians, who are used
to a more serious black-tie style of
concert, the Halloween Concert is
a much-appreciated change. Con-
certmaster Cave mentioned that
having kids in the audience also
helps to lighten the mood.
"Orchestra concerts can really
seem stuffy and old," Cave said.
"And having kids there laughing
and chatting - even during the
music - it's refreshing."
So, admission: I kind of hate
Halloween. I hate it so much
that I've been stressing out
over writing this column all week
I can't think
to write. And
it's not just
good at the Sal-
vation Army, JENNIFER
or that it smells XU
walk into any kind of food store,
or even that the streets get obnox-
iously rowdy for like 10 days
preceding the actual holiday.
(Seriously, dressing up one day
is fine. Two days is OK, too. But
when you're going out seven days
a week, each in a different "sexy"
outfit, it's time to put on some real
clothes.) it's the pressure of it all.
In all honesty, much of my
beef with the holiday stems from
the fact that I can never think of
anything good to dress up as. The
extent of my creative stupidity is
truly boundless. The zenith of this
materialized during last year's
Halloween, when I tried to con-
vince three of-my friends to dress
up as the "Mean Girls" by snip-
ping holes in our t-shirts, which
would reveal circular pieces of
our multicolored bras underneath.
Needless to say, this idea did not
go over well.
For me, Halloween is all about
toeing the line between decency
and creativity. This takes more
thought thanI can possibly mus-
ter. It also takes good cutting
skills. Let me voice out a few of my
neuroticisms for you.
1. You have to make sure your
body is prepared if you want to
dress up like a (creative) slut. This
not only calls for working out
months in advance but also gradu-
ally building up a resistance to
30-degree weather, because Hal-
loween night is going to be freak-
2. If slut is not for you, the next
most important thing is to be
recognizable. The imperative is
not so much that you're creative
but that people will know what
you are. This way, you won't have
to keep answering the question,
"What are you supposed to be?"
3. But, at the same time, you
can't be too predictable. This usu-
ally means that you can't dress up
as a celebrity, because odds are
you're going to pick Lady Gaga,
Michael Jackson or the cast of
"Glee" (for reasons unknown to
me, because don't they just wear
regular clothes?), and so will
everybody else you know.
4. And you definitely can't dress
up as Snooki. I love "Jersey Shore"
as much as the next obsessed fan,
but you know how many people
are going to rock the fake-tan
guidette look. Don't worry - you
will find your "guido juicehead"
with or without your bumpit.
5. Once you actuallythink of
your idea, you have to go to some
vintage store or the Salvation
Army to buy all the stuff you need.
In the process, you're going to
see other people picking out stuff
for their costumes and feel bad
watching them plan out really
awesome ones while yours just
seems really stupid.
These kinds of stressors could
drive you to do truly crazy things,
such as buy one of those shirts
from Urban Outfitters that say:
"This is my costume." It's just so
easy! But when I'm feeling really
desperate, Ialways, always try to
keep this decree in my mind: Do
not, at all costs, shop for your cos-
tume at American Apparel.
Seriously, have you seen their
"costume builder" for this year?
Way to blatantly pass off clothes
you already own as a "costume."
My favorites among these stel-
lar selections are: "mermaid" (a
do, don't dress
up as Snooki.
bra top and two skirts around
your ankles), "sun and moon" (a
gray sweater and hot shorts) and
"cupcake" (three fluffy skirts over
your shoulders). The incentives
are even dumber - 15 percent off
your whole outfit on the chance
that you would like to purchase
these ridiculously expensive "cos-
tumes." Thanks, American Appar-
el, I'm so happy I get to save a
whole $30 off this $200 purchase
so I can puta skirt on top of my
head and call myself a "sexy nun."
So now that I've effectively
ruined your holiday and depressed
you beyond all reason, ignore
everything I just said. The truth
is, all you have to do is wear
a freaking costume - after a
while people will be too drunk to
remember what you came in as
anyway. Happy Halloween, you
Xu is dressing up as a respectable,
upwardly mobile French maid.
E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My love for Bob Dylan is not a-changin
By CASSIE BALFOUR
The name Bob Dylan evokes
images of an Americana maverick
who, despite slipping into count-
less musical styles, has maintained
his reputation as one of the great
songwriters of the 20th century.
But lately there have been blas-
phemous murmurs across cam-
pus of Dylan's failing voice and
poor stage manners. And now that
Dylan is returning to his college-
touring roots tonight at Hill Audi-
torium, I am forced to remind
everyone why the '60s icon is still
relevant to the youth of today in
spite of his supposed cantanker-
Now, I don't have much to add
to the decades-long conversa-
tion concerning Dylan, but I do
have the requisite Dylan post-
ers plastered to my walls, and I
still defend his quirky voice to
My unconvinced friends. So even
though I'm intimidated by the
wealth of Dylan history, 1 will
speak with authority and humbly
Bob Dylan's command of gen-
erations of eager listeners is nearly
unmatched. How can one man
appeal to so many denmographics?
Personally, I can't even remember
how or why I started listening to
him. My parents are staunchly
anti-Dylan. My father does a terri-
ble impression of Dylan's vaguely'
nasally voice that lie thinks is just
hysterical. So I don'tnremember
who introduced him to me, but
it feels like I've been bumming
"Tangled Up in Blue" my entire
life. Dylan is ingrained in Ameri-
can youth culture, and his lyrics
still resonate with politically con-
scious youti the same way they did
back when Dylan first started out,
which is why Dylan still deserves enough to be his grandchildren.
yOur unwavering adoration. Why do they continue to flock
Dylan's musical career has to his concerts and buy his post-
spanned decades, and he's had ers and watch tedious movies
just as many musical transforma- about him? I know that in my
tions: from folksy '60s revolution- case listening to Dylan, especially
ary to authentic rock'n'roller on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and
The Times They Are A-Changin,
causes an inexplicable wave of
nostalgia for a world I never expe-
However old and rienced. Dylan's ability to evoke
such a pivotal time in American
tired he gts, history could send any politically
Bob Dylan is still active co"iege student into a fin of
tears. Or it could just be Dylan's
a cultural icon. appeal to stoners, like his sexy
aatrack "Rainy Day Woman #12 &
35," when he proclaims with his
sharp wordplay, "They'll stone
Blonde on Blonde, to at one poit ynou when you're playing your gui-
even dabbling im eva:'elical tar / Yes but I would not feel sO
Christian rock with two gospel all alone / Everybody must get
records, and well, everything in stoned."
between. Dylan has weathered all Dylan fans are sprinkled across
sorts of criticism, and In appeal- campus and I attempted to round
ing to you, dear readers, to i is a few fellow Dylan lovers to
cranky old Bob Dylan one more fawn over the enigmatic trou-
chance. badour for his upcoming show.
hDylaix's retUrnl to Ann Arbor Though it generated some inter-
may also be a return to his earlier, est, self-proclaimed fans were
folkier days. This version of Dylan, more cautious. One prospective
a waidering , counterculture hero concert buddy shocked me with
advocating ni behalf of the down- a callousness that is being echoed
trodden and spit-on , is not the by a lot of "fans" these days.
im yian h's ways seemed "I don't know ... I love Dylan
to be xlifxrtabl ith, which but I hear (he) sucks live these
His eeinly stage days."
rnxirner towa'rird his adoring fans. Another "friend" (we've since
Although lie often protested the cut all ties due to his slanderous
idea lie was some sort of incendi- attacks on Mr. Dylan) carefully
ary protest singer, his songs were warned against getling my hopes
undoubtedly socially conscious up for a good show.
and some of them became anthems "Love him to death, seen him
for the Civil Rights mnovements, twice. But don't expect to be
including the classic "Blowin' in blown away."
the Wind." Even though Dylan has been
But there has to be a reason, on his "Never Ending Tour" for
besides the political undertones, the past couple of decades, there
that Dylan appe als to fans young have been rumors that the moody
singer has been less than courte-
ous to his fanbase. Friends who
have seen Dylan in recent years
cite many affronts, like refusingto
interact with the audience, tear-
ing apart and rearranging classic
Dylan songs much to his fans' cha-
grin and even turning his back to
in my head Dylan is immortal-
ized in black and white, forever
young. The picture I have burned
into my memory of Bob is the one
featured on one my posters: ciga-
rette dangling precariously out of
the side of his mouth as he rakishly
salutes the photographer. So with
this image and Dylan's discogra-
phy in my mind, I choose to ignore
the fact that maybe at 69, Dylan's
iconic voice isn't quite what itused
When friends breathlessly warn
me about Dylan's antics, I can't
help but shrug it off. When some-
one is as brilliant and ground-
breaking as Dylan, I couldn't care
less if he treats me as just one-in-
a-million. Hell, I'd let Bob sit on
me while he performs if it means
getting to hear "Masters of War"
live, an incredibly relevant song
that still gives me chills. Cut Dylan
some slack for his rougher vocals
and curmudgeonly stage presence.
This is a chance to see one of the
great icons of the century perform
at one of the best venues in the
country. Don't let haters sway you
from making the right choice.