Harmony Valley sets up on cold and rainy Saturday morning. Dane County Farmers Market. #mymadisonday


7:12-7:36 pm, Madison Symphony Orchestra at Overture Hall

Here is a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the perspective of an onstage orchestra musician prior to the start of tonight’s opening concert of the 2012-13 Madison Symphony Orchestra season.

The program consisted of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a memorial tribute to the memory of Conductor Laureate Roland Johnson and Principal Tubist Paul Haugan (both of whom had passed away in the summer of 2012) with “Adagio for Strings” by John Stevens (Director of UW-Madison School of Music), “Classical Symphony” by Sergei Prokofiev, “Firebird Suite (1945)” by Igor Stravinsky, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Piotr Tchaikovsky, performed by Garrick Ohlsson.

– David Spies

1:20 pm, “Music in Performance” class at the UW Humanities Building

It’s time for one of UW-Madison’s most popular courses: “Music In Performance.”

This class has a rich history at the university, dating back to the 1940s, with legendary professors Gunnar Johanssen, Rudolf Kolisch, and the original Pro Arte Quartet.

While the purpose of “Music in Performance” is to expose students to a variety of live musical experiences, many are there for one main reason: to enjoy and appreciate good music.

During each class, different performers — who might be UW School of Music faculty members, graduate students, or guests — will perform and discuss a wide-ranging repertoire for solo instruments and chamber ensembles.

Friday’s musicians are Mark Hetzler, Vincent Fuh, Nick Moran and Todd Hammes, respectively, on trombone, piano, bass and drums. All are UW-Madison faculty members. Together, they formed a jazz band to perform for the class.

Along with undergrads, grad students and senior citizens are also enrolled in the course, making this time part of their Friday routine to relax and enjoy music.

“It is a great chance to get away from the strict academic atmosphere, enjoy the music, and put them in a different world,” says Professor Marc Fink, who has taught the course for about six years.

– Xiumei Dong

The perfect birthday present to come home to after a 13 hour work day @uwmadison. #stillLoveMyJob #myMadisonDay


10:30 pm, Greenbush Bakery

It’s just 10:30 pm so the line is not yet out the door. That doesn’t happen until about bar time, says Alex Hintz, who holds down the fort evenings at the Greenbush Bakery.

All of the donuts on the shelf were made today, says Hintz. And he predicts nearly everything will be sold by the time the shop closes at 3 am. “They rarely throw anything out.”

James Gibson, who is working late at the university, stops by to pick up some donuts for breakfast. He buys three chocolate old-fashioneds for himself and one strawberry filled donut for his wife, Sue Medaris, the artist and sister of Isthmus alumnus David Medaris.

Though reluctant at first to be photographed, Gibson decides an action shot is the way to go. Hintz complies with another chocolate old-fashioned — this time on the house.


– Judith Davidoff

10:10 pm, Overture Center-The Playhouse

Just like at political gatherings, the confetti fell when the five actors starring in Forward Theater’s 44 Plays for 44 Presidents took their bows at the end of opening night.

As the play wound through more than 200 years of history, the audience’s progressive stripes showed. Applause broke out when Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to put 230 million acres of land under federal protection were mentioned, and again when one actor read a list of safety-net measures enacted under FDR.

But there was laughter too, including to Obama’s reaction upon taking office after George W. Bush: “Oh, what a mess.”

At the end of the play, actors handed out voter registration forms, imploring audience members that even if they were registered they should pass the forms to someone who wasn’t. And they reminded people about current voting rules: “You do not need a photo ID to vote!”

More applause.

– Judith Davidoff

8 pm, The Sett in Union South

From the counter at the Sett in Union South, student supervisor and griller Logan Glassenapp appears to enjoy his job. Tonight, his mood is contagious. While helping customers, assisting new co-workers and grilling hamburger patties, he issues more than the occasional joke, and is often seen dancing around the prep area.

“The same people that come here to have fun, just being at the Union, are students that work here, and I’m just the kind of person who come here to have fun while I’m hanging at the Union, and working,” Glassenapp says.

Working in the Sett is no easy feat. Every home football game day weekend, hundreds of Badger fans arrive at Union South craving hot dogs, nachos, and cheese curds.

“It’s pandemonium, man!” Glassenapp says. “We’ve actually got people from the community coming in, not just students.”

Beyond the music on the stage or the sports updates blaring on the television screens, Union South’s grill serves entertainment, humor, and delicious food, courtesy of grillers and life enthusiasts like Glassenapp.

– Bess Donoghue

10:10 pm, Stop-N-Go at corner of Glenway and Speedway

Joe is working the 2-11 pm shift at Stop-N-Go, as he does most nights. He doesn’t like missing dinner at home, and he admits that “this is about as boring as a gas station is going to get.” Still, he doesn’t seem too unhappy to be working here. He’s got a smile on his face, and he jokes with a regular customer while we’re talking.

Joe is also amused by an incident that happened earlier in the day, when a cute college-age girl asked for $4 in gas, then wondered if she could borrow the $4 from him. It was a crazy request, but he was just crazy enough to lend her the money.

Best of all, the Brewers won today, putting Joe in a great mood. Employees aren’t allowed to read, watch TV, or go online, but they are allowed to listen to baseball on the radio. He was no big baseball fan before, but he’s cultivated an interest in the game since working at Stop-N-Go.

“Baseball is boring,” Joe says, “but it’s less boring than working at a gas station.”

– Dean Robbins

7 pm, Chabad House on Gilman Street

“It’s going to be a small crowd tonight, a lot of people are high holiday-ed out,” announces Rabbi Mendel to no one in particular as around 40 students shuffle in to Chabad House.

Each week, the rabbi holds his breath as students enter the house, located on Gilman Street, hoping he has set enough seats.

Chabad is one of the Jewish options on campus for students who want a dose of religion while away from home. The rabbi and his wife offer free meals every Friday for the Sabbath, along with different options for the various Jewish holidays.

The Sabbath dinner draws a different crowd each week. The regulars. The one timers. And of course, students who could use a free home cooked meal, especially towards the end of the month when wallets are thin.

Many students express their desire that the meal fulfills a family feeling they are missing while they are far from home.

“I don’t necessarily go to Chabad because I am extremely religious, I go for the sense of community it offers,” says Miriam Steinberg, a junior at UW-Madison. “My family ate Friday night dinner and celebrated Shabbat every week at home growing up. Chabad provides a constant similar to the one I have at home.”

Although students who attend Chabad leave their college lifestyle and enter an oasis in time for a few short hours, Jewish students’ Friday nights do not differ from most. Chabad dinner is dismissed promptly at 8:45 pm — just in time for students to participate in perhaps less wholesome activities.

– Erica Sperber