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November 07, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

T athtb id Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 3B

1711 &1 : A* 'A : li il I l

1987 1987
2.34 million 80%/20%
2013 2013
7.5 million 47%//53%

S1987 1987
o>71,600 40
" "
2013 E 2013
100,000 70

Pull up a
chair at

that A
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MONY remembered. "They said it with
affection and grace, but it was clear
Page lB that they had been waiting."
Around the same time, UMS
e funding agency started to received some funding to bring
the proposal just as the in a diversity consultant, Gwen
1 attacks took place. Stunned Cochran Hadden. After spending
hmed and Fischer had devel- the day sitting in on meetings and
this relationship before the getting to know the staff, Hadden
s, the agency was more than brought the UMS board together
to fund Shaheen's visit in in the Michigan Union and provid-
to promote relationships ed aroadmap for action that would
en the two communities, eventually become one of Fischer's
ally in light of the recent 10 Lessons: Start where you are.
. In 2003, Shaheen came to As Hadden explained, if Fischer
Arbor, where he stayed for took the time to look around his
months as a resident artist, own organization to see who was
ulminated his visit with a already engaged, he would be
he wrote titled "Arboresque" amazed whom he would find just
tead of Arabesque - as a waiting tobe asked.
tion to his time spent at the That's when Fischer met Leti-
rsity. tiafByrd. Byrd had been a singer in
s unprecedented coopera- the UMS choir and a loyal volun-
etween UMS and an estab- teer for years, but UMS had never
shared heritage community really paid any attention to her. As
ie a model for which UMS Fischer began to develop a rela-
continue to work with simi- tionship with Byrd, he took a trip
mmunities. The Arab Music to her house, where he discovered
Festival followed, and with that she was involved in about 30
ubsequent outreach attempt additional organizations, all of
4S, the Arab community was whichshe volunteered for.
and more responsive. Later, "Here was a woman that volun-
began reaching out to pro- teered so much time and was so
within the University itself, involved, and an organization that
he Center for Middle East- was so near and dear to her had
North African Studies, and not had any relationship with her,"
d with them to truly put into Fischer explained.
Kt exactly what UMS does. Somethingneeded tochange.
r's desire to bring in Arab In 1997, the Ann Arbor News
was not only for the audi- decided it would start a Citizen of
o experience a performance, the Year award and deservingly
more importantly, to learn gave it to Byrd. At the same time,
another culture. Byrd joined the UMS board, and
as a result her relationship with
Full-blown change Fischer grew. Everything culmi-
nated one night in Byrd's base-
very first community that ment, where a group of some of the
r thought of when he began most prominent African American
sand UMS wasn't Arab, but organizers and musicians in Ann
ly African American. Arbor and at the University joined,
I could get genuinely with Fischer, to discuss UMS and
ed in something that was diversity.
tant to them and of service Willis Patterson, the first Black
community, and give with- professor on the staff of the Uni-
sking anything back, then versity's School of Music, Theatre
uld really get things going," & Dance and a Professor Emeritus
r explained. of Music, told a story about his per-
s "something" turned out to sonal experience with UMS. He
annual fundraising dinner described how one of the greatest
ipported one of the colleges thrills of his life came from UMS,
United Negro College Fund. when he sang in the children's
to years, Fischer sold tables chorus in the 1930s in Hill Audi-
dinner, and through this he torium, accompaniedby the Phila-
his first relationships with delphia Symphony.
ers of the African American He then stated that one of the
unity. After his second year, most disappointing experiences
team behind the dinner of his life also came from UMS
rapping up its final meeting, and went on to describe the very
r spoke to the group. same event in the exact same way.
eally want to change the way Fischer was confused, until Pat-
ch we connect to your com- terson ended his story: "Reason
y," he told them. is, no one was in the audience that
d it was like, 'You know looked like me." For Patterson and
Ken? About time,' " Fisher for many of the others in Byrd's

basement, this story was a way of
relaying the unavoidable fact that,
in years past, Hill Auditorium
hasn't always been welcoming to
the Black community.
Deeply touched, Fischer asked
those in the room what to do. Byrd
introduced him to two groups of
Black women that support the arts
- the Deltas and Links Incorpo-
rated - and suggested that these
women be placed on the UMS
advisory committee, which at the
time was mostly white.
Furthermore, for subsequent
shows at Hill, Fischer had women
from the two groups stationed at
the various entrances to the audi-
torium, handing out programs and
sayingsimply, 'Nice to see you. You
are welcome here.'
These first steps soon blos-
somed into a full-blown change to
UMS's structure, and subsequent
meetings with Catherine Black-
well in 2005 established astronger
connection between UMS and the
African American communities in
"It was one of the most learn-
ing and exciting experiences to
be on that board and to be on
the inside," Mial remembered.
"UMS, the whole staff and
people involved in it, makes a
true effort not only to integrate
performers and the audience,
they do specific things to make
it work and happen ... they have
staff, starting with Ken (Fisch-
er), that really dig in there and
do the work to make it a more
diverse organization."
Today, though far from per-
fect, UMS is starting to take the
shape that Fischer envisioned
when he signed on to be presi-
dent 26 years ago. In addition
to strong relationships with
the Arab and African American
communities, Fischer has built
connections with leaders such
as Martina Guzman and Wei
Shen, who have brought their
own unique presence from their
respective Latin and Chinese
The effects of Fischer's "10
Lessons" are visible today.
UMS's budget has jumped from
$2.34 million in 1987 to $7.5 mil-
lion in 2012, while the number
of volunteers has grown from
250 to 750 in the same period.
Maybe most importantly, UMS's
1987 goal of simply presenting
the performing arts has evolved
into connecting artists and audi-
ences in uncommon and engag-
ing experiences.
More, in any given season, 16

to 33 percent of UMS perform-
ers now come from Africa, Asia,
Latin America, Israel and the
Arab world. Artists as diverse
as Gilberto Gil, Doudou N'Diaye
Rose, Ravi Shankar and the
Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theater have all graced the stage
at Hill, while UMS has been con-
sistent in focusing on a variety of
influences by taking turns them-
ing certain seasons after specific
As a result of this increased
globalization, UMS has become
one of, if not the premier pre-
senting university program, said
Lester Monts, senior vice pro-
vost for Academic Affairs, who
in addition to being University
President Mary Sue Coleman's
special advisor for undergradu-
ate education, diversity and
arts, is a longtime UMS board of
directors member who actually
played classical trumpet at Hill
Auditorium while in college.
"Some performers often say,
'I will only perform in the great
concert halls of Chicago, or New
York, Philadelphia, etc.' But with
UMS becoming a global institu-
tion and encompassing so much
musical culture, Ann Arbor has
really become a highly desirable
destination for world class per-
formers," Monts explains. "They
know that they will perform
before a very sophisticated audi-
ence in a stellar performance
venue - Hill Auditorium."
As for Fischer, his efforts
haven't gone unnoticed. Last
year, he received the 2012
Mariam C. Noland Award for
Nonprofit Leadership given by
the Community Foundation
for Southeast Michigan, which
commended his work in "creat-
ing relationships with leading
corporations, arts organizations,
area public and private schools
and community organizations."
The work of involving every-
one into UMS isn't finished,
as Fischer, Mial and Monts all
"The arts are for everybody,"
Fischer stated. "It's our job to
embrace the entire region, to
make them feel welcomed, and
then encourage them to work
together with others."
That being said, UMS has
come a long way from being a
locally based program focusing
predominantly on white com-
posers and performers.
"Ken Fischer is an impre-
sario," Monts said. "And UMS
brings serious pride and prestige
to the University of Michigan -
it is certainly one of the 'jewels
in the crown."'

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ish someone had told me tacky on the inside. It's perfect for
out Palio before the end dipping in the table's dark green
my junior year. Whenever extra-virgin olive oil (first press,
I about Italian food in Ann I'm sure), sea salt and freshly
there was only mention of cracked black pepper. My only
on the complaint is that the bread isn't
nd and served warm.
's on The appetizers ("antipasti") are
. And hit and miss, taste-wise. The piz-
soth zas and bruschetta are mediocre,
d for but the mussels are quite good.
espec- Served in an interesting departure
asons, from the norm - a tomato-cream
e to NATE combination broth spiked with
there WOOD saffron threads - the appetizer
ption makes both a good first bite for a
middle: mussels-loving table to share or
an entre for those with smaller
sated at the intersection appetites.
iam and Main Street, The main courses tend to be
s certainly hard to miss. more uniform in grade. They're
ick exterior is clum- not out-of-this-world amaz-
inted ina pastel yellow, ing, but also fall far from flat.
up only by streaks of In other words, I've never been
ray paint assembled into wowed by the food, but it's
acks and worn areas; always satisfying. The Cavata-
ult is acorner joint that ppi con Pollo, Pumate e Pesto -
s if it's falling into dis- grilled chicken breast, sundried
Circus-like awnings tomatoes, pesto and cream - is
he front of the building, a safe choice enjoyed by all. And
g patrons eating out on with prices comparable to Olive
ewalk, and the rooftop is Garden, Palio is my pick over
ted with long strings of the tired chain any day.
.bulbs. It all effectively The food I can brag about
's exactly what it means here, though, is the dessert.
lian roadside cooking in Made fresh every day, the
ivial setting." rotating list of sweet fin-
ishes leaves nothing to desire.
There's dense carrot cake, rich
pai isth gelato, smooth panna cotta,
e patio is the crunchy-creamy cannois and
osest thing more. But one dessert "takes
st g the cake."
o Florence The tiramis is immaculate
perfection. Its ladyfingers
tside of Italy have soaked up just the right
amount of espresso and booze
and are layered between gener-
ous slathers of whipped, sweet
convivial it is. When I mascarpone heaven. Topped
bout it, the multiple times with cocoa powder and made
n to Palio have all been to to share (or not), this popular
te my or a friend's birthday. Italian dessert is a must.
ting is so conducive to laid- And while winter finds you
nversation, drinks and noshing - obligatorily - inside,
od that it's an automatic one of the most attractive offer-
for such gatherings. ings at Palio otherwise is the
mmediately suckered in to seasonal option to sit outside.
eal ofPalio byits electron- The Palio Del Sol, the rooftop
is. A trend that's becoming at Palio, is an experience that I
nd more popular, the menu wholly recommend to each and
sed by flipping through every University student. At no
pages on the restaurant's other place inAnn Arbor can you
d tablets. And besides the sip Pinot Gris and fork hot ravi-
snovelty, it's alsopractical. oliunder a dimlylit patio while
sh has a pop-up picture overlooking the hustle and bustle
to drool over and sug- of Main Street. It's as close as my
wine pairings from the mind and body can get to what I
mmed-in sommelier. More- imagine dinner in Florence to be.
u can sort the wine list by At the hour of a summer's dusk,
rice, body and a number of there's no better place.
ool features to put even the So - inside or outside - pull
ovice oenophile at ease. But up a chair. Swipe through the
, technology haters: The menu. Dip your bread. Pry
hioned waitstaff is equally open a mussel. Savor dessert
ful and knowledgeable. and, more importantly, the
tart with glasses of dry friends surrounding you who
at we pretend to appreci- are doing the same. Rinse (with
1 move on quickly to the wine), and on the next birth-
ppealing bread and oil. As day, repeat.

they don't run out right
closing, Palio serves up
e-made bread, which is
on the outside and chewy,

Wood is ordering a second
tiramisu. To share, e-mail

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