Division of Music hosts students for FAME, Keyboard festival

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Morgan Jackson

Arts Editor

The last week on Bison Hill was a busy one for the Division of Music at OBU. Monday, Feb. 17, hosted prospective students for this year’s Fine Arts Main Event (FAME). This event allows for students to experience performances from OBU students, and sit in on classes, as well as complete necessary tasks like auditions and placement tests for music students.

In a letter to prospective attendees Dr. Christopher Mathews, dean of the Warren M. Angell college of fine arts, encouraged prospective students to participate in the event and to see what the Warren M. Angell college has to offer.

“We would be honored for you to join us, hear from some of our amazing students and faculty and have a taste of what our art, theatre, and music students do during their time on Bison Hill,” Mathews said.

During the event, students had the opportunity to audition for scholarships.

“We would love for you and your family to experience our cam- pus, explore Shawnee, and consider joining us in this grand journey,” Mathews said. “And, to help, we would like to provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills while you are here, perhaps even earning financial aid that could provide a means for you to reach your academic and artistic goals.”

Students had the opportunity to see the campus and get to know the fine arts faculty. At the beginning of the day, students registered and had a light breakfast. Then, students learned about the colleges and degrees offered as well as learned about financial aid available to students.

Following the informational meeting, prospective students were able to watch performances by current students in theatre and other programs. True Voice, OBU’s acapella group performed “For Good” from “Wicked” as well as other songs.

After the Fine Arts Showcase, prospective fine arts students had the opportunity to attend classes taught by the fine arts faculty while parents attended an informational meeting. After a lunch, students had auditions, portfolio reviews, and other meetings.

In addition to the Fine Arts Main Event, the Division of Music hosted students for the annual state Keyboard Festival Saturday, FEb. 22.

According to the festival website, “The Division of Music at Oklahoma Baptist University is delighted to continue the tradition of an annual Keyboard Festival as established by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. This festival exists to encourage the development of gifted young pianists and organists as they are called to worship God through music.”

The festival allowed for students, with the age capping at the high school level to perform pieces if they have qualified to complete at their regional festival. There are many different categories and levels for students to compete at.

Dr. Abigail Mace, assistant professor of music and director of the music predatory department Dr. Michael Dean, professor of mu- sic and coordinator of keyboard studies, Dr. Patty Nelson, associate professor of music education and Dr. Gloria Tham-Haines, adjunct professor was the OBU faculty tasked with organizing and running the festival. Dr. Abigail Mace was the director of the state festival.

The event concluded with performances from the top players in their categories and an award assembly.

Both of these events allow the Division of Music to share its talents and gifts with the music community throughout the state, while encouraging students to take deeper look into the various musical programs and degrees that OBU has to offer students.

 

CAB’s ‘Lodge of Love’ performance ushers in Valentines Day

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Courtyesy Photo / Zach Johns

True Voice performed an arrangement of “I Need Your Love” featuring soloist Harmony Dewees.

Morgan Jackson

Arts Editor

Tuesday, Feb. 11, Campus Activities Board hosted their annual Lodge of Love show. The event celebrated Valentine’s Day and showcased talented OBU students and faculty.

The Lodge was dec- orated in pink and red and set the tone for an evening focused on all things love and romance. Lights hung from the ceiling and added to the atmosphere.

The first skit of the night was focused on the current season of “The Bachelor.” It was a fun start to the night and gave the audience insight into what they would be seeing at the event. The hosts of the show were Cameron Denno and Tyler Koonce.

The emcees of the night were Peyton Byrd, Anna Caughlin, Clayton Myers, Rayann Williams and Koal Manis.

After the opening skit, True Voice, OBU’s a cappella group, per- formed an arrangement of “I Need Your Love” that thrilled the crowd. The song was one of the standout performances of the night. True Voice is under the direction of dean of the Warren M. Angell college of fine arts Dr. Christopher Mathews.

After their performance, Makalah Jessup performed spoken word about Valentine’s Day that featured countless jokes about roman- tic comedies and was extremely relevant to students on Bison Hill.

This moment was one of camaraderie among the crowd, and it united audience members through discussion of shared experiences and humorous OBU stereotypes.

Next, couples from the crowd were selected to play a game to see who knows the other the best. Couples turned back-to-back and were asked a series of questions about their relationships.

Then, they indicated who better fit a description by raising either their own shoe, or their partner’s shoe. This game was very interesting and personal, and overall fit the fun and quirky atmosphere of the evening very well.

After this, more students were showcased in musical performances.

The first of these was a rendition of “Hey There Delilah” on the ukulele performed by Parker and Raelie. This song is a crowd favorite and perfectly fit the theme of the evening.

Following that song was another crowd favorite, “When You Look Me in the Eyes” by the Jonas Brothers, performed by a group called “Just Friends.”

Nearly every girl in the room was singing along to this song from our childhoods. The performance was a good one; the harmonies added something to the song that made it different from the original while maintaining the heart of the song itself.

The last students to perform for the night were Cason West and Andrew Roberts. They played “10,000 Hours” by Dan + Shay and Jus- tin Bieber. Their guitar playing and singing voices made this a good lead up to the final act of the night.

Dr. Kevin Hall, professor of biblical and theological studies, and Dr. Randy Ridenour, professor of philosophy, took the stage for the last songs of the night. They performed two different songs.

For the first song, Ridenour took the lead and performed a heart- warming song that made the crowd react with laughter and watery eyes. Hall played the last song of the night and the crowd was thrilled by the end of their performances.

The crowd’s response to Hall and Ridenour was by far the most entertaining act of the night.

There were other skits between acts throughout the night, which were all very funny and relevant to the season and OBU.

Overall, Lodge of Love provides a good night of entertainment on campus and welcomes in the spirit of love.

 

 

Division of Music to present Concerto-Aria concert Feb. 16

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Courtesy Photo / OBU Music

Nine OBU students will take the stage Sunday, Feb. 16, for the 46th annual Concerto-Aria concert.

Morgan Jackson

Arts Editor

Nine students from the Di- vision of Music will be show- casing their talents this week- end on a grand scale.

This year the 46th annual Concerto-Aria concert will be presented in Potter Auditorium Sunday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.

According to a Feb. 4 OBU press release, “The first Concerto-Aria concert was organized in 1974 as a way for outstanding musical performers to be able to appear with a live orchestra and perform repertoire from the great catalogues of piano concertos and opera arias. Some years later, instrumental concertos and other works were included in the performances, including original compositions by student composers.”

Student vocalists and instrumentalists chosen to perform were selected by a panel made up of members of the music department faculty. The students performing this year are Katie Logan, Alex Benito, Anne Aguayo, Laura Stewart, Makalah Jessup, Christian Celis, Kalyne Henrichsen, Marlee Sedgwick and Rachel Darvin.

For many performers, this event will be a highlight of their collegiate career, a moment that makes a mark on Bison Hill.

“Attending Concerto-Aria was one of the formative experiences that helped further my decision to become a mu- sic major later on in college,” senior musical arts major Kalyne Henrichsen said.

“This performance is the elite performance of the year for the music department. It is an honor to be in and a fantastic experience for both listener and performer as it combines a collaborative experience between ensemble (the orchestra) and solo musicians (both voice and instrument). Plus, there are fancy dresses and suits which is al- ways fun.”

Many performers have been hoping to take the stage at Concerto-Aria since their freshman year.

“One of the first music events I remember was Concerto Aria my freshman year,” senior music education major Anne Aguayo said.

“I was amazed at how talented the performers that year were and thought that participating in Concerto Aria would be a dream I never expected to come true. Last year I had the honor of singing in it for the first time.”

Junior piano performance major Rachel Darvin shares the same sentiment.

“I first attended Concerto-Aria in 2017 as a prospective Piano major,” Darvin said.

“I was in awe that college students could perform at that level with an orchestra, and also excited that I might have the same opportunity one day.

I have had the privilege of at- tending both Concerto-Aria performances since, and it is always a delight to hear my colleagues and friends at their best.”

The performers are accompanied by an orchestra, which elevates the level of performance.

“I have attended Concerto Aria annually since 2017, but this will be my first time per- forming in it,” senior vocal performance major Marlee Sedgwick said.

“From pianists to clarinetists to vocalists, the soloists at Concerto-Aria are of an elite caliber and hearing them perform accompanied by an orchestra makes their work come to life in an atmosphere unlike any other. This con- cert has inspired me to hone my singing craft since I was a freshman and being accepted to perform this year is truly a dream come true.”

Students relish the opportunity to perform with an orchestra.

“As I watched the performers, I knew that it would be a dream to sing on that stage with a full orchestra but never believed it would happen,” junior music education major Katie Logan said.

“Last year, I was given the opportunity to perform for the first time and was left in awe by the music and experience of singing with a full orchestra.”

A lot of work takes place in preparation for this major event.

Students work hard to audition and be accepted to per- form in this concert.

This concert provides students with a large audience to share their gifts with.

“More than anything else, I look forward to connecting with the audience at this event,” Sedgwick said.

“I aim to demonstrate the love of Christ to them in the way I perform, and I hope that we all gain a clearer picture of God’s love for us through the music we experience. I am honored to be performing alongside my beloved friends.”

This performance hopes to display the tell-tale sign of the hard work and dedication to the craft of music.

“I am most looking forward to being able to glorify the Lord with my voice and tell a story that hopefully touches one person in the audience. Being able to perform with other performers who are my dear friends and glorify the Lord together is so insanely special,” Henrichsen said.

“I am looking forward to celebrating the growth of musicianship and hard work over the last few semesters. I have family coming all the way from Minnesota, so I am looking forward to being able to share a bit of my passion and my life here with them.”

The Concerto-Aria Concert will take place Sunday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. in Potter Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard for Christian movies needs improvement

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Often, after seeing a Christian film, there’s one comment that reoccurs in post-movie discussions: “That was a great movie,” someone says, “… for a Christian movie.”

That last little phrase irks me. Not necessarily because it’s inaccurate – (it’s often very accurate, and sometimes I’m the one saying it) – but because of what it implies.

The phrase implies that Christian movies can be judged by a different standard than most films.

Initially, this might seem like a good thing. Christian films should be held to a different standard than other films, since we are called by God to do everything we do in order to serve and please God, rather than people. And so, in this sense, the remark that a movie is a good Christian movie is a compliment.

Unfortunately, there’s a difference between a movie that is “a good Christian movie” and one that is “good, for a Christian movie.”

These two very similar phrases have two very different implications.

While the first phrase implies the movie is good and also Christian, the second phrase carries a more demeaning implication. “It was good, for a Christian movie” implies the same kind of backhanded compliment that could be found in other sentences that use the same grammatic structure.

Saying that a female athlete is good, “for a female athlete”, carries the unspoken implication that when compared with all athletes – male and female – she is no longer good enough.

Similarly, saying that a Christian film is good compared to Christian films, implies that it’s not worthy of comparison with mainstream films.

It suggests that Christian filmmakers produce a lower quality of work than main-stream filmmakers.

Even more unfortunate, this suggestion is typically accurate.

Christian films frequently fall short of the quality standards of mainstream fi lms.

This is partially due to the budget limitations of smaller Christian indie films compared to Hollywood-backed film budgets. But it is also partially due to failures of plot and storytelling.

It is easy for Christian films to oversimplify their storylines – writing fables, or apologetic arguments in the disguise of stories. And while sermons and fables are generally good things, the movie theatre is not usually the most effective venue for them.

Many of these films try to wrap up their plots into a pretty little bow in the two hour time span of the film, by telling the story of a huge problem that was easily cured by God.

Take the 2015 film “90 Minutes in Heaven,” for example. The film tells the story of Don Piper – played by Hayden Christensen of Star Wars prequels fame, who dies in an accident, goes to heaven, then comes back to life and endures a grueling physical recovery process while battling depression.

Yet near the end of the fi lm, his entire struggle with de-pression is cured by a single inspirational conversation with a Christian friend, and in the closing scene he gives an inspirational speech, urg-ing his fellow Christians to believe that God really does answer prayer.

Although this particular film is based on a true story, this basic plotline is perhaps one of the most common of all Christian movie plotlines. Despite the detailed character work of Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, the film lacks the level of artistry required to acknowledge all of the conflicting aspects of physical and psychological recovery.

And like many Christian movie endings – the physical healing and cure for the character’s depression depicted in the film offers Christian moviegoers a reminder of the Christian hope, but potentially turns away others.

When most people attend a movie theatre, they don’t go in order to learn moral lessons, they go to be entertained and perhaps to experience empathy with the characters on the screen – think of your friends who talk about their favorite films being so good they cried, for example.

Moviegoers know that they live in a messed up sinful world, and trying to tell stories to them that promise conversion to Christianity as the wonder drug for all their problems won’t change their minds.

These filmmakers mean well, but their films are unlikely to be viewed or thought highly of by audiences other than converted Christians.

Instead, Christian films should tell high-quality stories that can only be told through film.

Telling an honest, gripping, detailed and nuanced story is an incredibly powerful thing but in order to achieve this we need to tell not just the success stories, but the failures.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with telling stories such as “90 Minutes in Heaven,” we just need to make sure that we’re also telling the stories of those who’s prayers do seem to go unanswered.

Telling both of these kinds of stories is important for three reasons:

1). It allows Christians to see a Christian world-view applied in a context that they can relate to, no matter if they’re on the mountain top in their lives, or going through a valley of sin and suffering with no end in sight.

2). It shows the rest of the world that Christians are relatable human beings, by acknowledging that the answers to life’s struggles are not easy for Christians.

3). Most importantly, it glorifies God by building respect for Christian film-making in non-Christian and mainstream circles.

If we can tell nuanced stories that truly acknowledge the difficulties of life, we show the world we can do better than, “good, for a Christian movie.”

We can make good Christian films.

Graphic design student present senior art show

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Spring is a busy time of year in the OBU art building, as many senior students present their final art show.

This month senior graphic design major Matthew Giudice II’s art show is on display in the building’s gallery April 13-25.

Initially, many of the works in the show might seem simplistic, however, many of the pieces in the show carry a magnetism hidden in them that draws and keeps the viewer’s attention.

According to Giudice II’s artist statement, “I am always striving to portray all things through my lens in their most positive light. […] I use my camera as a means to learn about the world and the people around me.”

These little insightful hints at the nature of subjects, gives Giudice’s work its compelling depth.

The show poses a clear contrast with the other shows that have been recently displayed in the building, with its darker, bolder color scheme and emphasis on photographic work.

Giudice II has been a photography enthusiast long before his time at OBU. According to Giudice, “I have always had an interest in photography. Any family trips we took I always brought a camera and made sure I took plenty of photos.”

Across from his artist’s statement, a collection of nature photography is shown.

This collection includes two works – “Sunflower” and “Leaf” – close-ups of simple golden plant life, they are brought out from their backdrop through camera focus, leaving the green nature that surrounds each work’s subject in a haze of green, brown and pale blue-grey.

In the next room, however, Giudice’s artwork truly comes into its own. Here his photography showcases his use of negative space.

The silhouette work of “DNA Picasso” on one side presents the shadowy figure of a person against a white backdrop, and in the other neighboring image by the same title, a similar figure can be seen – however, this greyscale image contrasts the light striking the subjects face with surrounding darkness.

Nearby, Giudice’s “Luke Garner” photography captures the movement of a motorcycle rider in black and white panning photography.

The streaked back-ground of the image permeates the sense of movement in the photo.

While these works feature the contrast of black against white, other works play with the contrast of color – especially red-oranges – against darkness.

“Luke Garner Silhouette” places the black outline of a motorcycle rider against a blazing orange sky.

This darkness that permeates much of the artwork, draws the eye instantly to a few sparse features that leap outward from the plainness of the backgrounds.

In “Strange” spirals of brilliant golden light show against a black background, while “Colorado Sunset” displays a lowering sun outlining a few sparse colds in liquid gold as orange light floods over grey hills.

Sprinkled amidst these works are several sports action photos, shot with a skill that suggests his preference for sports.

“My main focus is in flash photography and sports,” reads his artist statement.

Several of these sports images are also shot as brilliant full-color figures against a black backdrop, returning the pattern of negative space visible throughout the show. Yet while the display emphasizes Giudice’s digital photography work, it does not limit itself solely to photography. An example of his graphic design work can be seen in a packaging mock-up titled “Aunt Ginger.”

Nearby on a table in the center of the gallery, examples of Giudice’s screen printing skills can be seen beneath several samples of his film photography.

On another wall, a painted portrait can be seen, that captures with loving detail “Mr. G” in the form of oil on canvas.

Throughout his senior show, Giudice’s sparse and selective use of color controls the viewer’s focus, and creates a sense of energy and vibrancy that engages viewers imagination.

In his artist statement he wrote, “I hope you enjoyed it and feel inspired.”

This show is certainly one that viewers will leave full of energy and perhaps a little inspiration.

OBU ‘Three Sisters’ production debuts April 25

By Olivianna Calmes, Assistant Arts Editor

The OBU theatre department finishes their 2019 season “Awakened by a Dream” with “Three Sisters,” written by Chekhov and translated by Laurence Senelick. Dr. David Coley has a Ph.D. in Theater and taught at St. Greg’s for 12 years in the theatre department and will be guest directing the show.

Coley said that this play is Chekhov’s greatest achievement.

“It represents the Russian dramatist at his most insightful, his most critical, and his most wryly comical,” he said. “His depiction of a society that teeters on the verge of change while fighting it with every step is a prescient vision that speaks volumes today.”

The story follows the sisters and their dream of moving back to the big city of Moscow. They encounter hard work, heartbreak and family crises. The play will explore how they learn from the struggles that they are presented with and how they deal with family issues.

When asked whether the play was humorous or comedic, Dr. David Coley said that he was torn.

“It’s difficult to say,” Coley said. “Most people when they watch or read Chekhov plays [see them as] very serious and dramatic and tragic sometimes, but he thought they were all comedies. He has a very dark, strange sense of humor. And so that’s something we are going to try to balance in the show.”

Coley said the play is going to be dramatic, and hopes it portrays the same strange levity that Checkhov saw.

“You know, whereas we might see some of these characters is very tragic,” Coley said. “He saw them as kind of ridiculous so we’re, we’re having to kind of try and find that that balance there.”

Coley said he has always been drawn to stories about people who are victims of history and culture that takes them down an unknown direction.

“[Three Sisters] is similar to that because it’s this family that try they might, can’t escape [and] the world is changing around them,” he said. “They can’t get outside that system that are going to be carried along with it like a river.”

The three sisters, Irina, Masha, and Olga will be played by freshman Theatre major Anna Smolen, senior Theatre major Anna Tyler, and sophomore Theatre and Digital Media Arts major Kimberlie McCutchen. Freshman communications major Noble Adams-Nabors is playing the role of Ferapont and anxiously anticipating the show.

“I’m really excited to see how the audience reacts to this play,” he said. “It’s not the typical kind of story and I’m interested to see what other people make of it.”

The showtimes are April 25 and 26 at 7:30 and April 28 at 2:30pm in the Sarkeys Black Box. To purchase tickets, visit okbu.edu/theatre, visit Sar-keys building box office Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4pm or call (405)-585-4350.

Orchestra celebrates Hansford’s final concert before retiring

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

The OBU Division of Music will soon bid farewell to one of its longest-serving individuals.

Dr. Jim Hansford has already been retired from his role as of Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music for quite some time. However, this spring the OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra’s spring concert marked Hansford’s retirement from his role as the orchestra’s director and conductor – a role he has filled since the group began 20 years ago.

“We have been so lucky to have Dr. Hansford here at OBU,” junior music education major and flutist and piccoloist Lauren Rivers said. “He truly cared for each and every member in the orchestra and the fine arts program would not be the same if it wasn’t for all of the years and wisdom he put into this program.”

Other students agree.

“Dr. Hansford is a dedicated musician and has given so much time to help this orchestra, I say this because he deserves to be recognized as this is his last concert,” freshman worship studies and women’s ministry major and second violinist Alethea,” Jade Coffey said.

Hanford passion for music has fueled his long career as a music educator and conductor.

“Just seeing Dr. Hansford conduct, it is evident that he loved music and loves being a director,” Coffey said. “His passion for music just reminded me that no matter the age always do what you love.”

This same passion for music shows in his enthusiasm during rehearsals.

“He would get so excited when a piece came together, as we have so many instruments that it is very easy for one little thing to go wrong,” Coffey said. “He just gets so excited for the little victories.”

All of the little victories the OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra makes helps the students in the orchestra develop artistically.

“I have enjoyed seeing the growth of the orchestra,” Rivers said. “Throughout my time in the orchestra, we have made tremendous progress throughout the music we have played.”

Hansford encourages the students to take on difficult musical tasks.

“During the time I’ve been in the orchestra, Dr. Hansford always challenged the orchestra,” Rivers said. “This last year, he had me playing the piccolo part which has been extremely challenging. After a lot of hard work, I have learned to enjoy this instrument and I owe it all to Dr. Hansford.”

The OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra is a joint musical effort of OBU students, faculty and community members that was founded by Hansford. The ensemble comes together in weekly rehearsals to prepare for its performances.

“One of the biggest challenges is that we only meet once a week which isn’t always enough time to put together an entire concert,” Rivers said.

Like many OBU music ensembles, handling these scheduling difficulties in one of the largest challenges the group faces, especially during busy parts of the spring semester.

“Some challenges for be-ing in the orchestra this year was mainly trying to juggle the degree, homework, study sessions, and practicing all in a week or even on days or rehearsal,” Coffey said. “Yet Dr. Hansford was very understanding of life getting in the way but made sure we kept up the amazing standard that the orchestra has.”

This spring, as it bids its director and founder goodbye, the orchestra prepared for its spring concert 7:30 p.m., April 26, in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The concert featured many pieces that hold a special place in Hansford’s heart.

“I decided to include several of my favorite musical works for this final concert with the orchestra,” Hansford said in a press release April 16. “Upon reflecting on my 46 years as a band director, I have programmed a couple of my favorite wind band works that have been transcribed for orchestra.”

The works performed included a variety of musical styles, ranging from John Barry’s “Somewhere in Time,” to Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite” to Alfred Reed’s “Russian Christmas Music.”

“This year has gone by so fast, we have performed and are preparing to perform so many amazing pieces,” Coffey said. “They all emphasize different instruments and are completely different.”

After the performance, a reception was held to celebrate Hansford full retirement from the OBU faculty and staff, and students also planned a surprise for their director.

“The orchestra has planned on having all the members sign a framed picture of the orchestra,” Rivers said. “Many members have also put together money for a gift card.”