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Carrying on the tradition of I.W. Litchfield, Class of 1885, about 25 students have formed the MIT Songwriting Club , meeting Tuesday evenings in Rm 2-190 to critique each other's compositions.

"People play the pieces they've been working on and get feedback," said Fred Choi, a sophomore in electrical engineering and computer science and founder and president of the club, organized this semester. "It's a great way to learn by doing."

The club also plans to hold an open-mike night at the Coffee House in the Stratton Student Center on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9pm. Members hope open-mike night will become a monthly event.

Mr. Choi, who plays the piano and violin, evolved from a musician who improvised when playing other people's compositions to a composer himself last year. He urges his fellow members not to tie themselves to a particular genre like folk, rock, classical, pop, etc.

"Write the song the way you want to write it," he said. "That way you may come up with something unique." He also stresses perseverance. "You may have to write 100 songs before you find your voice," he said. "Look at Beethoven. If you listen to early Beethoven, it sounds like Mozart."

Mr. Litchfield wrote the lyrics to Take Me Back to Tech, which establishes a high standard for the modern composers: "I wish that I were back again at Tech on Boylston Street/Dress'd in my dinky uniform/So dapper and so neat."


Members of the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team (SEVT) and their new vehicle are in Australia to compete in the 1,870-mile Darwin-to-Adelaide World Solar Challenge to be held October 17-26.

Manta GTX, the SEVT's third vehicle in the Manta series, was unveiled to the MIT community by team members on September 23 on Kresge Oval. It has a sleeker look, improved aerodynamics and weighs about 60 pounds less than its predecessor, Manta GT.

"Basically, it's the same model as the last two vehicles, but with key improvements in aerodynamics and lowered weight," said Chris Carr, president of the SEVT, who received the SB in aeronautics and astronautics and electrical engineering last June and is a graduate student in the Health Sciences and Technology medical engineering PhD program.

"This car is really a tribute to the dedication of our team as a whole," he said. "The project would never have come to fruition without the monumental commitment of members like Jacinda Clemenzi and Ziaieh Sobhani." Ms. Clemenzi was responsible for the construction of the composite body of the vehicle, while Ziaieh oversaw construction of the vehicle chassis and suspension. The SEVT, founded in 1985, has competed in 22 races since 1986, winning 10 and finishing second four times.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 6, 1999.

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