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December 15, 1957 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1957-12-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

' Snow Essential to Holidays Stearns' Gift Contains Rare Instrumen

In Christmas Carols, songs
The words snow and Christmas
have almost became synonymous, greeted with little excitement by
students from the northern part of
through the years. the country. However, southerners
Christmas songs such as "I'm and foreign students often are
Dreaming of a White Christmas" amazed at the white blanket which
and "Winter Wonderland" paint covers the earth.
the picture of snowffakes and holi- Their exuberance over snow
day decorations and fun manifests itself, in many ways.
The legend of Santa Claus would I Snowball fights and tray-sledding
not be complete without telling of become favorite pastimes.
his arrival through the snow in a Cameras are often brought out
brightly colored sleigh led by rein- of storage for the purpose of snap-
deers whc are accustomed to cold ping a scene or two to take home
weather and snow. and sho the folks what snow in
First snowfall of the season is great amounts really looks like.
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Crowded into display cases and
collecting dust on the second floor
of Hill Auditorium are the 1500
rare and ancient instruments
which comprise the Stearns Col-
After seventeen years of collect-
ing instruments from all over the
world Frederick Stearns, a De-
troit pharmaceutical manufactur-
er, presented the collection to the
University in 1898 and the Board
of Regents accepted the gift on
January 17, 1899.
In 1901 Stearns' services to the
University were recognized by con-
ferring on him the degree of Mas-
ter of Arts.
Additions to Collection
The initial donation consisted
of 1358 instruments, but Stearns
continually added to the collection
up until his death in 1907. Since
then the University has acquired
several additional pieces, but re-
cently has refused several gifts
due to lack of storage space.
Several years ago, the late Prof.
Marian McArtor, past curator of
the collection, made display cards
featuring the development of the
trumpet from an ivory cylinder to
a brass tube.
Many of the instruments in the
collections are merely oddities,
while others indicate the experi-
mental stages from which modern
musical instruments have evolved.
Unusual Violin
Amoing the unusual items is an
old violin with an elaborate carved
inlay on the back and a head in
scroll. From the bass brass, ser-
pent horn displayed on the wall
emerged what we now recognize
as the tuba.
Many of the instruments are
not in playing condition and there
are no provisions for the constant
attention needed to keep them re-
Only one repair task has been
attempted. An early 18th century
Italian spinetta was put into
playing condition by John Challis
of Detroit, a harpsichord maker.
Challis also made a new case for
the instrument.
Foreign Instruments
Unusual to the modern eye is a
series of picket violins used by
dance masters who were called on
to Journey from town to town.
Many of these string instruments
were used in 17th and 18th cen-
tury Germany.
Foreign instruments which have
never been used in the United
States often attract attention.,
There are several eye-catching
Malayan and Indian nose flutes
played through the nostrils.+
Other collections since added to
the original include the Beal-
Steere Expedition, and the private,
collection of Rev. F. W. Galpin.
of Harlow, England.

SPINETTA-This Italian instrument, from which developed the
piano, has three full octaves and one short octave. It is an early
18th century instrument which was recently renovated by John
Qhallis of Detroit. He made the new case for the instrument and
put it into playing condition. The case has artistically cut rose
ornaments on it. This spinetta is occasionally used by members
of the music school faculty.

-Daily-David Arnold
OLIPHANT-Of French origin,
this ivory tube is carved with
several medallion portraits in.
cluding those of Frances I,
Henry II and Frances I1 Small-
er horns of thisftype were used.
for hunting horns. This particu-
lar horn was too long for this
purpose being more than 48 in-
cies in length.

STRING INSTRUMENTS-The Tar, left, comes from Shiras,
Persia. The body is a single wood block and inlaid with bits of
metal, wood and ivory in geometrical patterns. The Tauts, or
"Peacock Vina," is an Indian instrument of four wire strings
and 15 sympathetic strings. The Tanbur-Sitar, right, is of Persian
origin and belongs to the lute family. It is called the long lute
and has a full metallic sound.
Gift-Ging Practices Change
From One Country to Another


Throughout the world Christmas
is looked upon as a time of giving
and receiving gifts.
The thought, to express love
and goodwill, is the same today but
the bearer of these gifts differs
from country to country.
Santa Claus, dressed in his t'ra-.-
ditional red and white suit with
a snowy white beard, is eagerly
awaited by American children. He

is supposed to arrive on a sleigh
drawn by reindeer and climb down
the chimney to fill the stockings
which have, been "hung by the
fireplace with care."
In Poland Father Star listens
to the prayers and catechism of
the children and Mother Star,
dressed like an angel in white
flowing robes, distributes the gifts
to the good children.
Austrian children dress as bib-
lical characters and go from door
to door on Christmas Eve receiving
gifts of fruits and nuts from the
A goat instead of reindeer is
used by Santa to deliver gifts to
Scandinavian children. He is ac-
companied by elves who distribute
the gifts. The children leave bowls
of porridge on the doorstep for
the elves.


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