The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 21, 1998, Page 9, Image 9

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    /^\ FLOATING OPERA, a group that
L LJ ■ features musicians from sever
I W I uf I al local bands, will make its
Wmr JL. television debut Friday night
_ when it performs on NETV’s
M “33rd Street Sessions.”
Local musicians delighted
for television opportunity
By Jason Hardy
Assignment Reporter
To most, the definition of a band is a
close knit, driven group of people who
create, practice and perform music
together. However, Richard Rebarber is
writing his own definition.
Nebraska Public Television’s 33rd
Street Sessions will feature Lincoln’s
own Floating Opera on this Friday’s pro
gram. The group is made up of musicians
from different local groups, such as The
Millions, Mercy Rule, the Self-Righteous
Brothers, Black Dahilas and G.I.O., who
donated time and talent to be part of
something special.
Floating Opera is the brainchild of
Rebarber and Charles Lieurance, who co
wrote all the group’s songs.
Rebaiber, who is an associate profes
sor of mathematics and statistics at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, com
posed the band’s music while Lieurance,
former member of Rise up Beggar, wrote
the lyrics.
From there the two sought out musi
cians to fill in the music and ended up
with a diverse cast ranging from rock ‘n’
rollers to classical musicians.
Rebarber said he wanted the band to
be a recording project rather than a per
forming act, mainly because he knew
how hard it would be to coordinate
rehearsals and show dates with such a
large ensemble, so he started the group
off in the studio.
The band recorded a self-titled tape in
> 1993 and then in January 1996 Floating
Opera finally released its first full length
CD, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Monster.”
Rebaiber said an incredible amount
of work went into writing and recording
the album’s songs. He said he recorded
and mixed the tracks himself while also
composing much of the music. Despite
his control over the recording, he said, the
musicians played a huge part in defining
the sound of the songs.
“The crucial beginning stages of the
songs are entirely collaborative,”
Rebarber said.
He said the individual musicians
often came up with the music for their
own part and “it’s the parts that change
the music.”
The diversity of the band’s make-up
also gave a few longtime friends the
opportunity to work together in the medi
um they love. Heidi Ore, bass player and
singer for Mercy Rule, said Floating
Opera allowed her to do different things
musically with different people.
“It gave me an opportunity to sing
with people whom I haven’t got to per
form with before,” Ore said. “My favorite
thing was to be able to sing with Lori
Both Allison, former singer for The
Millions, and Ore sang on die album.
Rebarber said the album’s songs were
fairly complex, and each one had a dis
tinct sound that he and Lieurance had
decided upon before they began record
“Every song has its own sonic world,”
Rebarber said. “I try to vary the sonic
world on every song.”
He said the sonic world of a song was
the tone and mood that was portrayed
through the music, and since each song
had a different sonic world, each song has
a different lineup of musicians as well.
“It depends on what we’re trying to
get with each song,” Rebaiher said.
He said the musicians’ ability to
switch instruments gave the music a
spontaneous sound, complete with flaws
in timing and texture.
Rebarber saw most of those flaws as
charming characteristics of the songs, but
said he always chose which flaws to keep.
“I’m not a perfectionist. I like having
ragged edges here and there,” Rebarber
said. “However, I like to control the
ragged edges.”
After all his hard work, Rebarber
said, he found a lot of satisfaction in the
finished product
“I get a real kick out of finishing a
song,” he said.
After the release of “Everybody’s
Somebody’s Monster” the band went on
to put on a few performances with a
reduced lineup of musicians. All the
while, Rebarber was playing with ideas
on how to do a full showing of the band’s
talent. That idea came in the spring of
1997 when a friend suggested that
Floating Opera do a 33rd Street Sessions
Rebarber pitched the idea to
Nebraska Public Television, which was
receptive immediately. Last July, after
lots of practice, Floating Opera per
formed songs off of “Everybody’s
Somebody’s Monster.”
Rebarber said the performance
showed the true talent of the group.
“The band was not nervous, I was
nervous,” Rebaiber said. “They’re all
He said he was very happy with the
performance and was impressed with the
quality of sound in the studio.
Rebaiber said he hoped the show
would entice viewers into buying the
band’s compact disc, which can be pur
chased at most local music stores and
even graces the shelves of Best Buy.
In the tong run Rebaiber isn’t con
cerned with being on a major label. But
he said he would like for the band to be
released on a larger scale of distribution.
“Several members of the band have
been in groups on major labels, and their
experiences have not all been entirely
positive,” Rebarber said.
He said he would like to see Floating
Opera on a well-established independent
label with a large nationwide distribution.
For the time being, however,
Rebaiber would like to concentrate on
making more music and doing some
more live performances. Unfortunately
the very nature of the group’s originality
is also what prevents it from being able to
perform and record more.
But that doesn’t discourage Rebarber
in the slightest
“I’d just like to work faster” he said.
The 33rd Street Sessions program fea
turing Floating Opera airs Friday at 9
p.m. on channel 13.
NU faculty
By Barb Churchill
Assignment Reporter
Not long ago, Clark Potter, assistant School
of Music professor at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, didn’t even know there was
going to be a faculty chamber music concert
this semester.
Now he’s the event’s coordinator.
“We want to do chamber music every term,
but it doesn’t always happen,” Potter said.
“Mainly, we play music because we love to per
form, but we’re often too busy with our teach
ing and other concerns to put concerts like this
When the opportunity to do such a concert
arose, Potter said he became coordinator by
“I was already playing two of the pieces on
this concert and wanted a place to play them,”
he said. “Everything sort of snowballed from
The faculty chamber music concert will be
held at 8 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall.
Admission is free.
Potter said the participating faculty worked
independently on piece selection, but together
in performance.
“All I had to do is put the pieces in order,” he
Some highlights of the program include the
premiere performance of “Stick,” by Randall
Snyder, a professor of music theory and compo
sition atUNL.
“Stick” was written specifically for Alien
French, associate professor of music, and Scott
Anderson, assistant professor of trombone.
Potter said the piece has costumes, a slide
show and musical quotations that should be rec
ognized by audience members who aren’t musi
cally inclined.
Potter said the “Trio,” by Albert Roussel, “is
a cheery, interesting piece. There’s a lot happen
ing with changes in moods and sounds and in
feel. It should be enjoyed by both musicians and
Please see CHAMBER on 10
Mercy Rule
returns home
for CD release
By Bret Schulte
Senior Reporter
The title “the flat black chronicles” is a bit
misleading for Mercy Rule’s newest release.
The band’s first album since the beloved
Relativity Records release “Providence” of 1994,
“the flat black chronicles” is indeed a bit dark, but
about as flat as Barbara Streisand’s face.
Mercy Rule celebrates die long-awaited and
much-anguished release of die album tonight at
Dufiy’s Tavern, 1412 O St
Tided such because “everything is flat and
black in rock ‘n’ roll: the road, the stage, the
speakers, the walls,” according to guitarist Jon
Taylor, the new album has been critically
acclaimed as the group’s strongest album to date.
But it didn’t come easy. While most bands
can tell stories about the labors of monotonous
studio work, stubborn producers and greedy blue
suits, few have experienced the torment ofMercy
After being dumped by Relativity Records,
the band managed to maintain its relationship
with respected producer Lou Giordano while
searching for a new label. .
The band thought its quest was over when
Giordano negotiated a contract with MCA
Records, which would continue production of the
Please see RELEASE on 10