Art Biz with Liz – Singing One Last Time

Hello, readers! I want to start by apologizing for my brief hiatus from arts, ink. due to some personal issues. I am back and active for my last month at Michigan. Speaking of it being my final month, there are going to be a lot of “lasts” coming up, including my last UM Women’s Glee Club (WGC) concert. This blog post includes the typical advertisement that I normally provide for the upcoming concert, but I am more so going to focus on how the club, traditional UM songs, and music overall have had a positive impact on my time at the university.

May be an image of text that says 'The University of Michigan Women's Glee Club Presents The Sound of All of us Echoes from the past, Voices for the future Conducted by Dr. Julie Skadsem Spring Concert April 2, 2022 Hill Auditorium'

I don’t think it will hit me until after the concert that this will be the last time I get to sing “The University” or “Varsity/Victors” on stage. I used to joke that you weren’t a real Michigan fan if all you knew was part of “The Victors,” which is just a snippet of the extensive library of traditional UM songs. Although nearly everyone on campus is familiar with the main chorus of “The Victors,” I’d argue that many people do not know the words to the beginning of the song (everything before “Hail! to the victors valiant”), which I have held close to my heart since learning them through the UM Women’s Glee Club. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you know these songs or not, but they have helped generate a sense of camaraderie and school spirit I might not have had otherwise.

I credit music and the UM Women’s Glee Club for making me feel more connected to the university. Not only was I able to find another community and make new friends, but I could continue to engage with the arts even if they weren’t my main academic focus. Learning “Blues” pieces, as mentioned in previous posts, also helped me feel connected to school spirit in a unique way. At sports games, I always felt immense school spirit during chants and songs. Singing songs such as “Go Blue” sung in SSAA by Phillip A. Duey (not to be confused with the short “Let’s Go Blue” commonly played at sports games) and “I Want to Go Back to Michigan” elicits even stronger feelings of loyalty and enthusiasm for my school and the memories I’ve made here.

There is always the beautiful and traditional “Yellow and Blue,” but I can already tell that the UM WGC’s arrangement of “College Days” by Donald A. Kahn and Earl V. Moore will be the song that makes me teary-eyed on stage. If you haven’t heard it before, check out the first few lyrics:

I’ll ne’re forget my college days

Those dear, sincere old college days

I’ll ne’re forget my Michigan

‘Twas there long friendships first began

I’m not going to pretend to be the biggest Michigan fan. I don’t know the names of athletes, I can’t promise I’ll be back for future football games (as much as I loved them as a student), and I owe too much in student loans to be comfortable with paying a fortune on more UM gear at the MDen. But the UM songs I’ve learned as a WGC member spur fond, nostalgic feelings, and I haven’t even graduated yet. I’m not surprised that music has that effect.

Our senior song this year, “In My Life” by The Beatles, also provokes strong feelings. To me, the song is about both the past and the present. I mean, take a look at these lyrics:

Though I know I’ll never lose affection

For people and things that went before

I know I’ll often stop and think about them

In my life, I love you more

There are certainly feelings of nostalgia and appreciation for the past, which is bittersweet as the seniors move on from college. But there is also great hope for the present and the future in the way the lyrics compare a current love to the things the singer cared about deeply before. In applying the message to our own lives, there is immense admiration for the past (i.e., college), but there are even greater things to come (i.e., our futures). I like how this theme also relates to the overall subject of the concert, which is “Echoes from the past, Voices for the future.”

UM WGC is one thing I will be sad to say goodbye to, but I am thankful for all the memories and music. I am looking forward to this Saturday and singing in Hill Auditorium one last time. :’)

If you’re interested in attending the concert, click here!

The Art of Getting Through

Art has a “so-what” element to it. Does it make me feel special? Does it make me feel alive? Do I learn something? Does it give me a different perspective? Does it make me question hidden assumptions about the world?

OR. Does it surprise me?

My life is currently dominated by a couple things: a horrendous cough, my thesis, and extreme amounts of existential dread.

Every life is art, though–the best ones are. Mine is like Guernica. Mine is like being in Fight Club and not having any idea what’s going on. Mine is like Azealia Banks chanting that she’s going to ruin me. Terrifying. Surprising. Wonderful?

What is the “so-what” element to things these days? My self-esteem was squashed about 3 months ago when my advisor asked me where my thesis’s argument is and 3 months later . . . my argument is like the groundhog hiding from its shadow. Now I am the groundhog and my thesis is the sun. I’m hiding.

Rather, not hiding but just avoiding–my cold let’s me do this. Napping, chewing raw ginger, swallowing a pharmacy of vitamins and medicine, sitting 5 inches away from my humidifier. My thesis is over there while I’m over here.

But I guess this is a new way of life? I know I will reach my DEADlines but getting there is the struggle? The goal?

My thesis has shown me how something, one thing that will hopefully get me into grad school, put a foot in some academic door somewhere somehow, can take over your life entirely. Giving yourself over to something you (used) to love, ha, still do, is beautiful? Surprising? Terrifying?

“Oh my gosh, Taylor, this week has been so awful, what am I supposed to do?”
“Well Toni Morrison has an answer. Its in the Consolata section of Paradise, let me flip to the page.”

“TAYLOR, I was staring at old photographs of my ex and they seemed to shift? change?”
“STAHP, that’s just like the ending of Beloved where I still have no idea what’s going on even though its in my thesis . . . wait. Is Morrison talking through you? Are you a Morrison oracle?”

There is an extreme irony about tracing Morrison’s theory of healing when I need to heal from the thesis process.

I walk down the road looking at the city of Ann Arbor imagining it is the City Morrison describes in Jazz. I look in the mirror and see Beloved’s face. I go to a friends house and imagine it to be Paradise’s convent pre-raid and pre-slaughter.

For now I have to give into the delusions/hallucinations/reality of certain books projecting so far into my life that I have become my own character. My agency is just the narrator of myself scripting myself and positioning myself in the world.


The art of getting through is perserverence. It’s taking naps when I’m tired. It’s eating throughout the entire day. It’s only listening to Le1f. It’s hanging out with friends for brief snippets everyday. It’s making angsty and somewhat frightening facebook statuses so you can tell the world that you are on the edge (of glory).

I hope when my thesis is turned in, when I get my degree, and when I’m months out from undergrad, I can say that things were surprising. Things made me question my hidden assumptions. Things made me reevaluate the world.

I am the art, for now. And give me a few months where I can become my own audience. I can’t see the “so-what” now, but I will. I will.

“Say make me, remake me.”