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Alter Egos: Rich Martin/Tina Fetner

  Cover Story  

Rich Martin, professor of English
An enthusiastic if completely untrained amateur jazz musician, I play the vibraphone in small jazz combos-most often with Cornell music professor Don Chamberlain or pianist and bandleader Eddie Piccard '63. I played drums in high school, then drums and vibes in college, but had to give it all up after college because there were no opportunities. I teach a course at Cornell called "Jazz: Fact, Film, and Fiction" and three years ago Don talked me into breaking out of my musical silence of some 30 years to play in a concert featuring readings from jazz literature alternating with a jam session. With some fear and considerable trembling I rented a vibraphone and rediscovered the joy of swinging with other musicians. I hope I never have to let it go again.

I love the communal feeling that a group achieves both within itself and with its audience when a tune "takes off," when it starts to swing, when all members of the group find the groove and the audience feels it. Such moments give a pleasure, a fulfillment, an exhilaration, a sense of mutual creation, an excitement, rhythm, beauty.

My mother was a choir director and a piano teacher; my three older brothers sang and played trumpets; my sister played piano; the house was always full of sound. I came into a world already singing. When I was a kid, my oldest brother (11 years older) built a "hi-fi." To show me how it worked, he played "Sing, Sing, Sing" from Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert. I heard Gene Krupa's swinging tom-toms and I was hooked. When I was about 14 or so, my father took me and a friend to see/hear the incredible Jazz at the Philharmonic. Imagine there on stage right in front of me: Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips, Illinois Jacquet, Lester Young, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Oscar Peterson. Two years before that my parents took me to Purdue University to see Duke Ellington and the King Cole Trio. Considering that I come from a small town in Indiana, I have had an incredibly lucky life in seeing/hearing great musicians. They have shown me something of the joy this life can have and made me want, on my own much smaller scale, to share that intensity with others.

Tina Fetner, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology
I am an ice hockey player. I've been a fan since high school and my love of the sport grew once the San Jose Sharks moved to the Bay Area where I grew up. I began playing intramural floor hockey at college. I didn't have much skill, so I played the way the Sharksplayed-more grit than finesse. After moving to New York City, I was given a secondhand set of equipment and immediately signed up for a women's clinic offered at the local rink. It has been non-stop in the seven years since.

In Manhattan, I played year-round in a men's league as well as playing on two women's teams. My style is a little more aggressive than what most guys expect from a woman. But that's my favorite part of the game: skating as hard as you can and slamming into people. Most of the time, it's me who ends up getting knocked over. Hockey is great because you have to work so hard for anything good to happen.
One of the highlights of my hockey career was a chance to center a line that included Martina Navratilova, who was in New York for a few days. She had taken up the sport and a friend of hers was on our team. Next thing you know, we're lacing up our skates with Martina Navratilova.

Before accepting the position at Cornell last spring, I did some research into the hockey programs offered at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. In January I organized the first women's clinics offered in Cedar Rapids. I've also helped Cornell put together an ice hockey club-the first in over 20 years.

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