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Lowell's Last Formal Swing?

Some Say Spring Dance Should Switch to Rock Format

By Jennifer R. Boyle

Although you can't always judge a book by its cover, you can sometimes judge a house by its formal.

For years, Lowell House has been known as host to the Winter Waltz, an annual display of ballroom maneuvers by some of Harvard's more traditional elements. And the Spring formal, while somewhat more casual has always boasted a healthy dose of good old-fashioned jazz.

But some Lowell House residents would like to see this year's Spring Formal musicians trade in their clarinets and trombones for synthesizers and electric guitars.

In an effort to respond to the changing character of a house once known for its "bookish types," sophomores Clark Petschek and Wayne K. Yang are asking the Lowell House Music Society (LHMS) to hire a rock band to entertain at this year's spring formal.

Although the Spring formal's theme has traditionally been more flexible than that of the Waltz, some LHMS members say that the House should stick with swing and steer clear of rock.

At a LHMS meeting last night, Petschek and Yang presented the results of a survey which indicated that a small majority of Lowell residents sampled preferred a rock band over a jazz band.

But several senior house residents requested the swing band, arguing that it will be their last chance to experience a Lowell House tradition.

LHMS officials, citing the lack of a consensus, said they would try to find a compromise. "We do not have a moral issue before us, merely a matter of taste," said David Greenwald '90, president of the Music Society.

Greenwald said the committee is trying to find "some magic mean, one that would satisfy not 51 percent, or 64 percent of the house, but 80 percent or even 90 percent."

Students say the question of taste, however, reflects the broader issue of a Lowell House changed by the increased diversity of recent classes.

"The house has definitely been changing, and that's something the House Committee has been trying to address," said John Buten '90, co-chair of Lowell House Committee. "It's certainly more diverse. There are a lot more athletes, and partiers, and preppy-types."

"Difficulties are harder to resolve because the House is less homogeneous than before," Buten added.

Some have suggested hiring a swing band for only the first hour of the dance, when attendance is lowest, using a deejay for the rest of the evening.

LHMS officials will announce the Formal's format tomorrow night.

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