October 2, 2007

Did she drop off the face of the planet?

Nay, and I'm sorry for being absent from the blogging world for so long.

If you want to see what I'm up to now, visit the Duluth Community News Web site. For more information, e-mail me at sjhasse002@yahoo.com. Thanks, and have a great day!

December 18, 2006

Culture shock stories from England: Story format

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Dec. 18, 2006

Chicken and sweet corn pizza? It may seem weird to some American students at UMD, but those who studied in Birmingham, England, know about the culture differences between their study abroad location and Duluth.

Every year, approximately 50 UMD students travel to England to study abroad together for one school year at the University of Birmingham.

Lane Johnson, Brady Hern, Rachel Cooper, Matt Duea, and Scott Morril studied in last school year’s Birmingham program and discussed their culture shock experiences on both sides of the ocean.

Duea said that he had expected some differences in that he had heard that England and the U.S. were different socially. However, he did not anticipate that the airports, especially the terminals, would be so quiet.

“There were about 130 people in line at the airport and nobody was talking,? Duea said.

Duea added that people are expected to know a second language and that the students are from all over the world.

“They are well versed culturally,? he said. “They understand most cultures – not just one or two – because it is such a mixing pot.?

Public transportation is another cultural aspect that differs for the peoples of England compared to the U.S.

Johnson said that in England, it was convenient to use buses and trains.

“And then you come back to Duluth and you have these buses that come every hour, or it takes an hour and a half to get to the mall,? Johnson said. “It’s kind of a disappointment.?

Cooper said that she walked and used the buses more in England and added that it helped that things were closer together overseas.

“If I had an hour break between classes, the grocery store was a few minutes’ walk away from campus, so I’d go get my groceries,? Cooper said. “Then I’d just put them in the window sill at my class, and then carry them home after class.?

Morril said one aspect of culture shock for him was trying to talk with older English men in pubs who had heavy English accents.

“I think we all got pretty good at smiling and nodding after someone had mumbled something in a heavy Englsih accent that we couldn’t understand,? Morril said.

Morril said another notable thing about the English culture was what he called the English breakfast which included eggs, beans, sausage, bacon, and toast.

“I would kill for that,? Morril said with a laugh.

Hern and Johnson both agreed that the bacon itself is better in England.

“That’s not even a question, really. It’s like a thick slab, same thickness, and there’s not any fat in there. It’s the best part of our bacon, but huge,? Hern said.

Cooper said another difference between the cultures was putting sweet corn on pizza. She said that chicken and sweet corn or sweet corn and green peppers was not uncommon there on pizzas.

She also said the salads in England are different.

“Their salad is a large leaf of lettuce and maybe some cucumber or tomato, and you might have salad cream on it or with it, which is weird. I think it’s probably more like mayonnaise than salad dressing,? Cooper said. “And then you cut your lettuce as you eat it. I just don’t like the way the English do salads.?

Johnson said a distinctly English culture difference was the presence of chavves.

“They’re the scum of the earth, English style,? Johnson said. “They wear track suits, tuck their windpants into their socks and have white sneakers.?

He said that they were commonly found in the back of the bus smoking pot.

“They don’t do anything. They’re just there being annoying. If they’re drunk, they cause fights. Everyone who’s been to England has a chavve story. One person has punched one after being assaulted by him,? Johnson said.

With the cultural differences the students noticed in going to England, they also became realized more differences upon returning to the U.S.

“The stores are bigger. The country’s bigger. We’ve got to drive farther to get more places,? Johnson said. “Flying back in, I remember looking down and seeing all the lakes and baseball fields and thinking [that] I never realized we had this much water.?

Duea agreed and said that he thought things were much more spread out in the U.S.

“Even Minneapolis looked a lot more plush, green. It looked from the plane like it was planted in a meadow,? Duea said.

Morril said that in coming back to America, he became aware that Europeans were more apt to talk to about world issues than Americans.

“To come [back] to the U.S. was sort of like going from the Twin Cities to a small town in Iowa in that it’s a little more disconnected [from the rest of the world],? he said.

Morril said the American students who are going to travel between the metaphorical Twin Cities and Iowa already get too much advice regarding culture shock.

“If you go with a backpack and you’ve saived some money from the summer, you’ll be fine. You’re not going to die [if you don’t have everything planned]; you’ll be fine,? Morril said.

Hern agreed and said that the students here about how it will be in England, how to act, what to wear, and what to watch out for.

“Don’t listen to anybody,? Hern said. “You get the most out of it if you figure it out for yourself even if you act stupid sometimes.?

Duea’s advice was to go and said that it is all about being uncomfortable.

“That’s why it is so fulfilling over all,? Duea added.

Johnson said that saving money was important.

“Think about how much you think you’re going to need and double it, and that’s probably a good estimate,? Johnson said.

His other advice resembled that of a tennis shoe advertisement from the 1990’s: Just do it.

“Don’t think about it - just do it - because the more you think about it, the more it might keep you up at night,? said Johnson. “It all works out in the end anyways.?

* * *

Culture shock stories from England: Q&A format

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Dec. 18, 2006

Chicken and sweet corn pizza? It may seem weird to some American students at UMD, but those who studied in Birmingham, England, understand some of the culture differences between Duluth and Birmingham.

Every year, approximately 50 UMD students travel to England to study abroad together for one school year at the University of Birmingham.

Lane Johnson, Brady Hern, Rachel Cooper, Matt Duea, and Scott Morril studied in last school year’s Birmingham program and shared their culture shock experiences on both sides of the ocean.

Question: Did you have expectations of culture shock before going to England that you were right about?

Johnson: The transit system is a sweet way to get around. It's convenient. And then you come back to Duluth and you have these buses that come every hour or it takes an hour and a half to get to the mall. It's kind of a disappointment.

Duea: I had heard that England and the U.S. were different socially. In line at the airport there were about 130 people in line and nobody was talking.

Q: Tell me about your experiences of culture shock.

Duea: A second language is expected over there. They [the students at Birmingham] are from all over. They are well versed culturally. They understand most cultures, not just one or two, because it is such a mixing pot.

Hern: The buses, driving on the left side of the road, eating different foods, meeting people. That's probably the biggest thing. You can adjust to eating different foods, but meeting different people is a pretty big deal.

Cooper: You rode the buses and walked so much more in Europe than you do here and, granted, it’s a lot easier, because things are closer together. If I had an hour break between classes, the grocery store from campus was a few minute’s walk away, so I’d go get my groceries and then, as long as I didn’t buy too many perishable things, I’d just put them in the window sill at my class, and then carry them home at the end of the day.

Morril: I think all of us for the first couple of weeks looked both ways like five times before we crossed the road. Small things like that. Trying to strike up conversations with old English guys in the pubs, sometimes they’d just have really heavy accents. I think we all got pretty good at like smiling and nodding after someone had mumbled something in a heavy English accent that we couldn’t understand.

Q: What was your experience with culture shock upon returning to the U.S.?

Johnson: The size of everything here. It's like everything is put in some sort of an enlargement chamber and blown up. The stores are bigger, the country's bigger, we got to drive farther to get more places. Flying back in, I remember looking down and seeing all the lakes and baseball fields and thinking, wow, I haven’t seen this in a long time. I never realized we had this much water.

Duea: It's much more spread out here. Even Minneapolis looked a lot more plush, green. It looked like it was planted in a meadow from the plane. Birmingham stretches for miles. It spreads all over. There are cities within cities. My address was not just Birmingham; it was Northfield, Birmingham.

Morril: The U.K., through its history and its geographical location, is really connected to the rest of the world. Generally, Europeans are more interested in what is going on in the world, and to come to the U.S. was sort of like going from the Twin Cities to a small town in Iowa in that it’s a little more disconnected [from the rest of the world].

Q: What did you miss about the U.S. culture while in Birmingham?

Hern: The only thing I missed that I didn't realize until I got home was gatorade. Can’t buy gatorade or anything like it.

Johnson: I’d say things like Ranch dressing. Gatorade, mountain dew. It's just all these little things that you don’t really care about, but then sometimes you get that craving for food, and you want a certain thing, and you can’t get it.

Cooper: I’d known going over that English peanut butter in general is not anything [like] American peanut butter, so I brought over two or three jars of Skippy with me. They don’t eat salad like we do. Their salad is a large leaf of lettuce and maybe some cucumber or tomato, and you might have salad cream on it or with it, which is weird. I think it’s probably more like mayonnaise than salad dressing. I don’t like it at all; it’s just gross. And then you cut your lettuce as you eat it. I just don’t like the way the English do salads.

Q: Do you miss anything from the British culture?

Hern: Bacon. That’s not even a question, really. It’s like a thick slab, same thickness, and there’s not any fat in there. It’s like the best part of our bacon, but huge.

Morril: The English breakfast is a wonderful thing. A couple eggs, beans, sausage, bacon, toast. I would kill for that. And some of the local brews were good. I miss the centralized city center, like there’s a zone for walking and shopping.

Cooper: Cadbury chocolate would be my number one. Putting sweet corn on pizza. Chicken and sweet corn, or sweet corn and green peppers on a pizza. It was just weird.

Johnson: Chavves. I don’t really miss them, but they’re the scum of the earth English style. They wear track suits, tuck their windpants into their socks and have white sneakers. If you're on a bus, you’ll can find a chavve because there’re in the back of the bus smoking pot and throwing stuff at you. They don’t do anything. They're just there being annoying. If they're drunk, they cause fights. Everyone has a chavve story who's been to England. One person has punched one after being assaulted by him. But you don’t see that here. I dont miss that at all, but I do, but not in a way that’s like ‘Oh, I gotta have my chavve dose.’ But that's one thing that's distinct about England.

Q: Do you have any advice for students who are going to study abroad?

Duea: Go. It’s all about being uncomfortable. That’s why it is so fulfilling over all.

Cooper: When you’re packing, think about clothes that you can maybe leave behind, because coming home you’re gonna have tons of new stuff you’ll want to bring home with you.

Hern: Don’t listen to anybody. When we went over there, we’d heard a lot of things about how it was going to be, how we should act, what to wear, to watch out for this and do this. You get the most out of it if you figure it out for yourself even if you act stupid sometimes.

Morril: I think they have too much advice as it is. If you go to England with a backpack, and you’ve saved some money from the summer, you’ll be fine. You’re not going to die [if you don’t have everything planned]; you’ll be fine.

Johnson: Save up a lot of money. Think about how much you think you're going to need, and double it, and that's probably a good estimate. And don’t think about it; just do it, because the more you think about it, the more it might keep you up at night. It all works out in the end anyways.

* * *

November 7, 2006

KUMD's popular Femme Fatal in danger of disappearing

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Nov. 7, 2006

In a dim room with CDs lining the walls, fifth year UMD student Maria Johnson sat behind the broadcaster’s desk and easily juggled the many tasks of a DJ.

After working with KUMD for five years, Johnson will be leaving UMD this winter, which means leaving KUMD and her three-year-old radio show Femme Fatal, possibly disappointing some listeners.

“Someone pledged during the last pledge drive and said some really nice things about my show and [said] that they were sorry I was leaving,? Johnson said.

Johnson, an art education and studio design double major, volunteers for KUMD both as the Femme Fatal DJ on Wednesday nights from 9 to 11 and as the RPM Music Director.

RPM refers to the Revolutions Per Minute show that comes on mainly in the evenings and features a variety of different music styles. Volunteering as RPM Music Director means Johnson recruits, hires, and fires announcers.

She also reviews the music that comes into the station, sets the musical style for RPM for the week, communicates with promoters on the phone and through emails, and other organizational tasks around the station.

She receives work study money for answering phones and doing office work in KUMD.

Johnson said that she first started working in the office and then developed Femme Fatal later with her roommate, Taryn Runck. Runck started at KUMD as a volunteer DJ with Johnson on their show for approximately a school year before letting Johnson take over the show.

Their idea came from the fact that Johnson and Runck were, at that time, the only girl nighttime KUMD DJ’s.

“We thought that was pretty bogus,? Johnson said.

Their aim was to play some of what Johnson calls “girly? music, but they wanted to play more than just music by independent female artists.

“We didn’t want to play all girl music, because there’s already a program that does that on Sundays, and we didn’t want to be sexist. Boys make good music, too,? said Johnson.

Two independent artists Johnson plays consistently are “Mirah? and “The Blow.?

KUMD Station Manager Mike Dean has listened to Femme Fatal and said the music is high quality and presented well.

“She plays a surprising variety of music - things that I never would hear otherwise if I hadn’t listened to her show,? said Dean. “It’s a very diverse show. You never know what to expect.?

Three years after the start of Femme Fatal, Johnson will be leaving to do her student teaching which might take her to the Twin Cities. After that, she says she wants to study abroad to finish up her studio art degree.

Johnson said her replacement might be Jenny Lennick, the Listening Rainbow’s DJ 11 to 1 on Tuesday nights.

“We’ll see. She plays a lot of similar stuff,? said Johnson.

Mike Dean hadn’t heard that Lennick might be a replacement, but he said it could work.

“They’re compatible, sure, in a lot of ways.? said Dean. “It’s a possibility.?

Johnson said that Listening Rainbow and Femme Fatal often have similar play lists.

“She used to be on right after me, and it didn’t work because we’d play the same songs. One of my friends was like ‘Yeah, Jenny, she’s like the junior Femme Fatal.’ OK, I guess so,? said Johnson.

However, Johnson said that if Lennick took the Femme Fatal time slot, she would keep the show name Listening Rainbow.

“Everything else will probably stay pretty much the same: Girly, cute songs kind of format,? Johnson said.
* * *

Tuning in to KUMD's supporters

‘This station is supported by listeners like you’ is a frequent announcement on public radio stations like KUMD, but KUMD is supported by more than just listeners. Volunteers, the UMD student body, and underwriters help keep KUMD on the air.

Station manager Mike Dean said that approximately 100 people work in the course of a year work at KUMD, most of whom are volunteers. He also said that the station could use more student workers, whether that means working on the air or behind the scenes.

“In my opinion, you cannot have enough students at the station,? Dean said. “If we had 1000 students, for example, we’d find something [for everyone].?

There are five paid student workers right now who, between them all, work over 40 hours per week at KUMD. The remaining students at KUMD are volunteers.

“Once we get to about 5 in the afternoon on weekdays, [they’re] all volunteers,? Dean said. “They usually have just one shift a week.?

Dean said that many students volunteer at KUMD because of the experience of being on the air, and some students enjoy presenting music or news live to an audience.

“You get a chance to do something that you ordinarily wouldn’t get to do,? as Dean said.

St. Cloud’s college radio station inspired Maria Johnson to help out her college radio station before she had started her college career.

“I grew up in Cambridge; we picked up St Cloud’s college radio station and I always listened to it,? Johnson said. “I was really into that and always thought it would be a good thing to go into in college.?

Johnson runs her own show called Femme Fatal. She is also the RPM Music Director, which puts her in charge of student DJs and music coming into the station as well as talking with promoters and organizing other things in the station.

Less adventurous students can work behind-the-scenes on publicity for the station and help with fundraising events.

KUMD does not require employees to have previous radio experience or to be a certain major. Dean said that he asks for only interest, time, and a commitment to the station.

If students want to support the station but can’t volunteer at KUMD, they have no reason to feel guilty. Each student enrolled for six or more credits supports KUMD with $2.94, or 1.3% of their Student Services Fee each semester, so KUMD considers every student as an underwriter, or financial supporter, of the station.

Local businesses are underwriters for their monetary donations. Last year, KUMD raised about $75,000 from local businesses.

“We don’t run commercials,? said Dean. “We do raise money from businesses that then get their name on the air. They get like a brief announcement. It’s not an ad, but it basically says they’re supporting KUMD.?

In addition to local businesses, listeners from Duluth and other areas in Minnesota support KUMD by becoming members and donating money.

Besides students, local businesses, and members, UMD also underwrites the station with money to pay some staff members, and by letting KUMD use rooms in Humanities first floor.

Students graduating from UMD this winter semester will make openings at KUMD, and Dean said there is always a need for volunteers.

“If there is any student who wants to do something down here, we’ll find a spot for ‘em.?
* * *

Music Majors: Why UMD?

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Nov. 7, 2006

Students awaiting lessons line the second floor of Humanities where everything from jazz trumpet to opera lessons can be heard. The UMD music department has its ups and downs, but students enjoy studying music here for several different reasons.

UMD’s Jazz Ensemble Director Ryan Frane said that if music students are interested in studying one thing specifically, then they would attend a conservatory or school of music. On the other hand if students want a more well-rounded music education, then they would go for a four-year liberal arts degree like UMD offers.

UMD senior guitar performance major Frankie Roeder says that UMD is also less expensive than other schools in the state, such as the McNally Smith College of Music located in St. Paul, MN, which used to be called Musictech College.

“They’re not very well known but they’re a good school for music students,? Roeder said and paused before he added, “if you have a lot of money.?

“I feel like I’m getting more than my money’s worth for my education,? said Roeder.

Also attractive to music majors, UMD is a small school in a small city compared to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

“Some of the schools in larger cities have extra things to offer, and sometimes schools in smaller cities have extra things to offer,? said Frane. “It depends what your motivation is.?

Interested in playing rock, blues, folk, and jazz styles, Roeder said that he thought the jazz program was better at UMD than it was at the UMTC, and he said that the UMTC was more classically oriented.

“They have really good orchestras and choirs, but when it [comes] down to jazz program I think that this place is definitely way better,? Roeder said.

“I’ve never been trained in classical,? he said. “It kinda just makes me tired.?

The Twin Cities campus is a better place for a constant flow of nearby music events, but if personable professors is a priority, then UMD’s smaller campus may be more attractive.

UMD freshman music education major and trumpet player Erik Leist was not accepted to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, but he said it would not have mattered if he had been accepted.

“I would have switched anyway because the teachers here are a lot easier to talk to,? Leist said.

Leist added that the music program is being reconstructed which makes directors even more busy and UMD’s music faculty replied to his emails. Frane also said that that UMD’s music faculty are more available than at many other schools.

“There are certainly high quality music faculty at UMD who really love working with students,? said Frane. “They are teachers in their hearts.? Frane added.

Freshman trumpet performance major Justin Cadotte was of the same opinion as Leist on UMD’s professors and program.

“I’m from Duluth and I’ve done a lot of stuff here with the music program, and I know the teachers are really good,? Cadotte said. “The program’s strong and I can do a lot better here.?

Still, no school is perfect.

Cadotte dislikes the practice rooms.

“It’s not the size; it’s just sitting down and listening to the clarinet next door and trying to concentrate,? he said.

Better soundproofed practice rooms is important to Cadotte, but Leist is concerned with playing a greater variety of jazz music.

“I have friends who didn’t come here because they want to do jazz, but it’s all new age stuff that just got written,? he said.

Frane said that jazz students have to travel to see artists perform who can’t make it to Duluth, so Duluth’s smaller city status is something of a downfall. However, that can also be a benefit for students who want to perform outside of the campus.

“Students are able to play gigs here, where if they’re living in the metro area, they’d have to drive more to play gigs because the professionals would be taking all the gigs,? Frane said.

Frane also said that UMD’s music performance environment is not as competitive as other schools which, depending on the individual, may or may not be attractive.

“If you’re the type of student that needs that drill instructor type mentality, this might not be the place,? said Frane.

And, of course, this is Duluth after all.

“You kind of have to like the weather,? said Frane with a laugh.
* * *

Got Music?

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Nov. 7, 2006

Even though classes can be tough, and rehearsing, practicing, and attending lessons take up a lot of time, some students would rather participate in ensembles than leave music out of their schedules.

UMD Pep Band President and French horn player Jacob Gauer is a biochemistry major and decided this fall semester to also major in music.

“Before this year, I was in band mainly as a stress reliever from the intensity of my other classes,? Gauer said.

Assistant Director of Bands at UMD Daniel Eaton said that many students in the UMD Pep Band and Concert Band are non-music students who play for the fun of it.

“It’s a completely different school of thought in band as opposed to math class or physics,? said Eaton.

“They just want to continue to be involved, yet they want to be an engineer, or they want to be a biology or a chemistry major,? he added.

Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at UMD Stanley Wold said that music, particularly singing, can also make a person healthier.

“I think that the act of singing releases into the blood stream a chemical that actually helps the healthiness of an individual. Just the act of singing,? Wold said.

The vocal groups that UMD offers for students to audition for and participate in include:
• Concert Chorale
• University Singers
• Chamber Singers
• Vocal Jazz: Chill Factor
• Vocal Jazz: Lake Effect
• Opera Studio
• Opera Studio: Graduate Level

University Singers is made up of about 55 students, of which between 16 and 19 students sing together as the Chamber Singers Ensemble. The University Singers group rehearses more often than Concert Chorale and perform off-campus on tours while Concert Chorale does not. Concert Chorale is a larger and less selective group with students ranging from freshman to seniors.

Similarly, Lake Effect is a more selective vocal group than Chill Factor. Add to that the option of Opera Studio, which studies musical theatre as well, and there is something for everyone in the vocal music scene.

“You can join something here and sing vocal jazz and - clear on the other end - you can be involved in opera,? Wold said. “Of course, we don’t cover the complete waterfront, but we’re getting close,? he added with a laugh.

As in vocal music, instrumental music has two larger groups. Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band are classical music groups, but Symphonic is more selective than Concert. This means it requires a better audition, more rehearsal time, and a commitment to touring, whereas Concert Band does not require that much commitment.

Similarly, Jazz I and Jazz Combo I are both more selective than Jazz II and Jazz Combos II-IV, respectively.

Chamber Orchestra is composed of string instruments only, and Symphony Orchestra is composed of the full orchestral score.

Additionally, there are many smaller ensembles students can be a part of:
• Percussion Ensemble
• Trumpet Ensemble
• Tuba Ensemble
• Classical Guitar
• Guitar Ensembles I &II
• String Quartet
• Brass Quintet
• Woodwind Quartet
• Piano Trio

All of the groups listed above require commitment o the band except for one: Pep Band.

Eaton said that when he first started at UMD seven years ago, the Pep Band only had 24 members. At its first rehearsal this fall, 140 people showed up.

“The Pep Band is almost 1% of the student population,? said Eaton. “We’re going to take over the world, man.?

The best time to get into music groups is at the beginning of fall semester, but there are chances to get involved at the beginning of spring semester, too. For the more selective groups, incoming musicians might get a spot if one opened up, but the other groups should be able to accommodate those who audition well.

The exception is, again, the Pep Band.

“You can come in any time,? said Eaton. “It’s never too late for someone to join the pep band.?

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ON THE WEB: http://www.d.umn.edu/music/faculty/area.html#ensembles – Listing the UMD music faculty by area

October 5, 2006

Guitarists and more rock out at Open Mic

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Oct. 5, 2006

At 10 p.m. Wednesday in the Kirby Rafters, folding chairs fill the dark room as is usual. Two table lamps in the back and four red stage lights reveal a folding chair and two microphones in center stage. Music plays from a CD, and two guys bust out dancing near the table.
Ten minutes later, guitarist Donny Osadchuck sits in center stage. Late Night Kirby’s Open Mic Night begins.
Ten minute performance slots filled up from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 12:30 a.m. Thursday in the first three minutes for signing up.
“It’s always the first one that fills up really well,? said Kirby Program Board member Dan Sarles.
By 10:15 p.m., about 60 people appeared in the Rafters. After singer and guitarist Osadchuk played two songs, he asked if he had time for one more or if he should quit for the night.
“One more song!? the crowd responded.
Sarles commented after the event that the crowd was smaller than he had expected, but the performances were good.
Dave Mehling and Kyle Swanson were two of the artists who sang and played acoustic guitar and harmonica.
“I would say either Mehling or Swanson performed the best,? Sarles said. “I enjoy their sets the most.?
Of the night’s 15 acts, 11 were solo male acoustic guitarists who sang. The other acts were the country duet of Jordan Taylor and Alex Evans, rapper Manny Rivas, the bluegrass duet of Andrew Gabel and Galynn White, and crude comedian Josh Hinke.
“I’m gonna sing in the heavenly quar [choir] one of these days? was one line from Taylor’s and Evan’s tunes which had an especially strong country twang. Their singing was accompanied by Evan on a bright red acoustic guitar and Taylor on banjo.
Taylor and Evan said they had not practiced much, but the crowd still clapped to the beat without any encouragement from the duo.
Rivas did not wait for his accompaniment before he began rapping. As soon as he had the spotlight and the crowd went quiet, he began. This year is the marketing major’s fourth year performing at Open Mic Night.
Rivas announced between songs that he has a show coming up in Wausau, WI, on Oct. 6.
“It’s for a snowboarding video premier, so that should be f-ing sick,? Rivas said with a laugh.
Next up after Rivas were Gabel and White, who called themselves “Gabel and Galynn.? The audience clapped to the beat of their bluegrass tune and other listeners danced in the back while Galynn fiddled on violin and Gabel strummed on guitar.
Gabel and Galynn also play at Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake, Amazing Grace Café, and Beaners.
Hinke came on stage a few acts later to get some laughs out of the crowd.
Hinke transitioned fluidly between punch-lines about ordering pizza, where guys keep their underwear in their dressers, housing situations, a Cosmopolitan Magazine article about “100 sex things to do before you die,? the size of his genitals, and internet dating sites in just ten minutes before he left the stage.
Listeners came in and out throughout the night, but the last of the crowd left at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday morning.
Open Mic Nights are held on the last Wednesday of every month in the Kirby Rafters with sign up starting at 9 p.m. and performances starting at 10 p.m., and admission is free for UMD students.
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ON THE NET: http://www.d.umn.edu/kirby/latenight - Late Night Kirby’s Web site

The Return of the Clarinetist

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Oct. 5, 2006

UMD is celebrating the five-year anniversary of Weber Music Hall’s inaugural concert this fall. Richard Stoltzman, a classical and jazz clarinetist familiar with the golden dome, will be performing in Weber as part of the celebration.
Stoltzman last performed in Weber in 2002 at the inaugural concert which Jazz Ensemble Director of the UMD Music Department Ryan Frane attended.
“He certainly plays the Benny Goodman style very well,? said Frane with a nod.
Musical talent is not limited to Richard Stoltzman. He, his son Peter John Stoltzman and other members of his family have traveled and performed together, keeping alive the musical tradition passed down from Stoltzman’s jazz loving father. For the concerts this week, Peter John Stoltzman will be performing on piano or keyboard.
“Not every artist has a relationship like that where they can perform with their family at the same level of international recognition,? said bass player Matt Mobley.
Mobley, who performed in the orchestra at the inaugural concert with the elder Stoltzman, will be on stage with Stoltzman again this Saturday.
The Stoltzmans will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 with the UMD Jazz Ensemble. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, the Stoltzmans will make their second appearance of the week, this time accompanied by UMD students Mobley on bass and Dan Westerlund on drums. It costs $15 to get in each night, and student rush tickets are $5 for Saturday’s concert.
Outside of UMD, Stoltzman has performed in Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Australia playing recitals, chamber music, and jazz concerts.
The son of a jazz-playing railwayman, Stoltzman double-majored in music and mathematics at Ohio State University, then attended Yale University to earn his Master of Music degree.
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Naturally Seven is coming to UMD

By Sarah Hasselquist
Posted Oct. 5, 2006

You close your eyes after seven men walk on stage. You hear the drums, guitar, bass, and trumpet. However, when you open your eyes you see that those seven men are holding only microphones.
This is Naturally 7, an a cappella group that started up in 1998 in New York City that sings in five-part harmonies while also sounding like a full band using only their voices - hence the ‘naturally’ in the group’s name.
They will perform in the Weber Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., and the concert is free to UMD students. In the group’s repertoire are some Christmas and Gospel songs, some original melodies and some old R&B tunes such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water? by Simon and Garfunkel.
Kirby Program Board staff members Jon Nash and Ben Berg first saw Naturally 7 perform at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last spring. Both plan to attend the concert this Wednesday.
“I closed my eyes to better take in the music, yet I constantly had to open my eyes to make sure that they hadn't taken out some instruments and started to play them,? Nash said.
“Their original melodies combined with their soulful voices are ones that will resonate throughout your head for days to come,? Nash added.
Berg was also impressed with Naturally 7.
“You gotta go see it. You can’t put it into words,? said Berg.
After touring in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New England, Iowa, and Massachusetts, Naturally 7 will go to Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany before the end of this year.
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ON THE NET: http://www.n7house.de/ - The Web site for Naturally 7

May 1, 2006

Spring Is Here

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted May 1, 2006


If you went down to Chester Creek a month ago, you would have found the walking paths to be muddy and, for the most part, abandoned. But it is a different story now that Duluth has seen warm weather again.

A man and a young boy lay outstretched in the sun on a boulder next to the creek. A young couple runs down the hill with smiles on their faces. A woman and young boy carefully climb over exposed tree roots and rocks to avoid a mud puddle. Two college aged young men haul bikes up the path past the woman and young boy to go biking again on the more level ground.

Spring is here, turning the brown grass green, filling out the barren trees and pouring water into the creeks of Duluth, as well as bringing out the residents of Duluth and their families to explore Chester Creek.

Upstream and on trails where the rushing water of the creek is barely audible, Tony Dierckins is taking a walk on a Friday afternoon. Dierckins, who used to teach in the composition department at UMD, is out with his three dogs, Stella, Gilda, and Max. These dogs are full grown, waist-high masses of energy. Dierckins sports a blue long sleeved shirt, green-khaki cargo pants and an about three day old salt-and-pepper beard.

Dierckins yells to his dogs and leads them out of a part of the woods where the stench of an animal’s decaying carcass had attracted all three of them.

“They’re only fun until they’re disgusting,? Dierckins says about his dogs as he trudges out of the brush.

A life-long dog owner, Dierckins says he comes to Chester everyday, even in the winter.

“On days when there’s more time, we get in the car and go to Lester, Hartley, or the beach,? Dierckins says. “Sometimes even Bagley.?

Just down the trail, Scott Sveiven trots by in baggy gray shorts and a matching tank top with the tiny earbuds in his ears plugged into an iPod. Sveiven, a UMD biology student, is out for a run.

“I started this autumn and kept it up to November. Then it got kind of snowy and I moved inside to work out,? Sveiven says.

Further downstream, where the trail gets closer to the creek and the sound of rushing water raises to a dull roar, three students in elementary and middle school are crossing the creek. The oldest is a boy carrying a walking stick taller than himself with a black plastic woven cord wrapped around the top of the stick. The next in age and height is a girl; the top half of her walking stick is half covered in duct tape. The youngest and last to cross the creek is a boy, his stick undecorated. They all make it across without falling in, stepping on slick rocks precariously and holding their walking sticks out in front of them as the water rushes past. Reaching the shore, they plant their walking sticks on solid ground.

On a quieter section of the trail downstream of the crossing point of the young students, Daryl Beede and his wife, Sarah, step lightly around a mud puddle that spans the width of the walking path. Sarah, who has long black hair with touches of gray in it, pauses for a moment in their relaxed stroll along the trail to look at the scenery around them. Daryl, a tall middle-aged man with large, thick glasses, follows suit and watches the quietly but quickly flowing water just 15 feet away from him.

“I have Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays off, so I can get out in the woods,? Daryl says with a glance at the creek, then his wife, and then woods around him.

Across a footbridge and down the creek from this couple, two freshmen at UMD, Jon McLaughlin and David Souther are not so much interested in the woods as the rock walls, the creek, and the trails.

Souther and McLaughlin are standing just next to the creek when Souther carefully packs his fishing pole into his backpack and follows McLaughlin up a rocky wall from the edge of the creek. When the reach the trail, they resume their hiking. Souther’s fishing pole is still poking out of the top of his backpack.

Souther says that he has never caught anything in Chester Creek.

“I just try,? he says with a chuckle. “No fish in this river.?

A couple hundred feet away, Lynn Larson stands next to her tripod below the Fourth Street bridge with her dog’s taut leash in one hand and her camera in the other.

Larson is getting ready for a freelance group photography trip to photograph Appalachian spring flowers. For now, she is taking pictures of Chester Creek, other hiking areas, and the lighthouses in Duluth.

Although she lives outside of Chicago, she drove up for the weekend to visit her son in Duluth as well as her dog. Bear, her dog, is a large yellow lab that is living with her son in Duluth while she is selling her house.

“We named him Paddington Bear because he’s so yellow, but the kids all thought that was sissy, so he’s always been called Bear,? Larson says.

Bear continues sniffing everything in reach of his leash which is now tied to a tree. Larson tweaks the adjustments of her camera on the tripod, meticulously aiming the lens at the water of Chester Creek as it races over the rocks, past the trees, and plunges downward to flow beneath Fourth Street and eventually out to Lake Superior.

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April 19, 2006

The Return of the Guitarist: McLaughlin is back in the music scene

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted April 18, 2006


Billy McLaughlin stood alone in the center of the stage in the Rafters in blue jeans and a black shirt, holding his guitar. The room was dark except for the blue and red stage lights shining from behind on the guitarist. His hands were a blur of motion on his guitar, and the guitar sang. He swayed to the music he created, turned to the microphone and belted out the lyrics, “Not by power, not by might, but by spirit,? with prerecorded female vocal harmonies echoing him.

Such was the scene when McLaughlin performed at UMD earlier this month on Wednesday, April 5. He will be back in Duluth for a performance on Friday, April 21.

It looked so easy when McLaughlin performed at UMD on April 5, but because of a disorder called focal dystonia, playing guitar is more of a challenge for him than his performance lets on.

After becoming nationally renowned for his guitar playing, this disorder prevented him from performing for almost four years. His disability forced McLaughlin to start over by transitioning from playing right-handed to playing left-handed and by developing a different style that involves playing on the neck of the guitar.

“None of these notes that I play come very easy. It’s like, OK, if I’m going to play this, it’s going to be a note I really mean. There was a point not too long ago where I couldn’t even play this damn note,? McLaughlin said with a laugh in a phone interview a week after his performance at UMD.

Because of that special attention he gives to every note, McLaughlin said he is also writing better music now compared to the material he wrote before the disorder threatened to end his career.

Focal dystonia is a disorder that affects the movement of one particular place of the human body. It is often times linked with small and repetitive movements and results in involuntary muscle spasms and tensions.

“Basically if you’re a person who depends on a certain physical skill to make your living, focal dystonia will kick your ass because it takes away your ability to move freely,? as McLaughlin put it.

Justin Roth, a UMD graduate and a friend of McLaughlin’s since before the disorder began to take its toll, worked for McLaughlin and also played guitar. Roth said in an email that Billy’s music is as strong now as it ever was despite the effects of focal dystonia.

“It’s almost like evolution,? Roth added. “He has evolved his playing so the music he hears inside can survive. That to me only makes the music stronger.?

In order to make this comeback, McLaughlin had to be patient with himself while learning how to play guitar again, even when he did not feel he was good enough and cried while practicing.

“I didn’t want to have this problem, but once I had it I figured I kind of had to get to know it as well as I could if I was ever going to find a way around it,? he said. “That’s just a humble left-handed guitarist talking. I’m still learning from the whole experience. It’s still affecting me now.?

McLaughlin has no intentions of letting this disorder slow him down. He hopes to start a guitar department at a college designed to instruct students on what he calls “unorthodox? uses of the guitar.

“It’s just a piece of wood with a wire stretched over it - that’s all a guitar is,? he said “You can make some absolutely freakin’ incredible sounds on that.?

Other aspirations of his include touring nationally and playing with an orchestra. McLaughlin said that despite popular belief, the combination of a guitarist and an orchestra is no boring matter. He added that the steel-string guitar, which is the type he uses, is generally left out of any “legitimate orchestral setting.?

“Screw that,? McLaughlin continued. “You know what? I’m plugged into 6,000 watts of power when I play with an orchestra, and it’s the coolest thing ever. It works in such a beautiful way.?

In the nearer future, McLaughlin will be performing in Duluth at the Sacred Heart Music Center on April 21 at 8:00 p.m. Opening for him is Jeff Arundel, whose music McLaughlin compared to James Taylor’s. It will be a night of over an hour of acoustic guitar music by McLaughlin plus Arundel’s performance with general admission tickets going for $15 and students tickets $10 with a student ID.

ON THE NET: http://www.billymclaughlin.com/ Billy McLaughlin’s Web site

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April 4, 2006

Kozy Bar's Fate in Question

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted April 4, 2006

The Duluth City Council voted 8-1 in favor of the resolution to transfer the liquor license of the Kozy Bar to Eric Ringsred at Tuesday night’s meeting. But there is a catch to the agreement: There will have to be a decrease in criminal activity by June for the bar to stay open.

Councilor Russ Stewart said that if the amount of crime has not decreased by June, then revocation of the liquor license should be considered.

Ringsred was concerned about the time he will have to operate the Kozy Bar and the ultimate upcoming judgment.

“I feel like a man on death row for two months,? he said after the resolution passed.

While the police department received around 400 phone calls in 2005 for service to the area around the Kozy Bar, some Councilors and citizens said at the meeting that it is not all the fault of that bar.

Ben Marsden, a self-declared life-long Duluthian, said to the Council that it was unfair to blame that bar in particular.

“The Kozy Bar is not that bad. It’s really not,? said Marsden. “You get past the door, and it’s like the American Legion or nap time at kindergarten.?

Councilor Tim Little said that he has been into the Kozy Bar more than once and that he has never seen a fight or argument break out inside of the bar while he was there.

The one vote against the approval of the transfer of the license was cast by Councilor Garry Krause. He presented several examples of “negative activities? that he has seen downtown around the Kozy Bar including prostitution.

Councilor Laurie Johnson said she thought that not transferring the license would not help control criminal activity around the Kozy.

“We’re just going to shift it to a different area,? Johnson said.

However, Krause suggested that crime could be lessened with the assistance of what he called “dispersement.? The idea behind his suggestion is that if places that might encourage criminal activity are spread out, then the amount of crime could be reduced.

Krause added that he was concerned for the overall success of the bar because it is located in an area with a seemingly higher occurrence of crime.

“If you plant a tree in the middle of a desert, it’ll die,? Krause said.

After the resolution passed, Ringsred told reporters that he had mixed feelings about the decision.

“I have a lot of other pans in the fire,? said Ringsred, “and I’m hoping I’m not taking on something I can’t handle.?

Of his plans to help reduce crime around the Kozy, he said solemnly, “I don’t know if it’ll be enough.?

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March 26, 2006

Big Cuts in Approved City Budget

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted March 26, 2006

The City Council unanimously passed the proposal for this year’s reduced budget at Thursday’s meeting.

The budget is seeing a major cut, going down from $2.4 million to $2.1 million, and the Ambulance Services, the City Attorney and the Parks and Recreation Department are taking the biggest hits.

“We had to cut,? said Mayor Smith, “because of shrinking revenues and the fact that a dollar just won’t buy what it used to.?

The Ambulance Services is seeing a cut of 80.5 percent, and the funding for this service is likely to be zero in next year’s budget, said the newly elected City Administrator Joan Bell. That does not mean that the city will be without an ambulance service. A private company will take over this service, said Bell in a phone interview.

“People can expect better and faster service for less cost in the long run [with the private ambulance company],? said Bell.

The Parks and Recreation Department’s cut is 13 percent. Some seniors citizens’ and children’s programs could be curtailed, but the council is looking for grants assistance to support most of the senior citizens’ programs. The city will also see a cut back in nature walks and pool lifeguard hours.

“We just can’t keep doing everything we’ve been doing,? said Major Smith. “It’s too bad.?

In other moves made by the Council:

• Joan Bell was appointed the City Administer in a unanimous vote. The position of the City Administrator is predicted to save money in that the Council has combined several services into this position.

• The appeal by the Flemishes to let their fence stand was denied in a 4-1 vote, as they built the fence two feet higher than the ordinance allows and without a proper building permit.

• Bruce Nii was denied a position on the Parks and Recreation Commission in a 3-2 vote. Bell was opposed to adding members to any commission at this time.

• The week of June 29 has been declared Safe Boating week by a vote by the Council of 5-0. The vote to discontinue the city-sponsored boating safety programs was 3-2.

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March 7, 2006

UMD students, faculty and staff meet MBC's donation goal once again

Sarah Hasselquist
Posted March 7, 2006.

Two UMD students relaxed in plastic chairs inside the large van, eyeing each other up and comparing their times. Ben Turner: 5:17.00. Dan Blascyk: 5:14.00.

“The reigning champ – and he’s still wearing pink!? said Turner with a smile, gesturing to Blascyk’s stunningly hot pink, 2-inch wide, elastic armband wrapped around his left elbow.

Turner and Blascyk are two of the 26 donors who visited the Memorial Blood Centers bloodmobile parked outside of the UMD Medical School Tuesday, Feb. 21, to give blood.

The two nurses in the bloodmobile had a busy day with donors coming in from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The goal for the day was 23 donors, making the blood drive successful with a turnout of 26. But that is not so unusual; one of the nurses in the bloodmobile, Jill Faidley, said that it is usually not difficult to make the goal when the MBC bloodmobile comes to UMD.

“It’s been a long day,? Faidley said with a smile and only four more donors left. Nodding to the next donor, she said, "He will be our goal; when he gives, we'll have made it."

It takes dedicated donors like Dr. Janet Fitzakerley to make blood drives successful. Several years ago, she had donated blood regularly about four times each year.

“Just the right thing to do,? Fitzakerley said of donating blood while she rested in the front of the van. She, too, sported an elastic armband; it was her second time donating within the previous four months. “I have no reason not to. And what does it take, 30 or 45 minutes?? she said with a nonchalant shrug and a shake of her head.

But such a seemingly small act can be life-changing. According to the MBC Web site, one donation – that is, about one pint of blood – is enough to save three lives, and three gallons of blood is used every minute in the U.S.

“It’s always a need for blood,? said Inger Lauritsen, who worked at the MBC registration desk for the blood drive. “We’re constantly needing it.? Lauritsen was responsible for managing appointments, for fitting in walk-in donors and for completing about half of the paperwork for each donor.

The blood mobile from MBC comes to UMD once about every 56 days, which is the amount of time a person needs between donations. The first-time donor and “reigning champ? will probably donate the next time the blood mobile comes to UMD. He even went so far as to say that the experience was “fun?.

“It wasn’t any big deal. Didn’t hurt a bit, and I got free food!? Blascyk said as he pointed to the pretzels, chips, and cereal bars in small, blue Tupperware bins next to him.

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On the Net: MBC site: http://www.memorialbloodcenters.org/

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