By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor
OBU’s Bisonette Glee Club will head out on tour for the first time in three years Thurs. March 7.
“The Bisonettes take their music on the road to share it with a wider audience by singing at out-of-state churches and schools,” senior English major and president of Bisonette Glee Club Melody Pierce said.
“We haven’t been on tour since 2016 so this is new for most members. The four-year members have the opportunity of reliving fond memories from three years ago.”
The ensemble will perform seven times before returning to OBU late Sun. March 10.
Performance locations include Dickson OK High School, Era TX High School, Lamar Baptist Church in Arlington TX, Southwest High School in Fort Worth TX, Woodlake Baptist Church in Carrollton TX, First Baptist Church in Possum Kingdom TX and First Baptist Church in Altus OK.
Because of the full schedule, the trip is an intensive music experience for the students.
“I find the major benefit for me is the way the music will become part of us — singing it 7 times in 4 days makes it part of your soul,” professor of music and Bisonette Glee Club director Dr. James Vernon said. “I love seeing the students make it their own.”
Performing seven times in four days can be tiring for students.
“The greatest challenge is exhaustion,” Pierce said. “Singing several times a day and traveling a lot is not easy for anyone. Another challenge is the trip away from school–on the tour bus there will be several girls at any given time working on papers and reading and studying for tests.”
However, Pierce agrees that such continual interaction with the music, improves the ensemble’s musical ability.
“There is nothing like our final performance of the tour where we know our songs best and are also the most exhausted we can be,” Pierce said. “It is difficult and beautiful all at the same time. I see it as our best performance. It is also the point where I feel closest to my fellow Betties.”
The group tries to make sure that students have the time and space they need to study despite the busyness of the trip.
“They have to miss a couple of days of class, and for some, some work opportunities,” Vernon said. “It is also hard to study and concentrate on the bus, but we try to minimize the distractions to students and get them to use the travel time to their advantage.”
Students will also have time to relax and enjoy the trip.
“There are also times for the Betties to rest and grow closer to one another,” Pierce said. “There is always a lot of laughter involved.”
Sat. March 9, in the middle of the tour, the group will have a break from performing.
“On Sat., we will tour the Fort Worth Museum District, then take in a musical at the famous Casa Manana Theater there,” Vernon said.
These kinds of events allow the members of the group to grow closer relationship with one another.
“My favorite part of tour is spending time with other members of the Bisonettes,” Pierce said. “We’re comprised of a diverse range of majors so often the only time we are together is during our hour-long rehearsals. Tour gives us an opportunity to spend more time together and get to know each other better.”
The travel also gives the Bisonette Glee Club the chance to perform for different audiences than their usual audience at OBU.
“Any time you travel together, it creates an entire new set of experiences for students,” Vernon said. “They are also singing to different audiences – varied audiences – than normal. Sometimes they will sing for audiences who know what good choral music should sound like, and other times they will sing for people who have never heard a women’s choir sing.”
Taking OBU’s music outside of OBU’s immediate community is an essential aspect of the tour.
“It is important to take our music off-campus – to share our talents with as many people as possible,” Vernon said “It is also a recruiting opportunity for the University – not just for the music program.”
Students are able to share their enthusiasm for OBU’s music program with the communities they visit.
“It also helps us to share about the wonderful music program we have at OBU–especially the exceptional Women’s Glee Club,” Pierce said.
The tour is a celebration of the Bisonette member’s love of music.
“The best blessing is being able to be a part of the choir community and the moments of laughter and beauty that we share together,” Pierce said.
The student’s participating in the tour is voluntary.
“We do not have to tour or do run-out concerts each semester – but we do it because we love to sing, and we love spreading the good news of OBU to as many people as possible,” Vernon said. “I admire these ladies’ energy, sacrifice, and attitudes when they perform off campus. They are outstanding ambassadors for OBU.”