Union organizes for ‘sustainable’ music
guidelines simply because they were
by Adam Eshleman
already being met for the most part,” said
The Central Pennsylvania Musicians’
David Staab, manager of Zeno’s.
Association—a local musicians’ union—is
He said signing written contracts is the
spearheading an initiative to foster fair
only change he’ll have to make.
relations between local performing musi-
“The agreement will not affect cover
cians and the venues that host them.
charges or change payment strategies,” he
Members of the American Federation of
said. “Musicians that are worth having are
660 are approaching
music-friendly bar-owners in the State
210, another State
College area, asking them to pay musi-
College bar, hasn’t yet agreed to AFM
cians a minimum wage and sign contracts
660’s terms, owner J. R. Mangan said he
to cement the terms of their employment,
plans to eventually.
Chris Lee, the union’s president, told
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “Most
. In exchange for support of this ini-
bands in this town play straight for door
tiative, AMF 660 is promising to designate
charges and that can be hit or miss on a
participating bars “sustainable music ven-
slow night. I’m a musician myself, so I’m
ues,” which it believes will provide a com-
a little biased.”
Lee said the union conducted a survey to
“We want to work with bar owners to
establish local musicians’ average nightly
facilitate relations with musicians and
income and set a widely agreeable mini-
Photo by Adam Eshleman
develop high quality music,” said Lee.
Zeno’s Pub in State College is the first AFM 660 “sustainable music venue,” a designation that tells
mum wage. In most cases, he said, the price
The campaign is engineered to benefit
customers that the venue signs a contract and pays an established minimum wage to musicians.
floor they decided on isn’t higher than what
all local musicians, not just union mem-
bars are currently paying musicians.
effort for all musicians to create a better
Last month, Zeno’s Pub in State College
While a minimum wage is important in
environment and community. We want this
was the first to sign on.
“Our interest is in creating better music
area to be a destination for audiences seek-
“After discussing the proposal and its
in general, not creating an environment of
ing high quality music.”
ramifications, I agreed to operate under the
, pg. 22
insiders and outsiders,” he said. “This is an
Penn State to host Japanese drum ensemble Kodo
by Craig Keener
apprentices and incorporate influences from
all over the world at a village located on
Part drum ensemble, part choreographed dance, Kodo
For Kodo, Japan’s premier traditional
Sado, a small island that was once a home
demonstrates a range of masculine and feminine voices on
drum ensemble, a barrage of drums and ele-
for political exiles during the rule of the
gant motions pay homage to storied tradi-
various tunable drums, the largest of which weighs 800
tions and bright futures alike.
pounds. The group believes that by sharing their musical her-
Akimoto said Sado has become cultural-
25 performing members and a
itage on the world stage, they can help promote greater
ly-rich from the collection of progressive
diverse collection of taiko—Jpanese tradi-
minds living there over the generations,
understanding between cultures.
tional drums—Kodo represents an ancient
along with the island’s exposure to interna-
lifestyle that is often neglected in contem-
tional gold trade. Different cultures inter-
acting and adopting practices led to a
Part drum ensemble, part choreographed
strong folk and performing arts tradition
their personalities or physical characteris-
tective nature of each of us, especially when
dance, Kodo demonstrates a range of mas-
on the Island, eventually spawning Kodo
tics, but most importantly they try to be
we deal with people from other cultures.
culine and feminine voices on various tun-
Kodo, or, “Children of the Drum.”
“We hope people will learn to be open to
able drums, the largest of which weighs 800
The group stresses the importance of this
True to its namesake, Kodo has a rever-
more in their lives,” Akimoto said. “To keep
pounds. The group believes that by sharing
long history, which borrows from tradition-
ence for the simple joys of childhood.
the hearts of children.”
their musical heritage on the world stage,
al Japanese art forms, while blending in
“Our dream is to hold onto the heart of a
In fact “heartbeat” is another interpreta-
they can help promote greater understand-
contemporary Indian, Indonesian and
child,” said group representative Jun
tion of the word Kodo.
ing between cultures. This is the motto of
African drumming traditions.
Akimoto, referring to what the performers
“The heartbeat is the core of all human
the group’s One Earth tour that will stop in
Sometimes the music will take a line
strive to feel onstage.
beings,” said Akimoto. “We’ve heard our
State College March 18.
from the heavy, bass-drenched drumming of
“When you become an adult it’s very dif-
mother’s heartbeat in the womb and we try
Kodo wants its students and its audiences
Ivo Shoto, a small island chain not far from
ficult to return to a child, to be honest with
to maintain that experience
all over the world to be aware of something
ourselves,” Akimoto told
. With this
different from their daily lives. The per-
goal in mind, Kodo’s performers try to be
Kodo comes from a place with a long his-
formers often have their own preferences
, pg. 22
very open and honest, in contrast to the pro-
tory of counter-culture. Members train new
and styles of drumming, each reflecting
Boalsburg author pens story of first Memorial Day
by Natalie Ferrigno
lesson ideas. One of these ideas is to have
“When I was growing up, I
students compare Memorial Day in the
Today’s K-12 history classes neglect
1860s and today’s celebration. The goal is
thought history was really
many interesting stories.
to make children see how far the current
boring. It was just a list of
One of those stories is the founding of
celebrations are from the original obser-
years and events that have
Memorial Day, which first blossomed dur-
ing the Civil War right here in Centre
no meaning. [My story] has
“I don’t think that most kids get into a
County—as well as in a few other loca-
a lot of meaning.”
cemetery on Memorial Day,” she said.
tions across the country. Boalsburg author
The lesson plans also recommend chil-
--Janice Sweet McElhoe
Janice Sweet McElhoe chronicled this
dren look at what has not changed, namely
event in her self-published novel
the way people perceive war. In the novel,
Shadows Of War
the young Army recruits are excited about
The book is about Emma Hunter and
tributor, that will help her get into big books
the glory of war. As the story progresses,
Sophie Keller, the two fourteen-year-old
stores, such as Barnes and Noble. She is
they and the other characters are slowly
girls who observed the first Memorial Day
also working to get her book used in
shown the horrible reality.
in Boalsburg. The girls held the first cere-
schools as part of the curriculum.
McElhoe compares them to her nephew
mony after Emma’s father died in battle. It
Literature has a lot of competition for
Janice Sweet McElhoe
who was once eager to join the Army. After
consisted of walking slowly to his grave,
young people’s attention these days. By tar-
boot camp, she said, “a lot of that shine is
where they left flowers, a wreath, and a
geting them while they are still in school
the war in Iraq. The total is something over
gone.” She said soldiers from both eras
and surrounded by books, McElhoe hopes
4,000. In one [Civil War] battle they lost
experience the same disillusionment.
A few years later, the practice had spread
that Shadows of War will kindle a lifetime
17,000,” said McElhoe,. “You could have
In spite of this, she said, as a nation we
throughout Pennsylvania and was declared
of reading for students.
cousins shooting at each other. You could
have forgotten what Memorial Day truly
an official holiday.
“A lot of kids get away from reading and
have brothers shooting against one another.
McElhoe chose to stick mostly to the
handling books because it’s just not
It was grief. I think there was no family that
“I suppose it’s a lot like Christmas. A lot
facts, but to make the story more vivid, she
required in their lives, she said. “We’ve got
was untouched by the grief.”
of people just think about Santa Claus com-
fictionalized certain aspects.
computers and that’s where their interest is.
To help teachers use Shadows of War in
ing and don’t think about what it was origi-
“When I was growing up, I thought histo-
So I think while they’re still in school, [is]
class, Mcelhoe has set up a Web site with
nally,” she said.
ry was really boring because you learned
most likely [when] I can have them interest-
what happened in this year and what hap-
ed in the story.”
pened in that year,” she said. “It [was] just a
McElhoe aims to not only shed light on a
list of years and events that have no mean-
little known story, but also to teach middle
ing. This has a lot of meaning and this real-
school children the true meaning of
ly was what happened.”
Memorial Day. For the characters Emma
To get the story out, McElhoe first tar-
and Sophie, the day was not about a three-
geted national publishers. But in an era of
day weekend or throwing backyard barbe-
escapist literature where fantasy series like
ques; it was a far more solemn affair.
Harry Potter and Twilight dominate young
“I make it very clear that they observed
adult fiction, she found it difficult to find a
Memorial Day. We now talk about celebrat-
publisher interested in printing a historical
ing [Memorial Day]. They were not cele-
novel for young readers. After gathering a
brating,” she said.
sizable pile of rejection letters, McElhoe
The book can also be used to compare the
took the risk of self-publishing.
Civil War and the current war overseas.
Right now, she is sending the books out
“Memorial Day came from the grief. We
on her own, but is in the market for a dis-
talk about how many people have died in
Huntingdon County Arts Council
A festival by musicians, for musicians, recognized and
supported by the National Endowment for the Arts!
Simple Gifts • Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen
Joel Mabus • Luminescent Orchestrii
Orpheus Supertones • AppalAsian
Held on the campus of Juniata College
May 22-24, 2009
Voices reporter takes a shot at the spotlight
the audition,” he said.
by Lindsay Chew
Right away intimidation washed over me and I felt my
Although there were no baked goods
For a seasoned actor or actress, the audi-
hands beginning to get clammy. Knowing it was now or
thrown around at this audition, I understood
tion process is an easy one.
never, I ruffed up my petite voice, spread my legs farther
what Zanitsch meant.
There is no real preparation other than
When a petite and timid-looking young
than usual and began to read.
maybe memorizing a monologue and put-
woman walked through the door of the
ting together an outfit. It’s a
audition, I assumed she would audition for
block of time for them to easily slip out of
director, Jason Zanitsch, sat.
chance to speak with Zanitsch to get his
the role of Miranda, the 15-year-old girl
their own personality and into another.
Right away intimidation washed over me
perspective on the audition process.
who falls in love with the ship-wrecked
However, for the average person, 30 sec-
and I felt my hands beginning to get clam-
“The director wants everyone coming
onds becomes a life time and all the prepa-
through to be perfect,” said Zanitsch, a vet-
Yet when she opened her mouth, a boom-
ration in the world can’t prevent tripping
“So who would you like to read for?”
eran director and high school teacher in
ing voice rang out and she began to traipse
over words or making awkward movement
asked Zanitsch. With only a high school
New York. “We want the tough choices.”
around the room using all of her limbs to
just to fill the space.
memory of The Tempest, I said the only
And that’s exactly what Zanitsch got. A
emphasize her words. She had not read for
I recently took the opportunity to audition
character that I could recall, “Trinculo.”
plethora of local talent, ages ranging from
Miranda, but for Ariel, a male spirit who, in
for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which is
Handing me an excerpt highlighting
10 to 65, flooded the audition.
the scene she was acting, soliloquizes about
being hosted this summer by The Nittany
Trinculo, I quickly remembered that not
Along with the diverse ages came diverse
fire and death.
Valley Shakespeare Festival, for this story.
only is this character a man, but in this par-
personalities and interpretations of the char-
But the show is not always about the main
The experience was unforgettable.
ticular scene, he’s a drunken man.
roles; it also is about the audience.
Walking into the small, sparse room, the
Knowing it was now or never, I ruffed up
“Everyone brings something different to
Susan Riddiford Shedd, the operations
first thing to catch my attention was the
my petite voice, spread my legs a little far-
the table and makes the character their
manager for The State Theatre and long-
heat of the lights and the space in which I
ther than usual and began to read.
own,” said Zanitsch.
time actress, said you can’t have a show
would have to audition. The 20- by 20-foot
I swayed back and forth a bit and let my
Zanitsch recalled a high school expo he
without an audience and a lot of acting is
room I would soon have to fill with my
words slur, but as hard as I tried, I tripped
had attended, where one girl performed a
based on audience reaction.
presence suddenly looked like a football
over a few words and even sometimes my
monologue in which she smeared a HoHo
“The common shared experience you
own two feet.
in her face. “You just never know what you
have together is what makes it special,” she
In the room was one table where the
After my attempt at the spot light, I got a
are going to get when a person walks into
tional lifestyles,” said Akimoto.
, pg. 19
The sounds of the drums can inspire an
audience to see life differently. But what
Tokyo, and other times the music will
you get out of it is ultimately up to you.
incorporate fast and intricate drumming
Akimoto said he doesn’t think the perform-
techniques from South American origins.
ers expect their audience to come away with
In modern Japan, the musical group is an
any one feeling.
alternative to growing urbanization and a
“We are happy if people come and enjoy
recent emphasis in Western business cul-
a special time,” said Akimoto. “I try to sep-
arate from regular life; it’s our responsibili-
“We don’t want to deny other lifestyles,
ty to make [the audience] feel like that. It’s
but rather combine contemporary and tradi-
what we do.”
Band] would have signed a contract,” she
“I wish all bands would sign con-
, pg. 19
tracts; it would be so much easier.”
“[This dispute] was a very sad and dif-
creating a healthier music scene, written
ficult thing,” said Jennifer Hesketh, a
contracts are vital to maintaining healthy
member of the former Phyrst Phamily
relationships between management and
Band. “But any band you talk to can tell
you about having to move around to differ-
“By getting bar-owners and musicians to
ent venues because of arguments with
agree to terms in black and white upfront,
management. We just want to play and
we’ll have smoother relations,” Lee said.
have fun, and it’s unfortunate things like
“The bar owners I’ve talked to actually
this have to get in the way.”
like written contracts.”
Hesketh and her band now play at The
He said written contracts would have
Brewery, another State College bar, under
avoided dissonance last December
the name The Family Brew.
between the management at The Phryst, a
Local full-time musician and AFM 660
bar in State College, and the Phyrst
With “the heart of a child,” a Kodo performer beats on a booming 800-pound drum. The traditional
Phamily Band, a music group that per-
member Rick Hirsch said he also supports
Japanese drum ensemble will performer at the Eisenhower Auditorium March 18.
the sustainable music campaign.
formed there weekly for the past 22 years.
“What’s good about it is that it’s not
The manager refused to pay the band
heavy handed,” he said of the initiative.
their usual amount because one member
“It’s a really thoughtful gesture in terms of
was absent. The resulting dispute escalat-
being considerate of the venue owners as
ed to a physical altercation. Afterwards,
well. It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it; it’s not
the band quit despite being offered more
Honda thinking in action.
a traditional labor demand.”
money to stay, said Kathy DiMuccio, a
He said anything to strengthen the local
member of the original Phyrst Phamily
Honda is committed
music community is valuable
Band, which replaced the former in the
to creating and
State College is an extremely transient
wake of this argument.
town and the music scene fluctuates here.”
[the former Phyrst Phamily
technologies for a
security. But what if we each understood
that our primary purpose in life isn’t to take
, pg. 15
care of ourselves? Instead, what if we
There are a thousand ways to “stimulate”
understood that our primary job was to
our humanity and few of them, it seems,
make sure that everyone in our community
have very much to do with giving out
was taken care of?
In this new world we wouldn’t have to
I wonder if it is really fear that is our
worry about ourselves precisely because
biggest enemy in these times? When fear
that would be everyone else’s job! I’m not
takes us over, we contract and our hands
promoting utopia. After all utopia” actually
move from open- to close-fisted. But need
derives from the Greek meaning “nowhere.”
philosophy is a lethal
we be afraid? By any assessment, isn’t
In contrast, inspired by Wendell Berry and
without actions is
The Power of Dreams
there enough to go around for all of us to
others, my interest lies in stimulating
survive with dignity in our neighborhoods
“somewheres”—millions and millions of
-Soichiro Honda, Founder of
them—places stimulating in their simplici-
Honda Motor Co., LTD.
Perhaps the real challenge in these times
ty and sufficiency.
is to shift from the mindset of scarcity to the
In the end, I suppose my hope resides in
consciousness of sufficiency. This would
“recovery” of a very different order,
mean, at least in part, redefining what con-
beyond markets and economies, toward
stitutes a “successful” life. At present we
neighborhood, neighborliness, and neigh-
2796 W. College Avenue State College, PA 16801
tend to think of “success” in terms of our
borhood commons—21st Century citizen-
(814) 238-6711 Toll Free (800) 829-6711
individual accomplishments and personal