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Away Over Yonder

I have never been to Michigan. (Airplane delays in the Detroit airport do not count.) This will soon change. I'm heading off for a pair of all-day singings in about an hour. The first is the Michiana Singing in Goshen, Indiana, which is tomorrow. I've been going to that pretty regularly for a few years, and I always enjoy it. It's smaller than the Midwest, and is incredibly picturesque. And lately, it has featured the Amish guy with the gasoline-powered ice cream maker that goes putt-putt-putt up the hill during the noon dinner. The day after the Michiana, the folks in Kalamazoo have their all-day singing. I'd never been able to go to that one before, but this year, things have changed. I'll get to go to Kalamazoo and see Michigan! I can't wait.

At work, I've been cataloguing ethnic 78 rpm records, in the Columbia label's E- and F-series. Recently, I came across four E-series records made as benefit projects for the Red Cross and war widows/orphans/wounded during WWI. Three were German, and intended to benefit war victims in Germany and Austria-Hungary, and one was Serbian. They were all recorded in New York City by U.S.- based groups in the spring of 1916. Less than a year later, the United States would enter WWI, on the other side. Politics is funny that way. In April, Columbia Records is making benefit records for German war orphans. A year later, everyone is eating Salisbury steak and Victory cabbage because the Germans are the enemy. I think that's one of the things that makes WWI so tragic. It was an accident waiting to happen, and it just spread beyond anyone's control.

In other news, I've started the background reading that will lead to my master's thesis proposal by start of term. I started writing down what I thought were different issues I wanted to explore in the thesis, say a chapter per issue. I got four really good, solid issues. Then I talked to my dad on the phone, and I told him about these issues and all their related side questions. He just laughed and told me that what I actually had was four different thesis topics!

It's gonna be a fun year. . .


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
Kalamazoo! Now that's a song to which I know all the words. Which is rare. Most of the songs rendered up by my mother throughout my youth appear only to have had a couple of lines!

Why do American towns sound so much better in song? Wigan, Wrexham, Swindon - they just don't have the same ring as Phoenix, Tucson, Kalamazoo, Chattanooga.

How long a thesis do you have to write?
Jul. 18th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)
There's a song that my dad likes to sing, "It's A Beautiful Day For A Ball Game," which is the only song I've ever heard mention Kalamazoo: "The fans are out to get a ticket or two / from Walla Walla, Washington to Kalamazoo." At the singing, they were handing out buttons that said, "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo."

A lot of the place names are Native American. Kill the people, then name podunk cities after their tribes. Which is how you end up with names like Arbacoochee, Narragansett, Oconomowoc, and things like that. But don't knock English names. I once went to a party in a town called Itchenor. Which my dad insisted on referring to as Itchenor-upon-Rash.

I think I have to write a thesis long enough to say what I have to say. In other words, I don't know if there's a specific requirement, just that I have to write till I'm done. Four or five chapters, I'd guess.
Jul. 18th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
The song I know goes - 'A B C D E F G H I got a gal in Kalamazoo, Don't want to boast but I know she's the toast of Kalamazoo . . .' I could go on, but I'll spare you.

Some names of UK towns/villages are quite good - I like the amusing ones like Piddlehinton and Matching Tye. (Both real places.) And most of them have historic and linguistic reasons for being what they are. But not many are the subject of popular music!

You could get carried away and end up writing a tome. Just think of your poor supervisor, plodding through 700 pages.
Jul. 18th, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
Some names of UK towns/villages are quite good - I like the amusing ones like Piddlehinton and Matching Tye.

That would explain why Harry Potter grows up in a town called Little Whinging. When I was three, we lived in Oxford on a street called Crotch Crescent. And I was about ten or eleven before I realized that the Tube stop is St. Pancras, not St. Pancreas.

You could get carried away and end up writing a tome. Just think of your poor supervisor, plodding through 700 pages.

Well, my advisor is the Insanely Nit-pickety Professor Of Doom. If I turned out 700 pages of sparkling, insightful, Holocaust-related ethnomusicology, she'd snuggle down to read it, pull it apart, and then e-mail me 300 pages of comments at two in the morning.

I have heard of Ph.D. dissertations dribbling on for 700 pages, though.
Jul. 16th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
Have fun in Indiana and Michigan. Those sound like fun events. I only went to Michigan once (Detroit, to Greenfield Village) in the middle of December in a snow storm. Not so smart. But it was fun.

And have fun chosing topics and molding them into one workable thesis. That is the most fun part, in my mind.
Jul. 18th, 2005 01:28 am (UTC)
The events were indeed a lot of fun, especially Kalamazoo, which was a singing I hadn't gone to before. Maybe I'll report in more detail later.

I'm excited about my list of topics. They're all subjects that I could easily spend a year working on, and two of them could even be combined. Life is good.
Jul. 16th, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
I was to Michigan once, when I was quite young. I might wind up going up there some day soon, though, as I've friends in the area, and my parents own property.

What I can recall of it is that it was gorgeous, but then, it involved some fabulous botanical garnden, with fountains, and all.

Anyway, I'm going to shudder at the thesis. Some day, gods willing, I may have to figure out how to do one, and what to write about, too, and that rather terrifies me. You'll do fine in the end. :D. You've already got plenty of material. lol.


Jul. 18th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
I thought Michigan was very pretty, though there was a thick fog as we drove up from Indiana, so I didn't actually see much of it until we passed Three Rivers. But I got to eat freshly picked cherries and blueberries at the singing, and that was just great.

The thesis'll be fun. That is, as much fun as any Holocaust-related academic project can be.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


by Illsaysheis

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