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December 13, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-12-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011- 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 5

The year in music

Some thoughts on the past
year in music ...

man, pure vibes. And sometimes,
that is more than enough.

Lil B, I'm Gay (I'm Happy) Grouper, AIA: Alien Observer

Music majors are sometimes discouraged from joining the Michigan Marching Band.
Life atrtebn

Where marching
band members go
after they graduate
DailyArts Writer
Directly beneath the maize
'M' sewn on the left chest plate
of his Michigan Marching Band
uniform, a tattooed block 'M' is
inked on the left pectoral of TJ
Wolfgram, a senior in the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The tattoo represents the best
experience he's had at the Univer-
"This is the best organization
in the country," Wolfgram said. "I
don't think there's another band
in the country that has the unique
character and quality that we do."
But despite the talent and pres-
tige of the MMB, many members
do not ultimately pursue musical
careers.Wolfgram, amusic educa-
tion major, is one exception to the
norm and said being in the MMB
was not only memorable but also
essential to the future career he's
planned as amusic teacher.
According to LSA senior and
MMB member Ross Federman,
music students are often discour-
aged from joining the Michigan
Marching Band. The enormous
time commitment along with
technical and physical demands
work against the classical train-
ing music majors receive.
"It's a huge time-suck," Wolf-
gram said. "If you're a music
major, when can you practice?
The music school kids just don't
have time and don't have energy
to commit."
The MMB gave Wolfgram the

opportunity to learn skills like
marching, writing and arranging
music and drills for the band. As a
fifth-year senior, Wolfgram wrote
this year's halftime show for the
Notre Dame game.
Though Wolfgram intended to
pursue music education since his
freshman year, others are inspired
by their membership in the MMB
to make music their career.
For David Tenerelli, march-
ing in the MMB inspired him to
transfer from the School of Engi-
neering to the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance to become a
band director.
"I had a god audition my first
year in MMB, and I kind of real-
ized that maybe I had to make this
something that I should do with
my life," Tenerelli said.
Now Tenerelli lives in Frisco,
Texas and is the director of the
Northern Dallas suburb's middle
school music program. He said he
teaches about 310 students.
"There's too much attrition
when it comes to young musicians
going through music programs
in schools today," Tenerelli said.
"Too many kids quit. That's some-
thingthat I hate to see."
Tenerelli uses his experi-
ence with the MMB to inspire
his students, showing videos of
marching bands performing and
simplifying old MMB arrange-
ments so his middle schoolers can
play them.
Some MMB members aspire
to be in a professional band, hop-
ing for the off-chance that they'll
make it big - some actually do.
When Federman joined the
MMB's drum line as a freshman
in 2003, he never thought he
would take six years off school
to tour with a successful band

throughout the country.
In 2004 the local band Tally
Hall needed a drummer, so
Federman auditioned. The group,
started out playing at the U Club
and fraternities, but within a
year was selling out shows at The
Blind Pig.
"One year turned into six and
we ended up in New York," Feder-
man said. "It was something I
thought I would just do for a year
but things took off in a way we
didn't expect."
Now back at the University,
Federman is still affiliated with
the MMB, playing drums with the
basketball band.
Regardless of whether music
is a career or a pastime, people
like Federman can't stay away
from the Michigan Marching
"You're a part of the team that
has so much school spirit behind
it," Federman said. "No other
music ensemble on campus starts
and ends each practice by playing
our school fight song - there's
just this feeling you get."
That unforgettable, infectious
feeling almost always guarantees
a lifetime of dedication to the
Michigan Marching Band.
"In the trombone section,
nobody gets taken off of our list-
serv," Wolfgram said. "We reply
to all on everything. Someone in
our section was at a bowl game
and an alum came up to him and
knew who this student was. That
trombone alum graduated in'91."
It's hard to pinpoint a tangible
reason that ties countless gen-
erations of horns, drum lines and
clarinets together.
"You can't ply apart the rea-
sons," Wolfgram said. "I don't
know where it comes from."

Lil B is perhaps the preemi-
nent rap artist of the Internet age.
We live his art
as a constant,
stream of
content. All
of the embar-
rassing apho-
risms, the
idiotic inside JOE
jokes - utter DIMUZIO
excess oppos-
ing Spartan
simplicity - the tension in his
music cannot be dismissed. On
his most successful album yet, Lil
B sounds indulgent, earnest and
celebratory, in a way few or no
rappers can emulate. It doesn't
hurt that he's working with the
best beat-maker in hip hop right
now. His charms are real, his
failures ample. I feel closer to him
than any rapper ever. Is this what
it means to be based?
Pure X, Pleasure
This record is a ritual. Drone
and heat-smeared bass, yelping
goblin vocals and that guitar!
I can't think of a more somber
instrument in 2011 than Nate
Grace's guitar on Pleasure. It's
supposed to have been recorded
live and you can feel it - all
flimsy cues and slippery notes,
the casual doom of the jammier
bits (sometimes I imagine the
band looking at each other's eyes
when they're not staring at their
shoes) give what is otherwise an
exercise in tone and pedal-play
some intimacy. And don't let that
title fool you!
P.S. Wins award for best
album cover of the year in my
weird book.
Julian Lynch, Terra
It takes effort to make music
this innocuous. Terra is a jumble
of perpetual zonk-outsjingles
for crossing over the River Styx
in a banana boat and what I
imagine your eyes might sing
after staring at the sun for too
long. There's no catharsis, no
drama, no virtuosity. Just vibes,

Oh! A woman after my own
heart. When I first heard Drag-
ging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, I
thought it was too quiet, even
at full volume. Grouper's songs
are bed time-dream time lul-
labies, with a heart of terror and
unquenchable lust. AIA:Alien
Observer finds Grouper doing

ter named. When I hear this
song, I am incapable of stay-
ing still. My foot doesn't tap so
much as spasm, my nose feels
heavy and my head sways (half-
way between bob and bang)
and that's just the first minute.
Where ghettotech got a bit too
tech, Bounce is back to take the
throne, and Big Freedia is the
most fabulous queen to claim it.
Vulnerable R&B

what she does better than every- Drake, sitting in his castle,
one - making records so furi- moping. Kanye and Jay toasting
ously quiet they feel cosmic. to their boredom. The Weekend,
coked- and smoked-up with no
Destroyer, Kaputt place to go. Anonymous violence
and violent misanthropy. When
Call it effete. Call it limp. The-Dream released 1977, he put
But never has utter devasta- it out under his birth name. t'm
tion sounded so gorgeous. One hesitant to give Kid Cudi credit
of 2011's many cases for the for anything, but "Day'N' Night"
saxophone's redemption, and was the prophetic knell that's
ushered in this wave of privileged
ego death. I much preferred...

R. Kelly and
ultimately, a completelyun-ironic
one. In "Blue Eyes" I felt Dan
Bejar mocking me with, "I've
thumbed through the books on
your shelves," sending me his
"coffin of roses," making a chant
out of, "I write poetry for myself!"
and now I chuckle at it. It is also
perhaps 2011's funniest record. If
only you could dance to it!
Could Clarence Clemons
have died in a better year for his
instrument of choice? 2011 was
a year-long obit for him, with
top-40 pop and everything else
reclaiming sax solos, with vary-
ing levels of irony. Bon Iver, Katy
Perry, Lady Gaga, Julian Lynch,
Dan Bejar ... if we get Bill Clin-
ton on the next Ke$ha song, the
post-modern pop machine may
crash from moving too fast. Let's
not forget, John Coltrane had a
Big Freedia -
"Y'all Get Back Now"
The genre of New Orleans
Bounce music could not be bet-

R. Kelly's "Love Letter"
It came out at the tail end of
2010, but I spent my time with
it this year. "Letter" manages
to combine anxiety and post-
millenial helplessness ("Miracles
so amazed, soldiers far away")
and marries it to ebullience,
ensconced in outmoded means
of communication ("Did it touch
your heart / When you read my
love letter?"). Packaged with
syrupy keyboards that revolve,
enveloping bongos and cheap
MIDI horns all leading up to a
MAIL!" Beautiful.
Ellen Willis,
"Out of the Vinyl Deeps"
One of the best collections of
pop writing released this year/
ever. Most of The New Yorker's
first-ever pop music critic Ellen
Willis's columns and pieces on
pop and rock music of the '60s
and '70s are assembled here, for
your enjoyment, devotion and
study. There are few writers in
music since who have been so
casually brilliant, keen and joy-
ous. A hero of mine, a great gift.
Dimuzio is making his list
and checking it twice. E-mail
him at shonenjo@umich.edu.

'The Nutcracker' in A2

DailyArts Writer
The Arabian coffee, Spanish
chocolates and Chinese tea lithe-
ly pas de deux and chasse across
the stage
as Clara
and her The Nutcracker
Nutcrack- Friday at 8 p.m.,
er Prince Saturday at 2
sit and p.m. and 8p.m.,
watch with Sunday at 2 p.m.
delight. As
they finish Power Center
their per- Ticketsfrom $14
for the mouse-conquering
heroes, the confections line the
stage, signaling the arrival of the
Queen of the Kingdom of Sweets.
The Sugar Plum Fairy takes one
graceful step, then another -
then finally pirouettes onto the
scene, inspiring awe in Clara and
the sweets alike.
Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre's
(AABT) annual production of
"The Nutcracker" ballet follows
E.T.A. Hoffmann's 1816 story
"The Nutcracker and the Mouse
King" to the music of P.1. Tchai-
kovsky. The ballet premiered at
the MariinskyTheatre in Decem-
ber 1892 and has been a classic
holiday tradition ever since.
Carol Radovic, founder
and artistic director of AABT,
brought the spirit and style of
Russian ballettoAnnArbor when
she started her company in 1980.
Having trained with the Bolshoi
Ballet and at the Vaganova Bal-
let Academy in St. Petersburg,

Radovic said her production of ed with their role in the ballet,
"The Nutcracker" echoes the Radovic ensures each ballerina
original choreography and meth- and ballerino feels comfortable
od of the Russian ballet. with his or her character, since
"Russian ballet integrates the this, according to Radovic, is the
arms, the hands, the feet, the key to a stunning performance.
upper torso, the tilt of the head," "One of the comments I've
Radovic said. "You're constantly heard for is, 'So, Carol, you only
doing things that are so much have beautiful people in your
more complex (than other styles company. Do you pick them for
of ballet). But people that soak that?' But that's the very nature
and let it permeate become much of dancers," she said. "I'm picking
better dancers." people that can dance, and placing
Because the AABT invites them into roles they can stand out
dancers of all skill levels to join, in. Because they can dance, they
teaching choreography in the become more beautiful."
rigorous Russian style has been AABT's "The Nutcracker,"
challenging, Radovic said. Yet complete with a colorful mix of
the mix of dancers fits well with dancers of various ages, is the
the large assortment of char- company's most important event
acters in "The Nutcracker." By of the season. Radovic explained
implementing her original cho- that this performance evokes the
spirit of the holidays through the
technical mastery of the ballet
Everyone s "Every company that can do a
holiday favorite. 'Nutcracker' does 'The Nutcrack-
er,' because it's the one time of
the year that people are caught up
with the holidays and festivities,
reography, Radovic is able to so it has that universal attraction
play up the abilities of each of her (for) people," Radovic said.
dancers. This holiday tradition gives
"We get dancers from all over, audiences a chance to discover
and we get to be a little melting an art form that might have oth-
pot of dancers from all different erwise gone overlooked.
backgrounds," Radovic said. "As "A large variety of people that
much as you think it's about your come to it say, 'Wow, I really like
choreography, you find ways this,' and maybe that will send
to move it around so that a par- them to another ballet some-
ticular dancer really shines. It's where else, or back to us for
a fluid thing and it's not cast in another show," Radovic said.
stone." "You can entice them with this
As dancers become acquaint- holiday gala event."

"You know, most women's bras are actually two sizes off."
PeeVed off b New Year's Eve

DailyArts Writer
Twenty well-recognized movie
stars half-heartedly trying to ped-
dle two hours of
uninterrupted .
bullshit. That,
in a sentence, New Year's
sums up "New Eve
Year's Eve,"
the pointless At Quality16
romantic com- and Rave
edy brought to
us by the great Warner Bros.
minds behind
the similarly meaningless "Valen-
tine's Day."
And to think, almost two
years have passed since that
trainwreck of a film came out.
Everyone was already start-
ing to forget, to move on and to
remember director Garry Mar-
shall's ("Pretty Woman") better
years. Then, as if to reclaim his
status as a filmmaker dancing to
the whims of Hollywood execs,
Marshall churns out this mas-

To call this movie bad would
be a disservice to all the other
crappy movies that came out this
year. At least those other movies
didn't try to shove Nivea skin care
products down our throats at the
slightest opportunity. (Granted,
Nivea sells a large chunk of the
merchandise at Times Square
on New Year's Eve, but seriously,
when was the last time we saw
every single New Yorker sport-
ing that fashionable Nivea foam
hand and hat?) -
Dragging on for nearly two
hours, "New Year's Eve" boils
down to nothing more than a
tedious game of waiting out the
clock. The horrifying aspect is
seeing how badly the film can
shake your belief in the motion
picture industry over the course
of those two hours. For one,
there's no real believable plot to
tie the story together. Instead,
the writer (Katherine Fugate,
"Valentine's Day") slapped
together a paltry mash-up of idi-
otic little subplots involving 20
different New Yorkers as they

prep for the titular New Year's
Eve celebration.
In all honesty, the best way to
show the utter senselessness of
these stories is to describe the
most interesting ones. Zac Efron
("High School Musical") plays
a bike messenger trying to help
a boring, middle-aged woman
(Michelle Pfeiffer, "Hairspray")
fulfill all of her New Year's reso-
lutions - it really is as stupid as
it sounds - in exchange for tick-
ets to a party.
Save the bubbly
for next year.
Somehow, two-time Oscar
winners Hillary Swank ("Million
Dollar Baby") and Robert DeNiro
("Limitless") find themselves on
this waste of a movie set. Swank
plays a nervous business execu-
tive responsible for organizing
See NEW YEAR'S EVE, Page 6


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