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November 08, 2012 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-08

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4B - Thursday, November.8, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

The power of
the celebrity
super PAC
W hile many of us took not a democracy!" @realDon-
to the Twittersphere aldTrump lamented when
on Election Day the results came in indicating
and these past months to give Obama had won. He proceeded
our opinions on the 2012 presi- to trash the electoral college,
dential elec- state that our country was "in
tion in 140 serious and unprecedented
characters or trouble...like never before" and
less, we were trash Brian Williams's election
joined by coverage. But he did manage to
some tweet- throw ina few tweets here and
ers with a bit there about how Trump volun-
more follow- teers were helping Hurricane
ers than the HALEY Sandy victims.
average per- GOLDBERG Romney supporter and come-
son: politi- dian Victoria Jackson went for
cally active the dramatic with her post-
celebrities of Hollywood. election tweets. Via Twitter,
This election, social media Jackson announced the death of
made it clear that celebrities are America, posting a tombstone
more than mere voting citizens: picture. Jackson, whose Twitter
They serve as gateways to help description reads "John 16:33"
promote the candidates and vot- even went so far as to say:
ing to the nation. "Thanks a lot Christians, for
Let's start with the celebrity not showing up. You disgust me."
tactic both candidates employed You can't measure the effect
for their final push in Ohio on a celebrity endorsement has on
Monday night. When President a candidate. Maybe Jackson's
Barack Obama took to the stage controversial tweets drew the
in Columbus for his second-to- Romney campaign more atten-
last campaign stop, he brought tion. ButI doubt large groups of
two celebs to spread the age voters selected a straight "Jay-Z"
demographic of the country: ticket when they entered the
Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. polls. One thing, however, is
Presidential hopeful Mitt Rom- for certain: Celebs did make a
ney's Ohio tactic? That same difference with the election on
night he campaigned at the Port Tuesday by encouraging their
Columbus International Airport followers to just get out and vote,
with The Marshall Tucker Band. regardless of party affiliation.
The candidates brought CNN
and Fox News to the events, but
the celebrities brought E! news W ait.Vince
and guaranteed the candidates Wait
spreading their message to dif- Vaughn is a
ferent demographics.
Celebrities even seemed to Republican?
band together in support of *
the candidates, nearly forming W ho knew?
their own super PAC. According
to US News, Obama received
significant contributions from
will.i.am, Eva Longoria, George Lady Gaga tweeted a link to
Clooney and Zach Braff. Rom- help people find their polling
ney's coiner of celeb support locations; Ryan Seacrest tweeted
included Clint Eastwood, Chuck his status of filling out his ballot
Norris, Vince Vaughn, Meatloaf and the Kardashian klan encour-
and, of course, Donald Trump. aged their followers to head to
Both candidates have learned the polls.
that bringing on celebrities can E!compiled a list of these
help shape their image. With celebrity tweeters, and most of
Lynyrd Skynyrd on Team Rom- them encouraged voters in an
ney, he may have hoped to appeal objective way, inspiringtheir fol-
to the "Sweet Home Alabama" lowers to simply vote for some-
audience. And the many past one, anyone. Their followers,
girlfriends of George Clooney who may or may not watch CNN,
might have gone to the polls for had the election brought to their
Obama ... if they weren't from attention by someone they idol-
Italy. Luckily for both candi- ize, which may be more mean-
dates, the young Justin Bieber ingful to them than any political
is Canadian born, but I'm sure ad on TV.
there would have been a battle Election 2012 was a moment
for the minority vote of Beliebers of redemption for celeb tweeters.
over the age of 18. Though often tweeting about
In the realm of celebrity sup- their cats; their latest movie
porters, it seems Obama won by projects or the expensive design-
gathering the "tier 1" equiva- er clothing they just can't get
lent of celebs. But perhaps the enough of, they put their tweets
later generation of voters are to good use, and helped put the
avid Meatloaf fans, and Rom- importance of voting into the
ney appealed to them that way. spotlight for their followers.
Either way, Romney's celeb sup- So be kind to the girl in your
porters weren't shy on Twitter discussion keeping up with
about their post-election feel- Snooki daily on Twitter. Know

ings. that for once, the Guido and her
Trump wasn't short of coming fellow celebs pushed to make a
up with statements about Rom- difference in our nation.
ney's loss that signaled the end
of the world. Goldberg is voting for Jay-Z/
"This election is a total Beyonce 2016. To support her,
sham and a travesty. We are e-mail hsgold@umich.edu.
To request an application, e-mail

FromPage 1B
state-of-the-art concert hall,
which was no small sum consid-
ering that at the time, an average
American home cost approxi-
mately $3,500. Accounting for
inflation, $200,000would amount
to millions in today's currency.
In addition to Hill's large dona-
tion, $150,000 was necessary to
purchase the required land and
begin construction.
LSA alum Tamar Galed, whose
history thesis focuses on Hill
Auditorium, wrote that in order
to procure the required fund-
ing, politician Charles Sink, who
would later serve as UMS presi-
dent, traveled to the state legis-
lature. He managed to convince
government officials that the
auditorium would have a lasting
positive impact on the cultural
and' economic atmosphere of
"(Sink) managed to convince
the state government that Hill
Auditorium was more than just
a gift to the University," Galed
wrote in his thesis. "It was an
investment for our college's
Just the basics
Before construction began in
1911, three basic requirements
for Hill Auditorium were identi-
fied: The finished hall had to be
large enough to host the entire
student body, the acoustics of
the auditorium had to be suf-
ficiently developed so a single
speaker's unamplified voice
would be audible to the entire
audience, and Hill had to be able
to house the celebrated Colum-
bian organ, which had been
purchased in 1894 for $25,000
through the efforts of Kelsey
and UMS.
Reischl said the organ is still
regarded as one of the auditori-
um's crown jewels.
"(The organ) was the most
technologically advanced of its
time and a marvel to behold,"
Reischl said. "It was modi-
fied and improved before being
moved to Hill in 1913, where it's
still used by students and teach-
ers today."
The organ was later renamed
the Freize Memorial Organ in
honor of Henry Simmons Freize,
a Latin professor and the first act-
ing president of UMS. Today, the
organ serves as the focal point
of the auditorium's parabolically
curved interior.
To oversee construction of
the new hall, then-University
president H.B. Hutchins chose
renowned Detroit architect
Albert Kahn.
Sophie Kruz, a video producer
for UMS who is currently making
a documentary about the organi-
zation's 100-year history in Hill
Auditorium, said the decision to
pick Kahn was based largely on
his previous work with large-scale
factory design, which required a
reinforced concrete construction
technique he developed.
"The reinforced concrete tech-
nique allowed Kahn to construct
buildings without needing to use
wooden support beams," Kruz
said. "Without the need of sup-
port beams, the hall could be
made large enough to be molded
into the dimensions and shape

necessary for the required acous-
The single tilted parabolic
shape that Kahn and acoustics
engineer Hugh Tallant chose was
based on Tallant's analysis of how
sound traveled in an enclosed
"Tallant saw the movement of
sound inside a building as very
similar to light bouncing off a mir-
ror, and he wanted to direct it at
the audience," Reischl said. "And
(looking) back atthe design layout
for Hill, it's interestingnotingthat
the hall really looks like a giant
megaphone blaring music in the
direction of the audience mem-



Hill Auditorium was originally intended to seat all students and faculty at the University.

Kahn was also known to be
an efficient designer, opting for a
simple, brick-layered exterior and
a high-utility interior. As noted by
Kruz, this utility came in the form
of fluid natural lighting, a devel-
oped ventilation system and, of
course, excellent acoustics.
"Kahn was well known for his
innovation and eye towards effi-
ciency in design," Kruz said. "He
had a great ability to design build-
ings for function and I think it's
visible in Hill."
Kahn wrapped construction
of the building in approximately
two years. Upon completion in
1913, the venue was already being
regarded asa monument to acous-
tic design comparable to Carnegie
Hall in New York City.
After performing in the May
Festival of 1913, Frederick Stock,
conductor of the Chicago Sym-
phony Orchestra, called the audi-
torium flawless.
"It is perfect. There seems to
be no flaw anywhere; the acous-
tics are perfect," Stock told the
Daily in an article published in
1913. "Like a violin, such a build-
ing improves with age; it must
get tempered to the sound. You
should be proud of your new
auditorium; there is not another
building like it in the country."
From Kombrink to Caruso
Over the years, news of
the auditorium's supposed
unmatched acoustical quality
reached distinguished performers
across the world. Hill was quickly
becoming one of the most lauded
music centers in the country.
Famous soprano Ilona Kom-
brink felt that the interestinspired
by the hall was a result of how eas-,
ily the acoustics enhanced merely
average performances.
"I think anyone could perform
there and achieve an excellence,"
Kombrink wrote in a 1980 letter
to UMS. "The hall fairly takes
you by the hand acoustically and
gives you a marvelous platform on
which to perform."
Kruz, whose documentary
takes an in-depth look at the
development and growth of Hill
Auditorium, said perhaps the
most recognizable performance
of the hall's beginning years was
by famous Italian tenor Enrico
Caruso in 1919.

She explained how Charles
Sink, a leader of UMS at the time,
traveled to New York to petition
Caruso to bring his talents to
"This was a huge accomplish-.
ment because Caruso was one of
the most famous singers in the
world at that time," Kruz said.
"I think his decision to perform
in this small, mid-western town
really put UMS and Ann Arbor on
the map as a destination for major
concert artists."
The hall has inspired a'sense
of loyalty in the artists who have
graced its stage. According to
associate professor of musicol-
ogy Mark Clague, the undeniable
allure of the auditorium is likely a
result of the audience interaction
provided by the hall's acoustics.
"As a performer, the fact that
you can hear thiswave of applause
coming back atyou lets you estab-
lish a very satisfying commu-
nication between the stage and
the audience," Clague said. "This
symbiotic relationship that Hill
creates between the performer
and the audience is mutually
Rheme Sloan, a junior vocal-
ist in the School of MT&D, added
that petforming in the acoustical
environment of Hill Auditorium
allows artists to further hone
their individual talent.
"When you're singing on the
Hill stage, the first thing you
notice is thatyou can't immediate-
ly hear the person singing next to
you," Sloan said. "And that's when
being a musician really comes into
play because you really have no
one to rely on but yourself."
Leonard Bernstein, the Ameri-
can composer, performed the
1988 Bernstein Benefit concert in
which he conducted the -Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra for what
would be his last time in Ann
"I remember the Leonard Ber-
nstein concert because I was a
student in the School of Music at
the time," Clague said. "The per-
formance that he gave that night
was without a doubt my favorite
performance ever at Hill. The
whole experience was just rivet-
"I remember he would insist on
waiting backstage to meet with
anyone who was willing. As I look
back on it, getting to meet him had

a profound influence on me as a
musician and a teacher," he added.
Celebrating community
It's difficult to measure the
impact the auditorium has had
on Ann Arbor and the University
because of the multitude of expe-
riences it has provided for stu-
dents over the past century.
"Hill has seen two world wars
in its lifetime and in those times
of war, it was always a place where
people could just gather and cele-
brate music," Kruz said.
Reischl added that the sheer
amount of notoriety the hall has
given Ann Arbor in the music
world is somethingto be marveled
at and will keep artists coming
back for decades to come.
"The fact that the New York
Philharmonic chooses Hill as one
of three or four stops on a tour is
nothing short of amazing," Reis-
chl said. "There are not many
other college halls that attract
that kind of talent."
Just as UMS took the initiative
to procure funding for the con-
struction of the hall 100 years ago,
the organization is now leading
celebrations of Hill's upcoming
In order to mark the century of
memories the hall has inspired in
Ann Arbor, UMS will be hosting
a Hill Immersion Day on Feb. 2,
2013. The day will start with "Sat-
urday Morning Physics," a spe-
cial event in which experts will
discuss the science behind one of
the most acoustically perfect halls
in the world. The celebration will
continue with tours and activi-
ties highlighting the relationship
between Hill and the community,
culminating with the premiere
of Kruz's documentary about the
Clague, who is currently host-
ing a three-part lecture on the
history of Hill and its relationship
with the University, explained
that Hill has become more than
just a concert hall during its 100
"I feel like Hill now serves as
a diplomatic mission between
the school and the community,"
Clague said. "Hill has brought a
range of voices and cultures to the
campus and I think it's our duty to
reach out and put the University
in service of our city."




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