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!

Laying Down the Sound: Unraveling – Episode 4

Hello everyone! This is week 8 of Laying Down the Sound. In this video, I highlight the various constituent guitar, vocal, and percussion parts that comprise the second half of my song “Unraveling.” Most of the video features commentary on recordings present within Ableton, but some segments are instead dedicated to demonstrating how certain guitar parts are played. The entire second half of the song is here covered, meaning that this video marks the last episode of the series focused on “Unraveling.” I did not intend for this video to be so long, but I hope you enjoy the in-depth dive! Thanks for watching!

Laying Down the Sound: Unraveling – Episode 3

Welcome back to week 7 of Laying Down the Sound! This is the 3rd episode of the series focused on my song “Unraveling.” After finishing up with the acoustic composition last time, I shift my focus in this video to the recording side of things, going through the various parts that comprise the song. I explain the reasons for the decisions I made along the way and demonstrate how certain parts are played. In total, this video covers everything up until the second verse. Next time, I’ll pick up where I left off and likely bring the “Unraveling” series of videos to a conclusion. Thank you for watching and I hope you enjoy!

Laying Down the Sound: Unraveling – Episode 2

Welcome once more to Laying Down the Sound! This is the sixth installment of the series and the second episode focused on my song “Unraveling.” Last week, I went over the core guitar parts and vocal melodies of the song, leaving off after the second chorus, just before the guitar solo at the end. In this video, I demonstrate the chord progression that underlies that solo, and I dig into the lyrics of “Unraveling” – their origin and meaning. To conclude, I include a full acoustic performance of the song (I also have a bit of fun with a guitar part in the song I haven’t shown yet). Next time, I’ll move to the recording side of things.

Laying Down the Sound: Unraveling – Episode 1

Welcome to the fifth installment of Laying Down the Sound! After completing my breakdown of “Colored Balloon” last week, I now move on to a different song, this one called “Unraveling.” It’s one of the shorter, simpler songs on my album and also one of my favorites. In this video, I expound and expand on the guitar parts and vocal melodies essential to the composition, and I demonstrate their organization and fit with one another. In all, I highlight the development (in terms of guitar parts and vocal melodies) of all but the last section of the song, which is primarily instrumental. I’ll get to that next week! Thank you for watching!

Laying Down the Sound: Colored Balloon – Episode 4

Welcome again to Laying Down the Sound! This is the fourth installment of the series and the fourth and last episode focused on my song “Colored Balloon.” Picking up where I left off last time, I continue to concentrate on the recording process and the various constituent parts of the song. This occurs mainly in Ableton Live, the DAW (digital audio workstation) I used to record, although some segments are demonstrated acoustically. This video wraps up my breakdown and decomposition of “Colored Balloon”; my next video will spotlight a different song of mine. If you wish to suggest a song, please leave a comment about that. If not, I’ll choose! Either way, thanks for watching!