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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, May 27, 2024

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'Not So Gentleman' enters Tufts music scene

After a year of playing together, sophomore blues trio "Not So Gentleman" performed for its first audience in the Crane Room in a Tufts AppleJam concert last Saturday. It was a night they had been anticipating for quite some time.Music has been a part of two of the band members' lives since childhood. Both Henry Butler, the band's drummer, and Avram Ellner, the band's guitarist, have played their instruments since the fourth grade. "I just took lessons, I didn't really play by myself much," Butler said. "Then in high school, I played in jazz band."But the sophomores said they kept their music to themselves until college, when they found other people who not only enjoyed playing, but also enjoyed the experience of playing together."I came from a very technical playing [background] because my guitar teacher was in a band in the '80s ... like an '80s pop metal band," Ellner said.At Tufts, they found each other through a mutual friend, band bassist Max Leonhardt. The trio soon began jamming together, even though Leonhardt had not played previously played the bass."I knew Avram [played guitar] ... and I knew Henry played drums because he was trying to find someone to play drums with, and I was like, 'Oh, I know this dude who shreds and I know this dude who play the drums,' and then, those two met up, and I was like, 'This is stupid, I want to play with my friends,'" Leonhardt said. "So one night the three of us just went into Boston and bought a bass."Leonhardt started taking lessons through Tufts, improved bit by bit, and quickly started playing the blues with Butler and Ellner. Since then, the trio has learned to better their musical talents together."We slowly weaned Avram off the metal and into the blues," Leonhardt said. "I came into it very ... metal. Then one day [Henry] actually gave me like 500 blues songs - it was like Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimi Hendrix' Blues album, like The Black Keys, stuff like that - and I was hooked, and I knew a little bit about the blues and then we started jamming some blues stuff."The simple construction that forms the basis of the blues, six notes, made learning to play with his two more experienced bandmates that much easier, Leonhardt added."You just play those six notes in different patterns ... and that was easy for me, so I just picked that up," he said.Although they play the blues, the bandmates' different music tastes and experiences as musicians, give them a sound of their own."I've been telling people [that we're] blues, rock, funk with a sprinkle of shred," Ellner said. "The good thing is we all came into it with different musical backgrounds and you can definitely hear everything combine, sort of mish mosh together into this very unique sound."Sam Worthington, a sophomore and president of AppleJam, the student collective which organized the show in which the band debuted, agreed with Ellner's description of Not So Gentlemen. He also hailed the band's first show, which headlined Shark Saddle and included Like Wolves, Dirty Lou and Thaddeus Strauss, as a success."[Not So Gentleman was] interesting. They're definitely a jam band with some rock-like influences ... they definitely have some jam elements ... Also a lot of shredding - [they are] pretty virtuous," he said. "We were pretty much at capacity of the Crane Room for the entire show but people were cycling in and out. We had probably around 200 students attend."Part of Not So Gentlemen's unique sound originates in their song selection: they make their own music."We don't formally write a song, we'll just be jamming and we'll listen to it, because usually we record every session, so we'll listen back and find something cool," Butler said. "We were messing around with this one riff, and then I said to Max, 'Well, what do you think the bass line should be?' and he was like, 'Oh I don't know,' and then sings this thing, and I was like, 'Sing it again, sing it again,'" Ellner added. "I figured it out on guitar and gave it to him on bass and that was the bass line. Sometimes it's just messing around and you stumble across something that you just pick up and see where you can take it."The bandmates have become so tuned into their own music that it's begun to permeate their friendship - even when they're not rehearsing."The other day we were hanging out, we had a guitar, and we just started jamming on the guitar and singing to it and making beats to it," Leonhardt said. "It's just become a large part of our life, music and making music together."12



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Interview: Alan Solomont | New dean of Tisch College discusses political activism, Tisch progress

Alan Solomont (A '70), the newest Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, sat down with the Daily to discuss political activism, his experiences with Tisch College as an undergraduate and the future of civic involvement. The Tufts Daily: How did your experience as a Tufts student inspire or deepen your interest in political activism? Alan Solomont: I arrived here in the fall of 1966, a sheltered and suburban kid from Brookline, Mass. ... The sixties were a politically charged time on college campuses. Students were opposing the war in Vietnam, students were supporting the civil rights struggles, and I got deeply impacted by that. I had a professor who introduced me to this whole field of urban studies and so I started to think about what was happening in America's cities.I was a page [for] the Massachusetts delegation at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and I was on the floor of the convention the night that the anti-war candidate Gene McCarthy was defeated by the nominee Hubert Humphrey. It was also the day of the disturbances in Grant Park ... The next time I was in Grant Park was 40 years later on election night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president, so it was a pretty intense set of bookends ... I have spent my life politically [active] and as an engaged citizen, and it all is a result of my experiences here at Tufts as a student. TD: How have you been connected to the university as an alumnus? AS: There was a period when I was relatively unconnected ... I graduated in 1970, I traveled overseas for a year and then I moved to Lowell, Mass., [where] I was a community organizer for the better part of the '70s. But when then [University] President [John] DiBiaggio and founding Dean of Tisch [College] Rob Hollister had this idea of creating a new college at the university to promote active citizenship, they approached me about whether I'd be interested in helping assemble what was then the first national advisory committee, which eventually became the Board of Advisors.That's really what reengaged me here at the university some fifteen years ago. And then I became a trustee and then my daughter came here and then I taught a course for four years ... on the American presidency. I tell my friends I bleed brown and blue.  TD: In what ways have you seen political activism on campus evolve since your time spent here as a student? AS: I would say that I've observed two things, one that is somewhat discouraging and one that is much more heartening. There has been an erosion over the years in people's confidence in our political institutions, [and] there has been some decline in political involvement by young people. I think for a variety of reasons, [such as] Vietnam, Watergate, the rise of the influence of money ... people have lost some confidence in the whole process.[But] I think [this] generation, the data indicates, is interested in being involved in things larger than [themselves]. I was part of the baby boomer generation, some people call it the "me" generation. Although we were idealistic, we were also sometimes narcissistic. I think [this] generation is the hope for the future ... Young people are looking to do national community service at unprecedented numbers. I really do believe that [this] generation is going to solve a lot of these problems that my generation neglected or caused. TD: To what extent has the presence of the Tisch College amplified student interest in public service? AS: It's an odd reality that Tufts has always produced people who are interested in being active citizens or who are interested in public service. I'm probably a reasonably good example of that. So that's the mission of Tisch College, to spread the importance of educating students to be lifelong active citizens and to be civically engaged. If this is part of the DNA of the university, then we're the gene that has to be its engine ... I think that we have a really important mission to maintain, to keep that important distinctive quality about this university not only alive, but [also to] keep heightening it. And I happen to believe the need for that is more pronounced today than ever before because I do think that some of the most important issues we face as a country and in the world have to do with rebuilding civil society, rebuilding civic institutions [and] reengaging the people in their communities. TD: What changes or developments would you like to see in Tisch College? AS: I'm exceedingly proud of what Tisch has accomplished. I think that founding Dean Rob Hollister, Nancy Wilson, who has been the dean for the last couple years and the board of advisors have really established a solid foundation. But I think my job is now to take that to the next level.12


The Setonian
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iPad pilot program expands faculty, classroom technology use

Students use iPads to watch movies, download apps and listen to music on the go, and now Tufts has begun to incorporate this mobile technology into the classroom. Tufts Educational & Scholarly Technology Services (ESTS), a university-wide service group that assists faculty in their use of technology, recently launched the iPads for Education Pilot to give faculty the opportunity to incorporate iPads into their curricula.



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Adjunct Action: SEIU's national movement for unionization of part-time faculty

In a mail ballot vote that ran from Sept. 11 through Sept. 25, part-time faculty members at Tufts voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This move makes them the only group of unionized faculty at Tufts. The union will now be the intermediary in most negotiations between the Tufts administration and the university's part-time lecturers.




The Setonian
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Senior Profile | Stephen Goeman

 Stephen Goeman has left a strong legacy of outspoken student activism at Tufts. As a member of Students Promoting Equality, Awareness and Compassion (SPEAC) and the Coalition Against Religious Exclusion (CARE), Goeman has become an impassioned and vocal member of the Tufts community.CARE is a relatively ...






The Setonian
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Moral Voices gets behind the scenes at Dewick to explore food justice

At 6 p.m. in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall, most students are too distracted by the bustle of the dinner rush to think about the kitchens. However, several students took a closer look at this rarely seen side of Dewick last week on a tour sponsored by Moral Voices, a Hillel-run social justice group. The ...




The Setonian
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Critical languages prove popular choices among students

In a world now more globally integrated than ever, the study of foreign language is vital, as is having a supply of professionals who can speak languages of global importance.Most Americans lack proficiency in the languages defined as critical by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and ...