Students can submit work for Scriblerus

“The Scriblerus’ is a student run journal for OBU students to publish their original fiction, poetry or nonfiction works in,” senior editor of the Scriblerus Noah Golaboff said. “This year we’ll also be taking art designs from students to be included in the magazine.”

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

The student led literature magazine Scriblerus, named after a group of writers started by Jonathan Swift in 1714, is opening submissions for the 2017 edition. Students can submit works in the categories of poetry, prose and graphic design to be considered by emailing, until March 18 at midnight.

“The Scriblerus’ is a student run journal for OBU students to publish their original fiction, poetry or nonfiction works in,” senior editor of the Scriblerus Noah Golaboff said. “This year we’ll also be taking art designs from students to be included in the magazine.”

Professor of literature and English Dr. Benjamin Myers believes that the publication has been on Bison Hill for many years.

“It has a long history of publishing poems and stories and essays by student writers,” Myers said. “Some research has been done, but it has been around for decades.”

Following the tradition from 2016, the 2017 edition will be published online.

“It used to be published as a hard copy every year on campus, but last year was the first year that we published it online digitally,” Golaboff said. “We’ll be doing the same this year.”

According to Golaboff, Entropy, or the scientific idea that all things eventually revert to chaos will be the theme for this year’s edition.

“It’s also a short story by Thomas Pynchon that all English majors have to read in their contemporary literature course,” Golaboff said. “It was suggested by one of our editors because he likes the scientific term and the theme in literature, and we thought it was broad enough that it could be applied to works for all sorts of submissions.”

Myers notes that most colleges and universities have a student run magazine, with a purpose of two things.

“The first is to give student writers a place to publish, especially as they’re just learning and starting, it gives them a first publishing place,” Myers said. “The other is to give students who may be interested in going in to publishing after they graduate the experience working as an editor, choosing work, layout and design.”

Golaboff believes that in addition to the potential for experience, Scriblerus allows students to support each other’s works.

“The journal was started to provide an opportunity for students to publish their works,” Golaboff said.

“For our creative writing majors it gives them practice in the submission and editing process, and it’s a great way to see what your classmates are writing.”

While many of the content found in Scriblerus is from English or creative writing majors, Myers encourages students of all majors to consider submitting work.

“Anyone can submit work who sends work to our email following the guidelines,” Myers said.

“Usually it has a lot of creative writing majors in it, but there are also always people who aren’t creative writing or English majors who appear in the magazine as well.”

For those considering submitting to Scriblerus or getting involved, Myers first suggests reading the journal.

“Interested students should first read Scriblerus,” Myers said. “It will be available for sale at a very reasonable price, less than a cup of coffee, after publication.”

Myers believes publications like the Scriblerus allows student writers to get a unique work experience.

“It is a great place to start as a writer,” Myers said. “It’s very hard to break into publishing work in big markets, so it’s very valuable to have a smaller world to practice in.”

Another important benefit found in the Scriblerus is the community it creates among student writers.

“It’s also valuable because it gives students and writers a chance to share in their community,” Myers said. “Sometimes students discover one another in the pages of the Scriblerus, become writing partners sharing their work and growing together. Scriblerus builds community for writers at OBU.”

Golaboff believes that the process of submitting work to the Scriblerus is itself a major benefit to students.

“The main benefit of submitting to the Scriblerus is that it gets students familiar with the submission process if they’re interested in publishing,” Golaboff said. “We follow guidelines based on our courses in publishing and editing on campus, and we have direction from Dr. Myers, with many years of submitting to literary journals, Dr. Newsom who edits a literary journal and Corey Fuller who helped us with the art guidelines.”

Technically all OBU students qualify to be members of Sigma Tau Delta one they have completed Civ, because the English requirements also fulfill these requirements.

“The editing and editing process is handled by Sigma Tau Delta, a group that is normally open to anyone who has taken two courses or six credits of upper level english courses,” Golaboff said.

“Anyone who is in Sigma Tau Delta can then participate in editing for the Scriblerus.”

Now the submission process for work is easier than ever, so Golaboff encourages everyone to take part in this year’s edition.

“When deciding what to write, jot some ideas down, do some preliminary sketches. Maybe take a break, come back and see what stands out to you,” he said.

Sarah Gilstad presents senior art show ‘Me’

“I didn’t know she’d developed such skill in photography, and I was incredibly impressed with her ability. I thought her focal painting on growth was exceptionally well-composed with an interesting depth of field. Many people wouldn’t realize it, but it’s tricky to create that illusion in paint,” Blackstone said.

By Abigail Meredith, Assistant Arts Editor

Senior art major Sarah Gilstad displayed her best work for the eyes of the public Saturday, March 4.  Friends, family and faculty gathered to support her show.

Sarah Gilstad poses next to one of her paintings. / Laura Hickman, The Bison 

In response, Gilstad and Julie Blackstone, Assistant Professor of Art and Faculty Advisor for the Senior Practicum, offered insiders a look into what went on behind the scenes.

“It’s a challenge for an art major to design a senior show,” Blackstone said.

“It pushes a different aspect of their creativity. Some seniors choose to have a very specific theme, while others simply want to showcase their best work over their undergraduate career. They all have their own personality.”

Gilstad’s personality influenced everything from display to inspiration.

“The theme would be ‘Me,’” Gilstad said. “Looking at my work, I see it subconsciously has to do with experiences I’ve had in my life. Whatever I see is what’s going to inspire.”

She gave specific examples of her inspiration for her show.

“No matter what I see, I think of it artistically,” she said.

“A lot of times I’ll take photos and think ‘I really like this photo. I should paint it’. Or I’ll see stuff with color and picture it as a pointillism piece. My inspiration also has to do with stuff I like. I love watching baseball, and I think it’s a lot of fun, so I did a painting about that.”

Including her personal life in her art makes each piece unique.

Gilstad said she liked her friends and family are incorporated in the works themselves.

“It’s not just photos I took off the Internet or a rendition of some drawing from another artist,” she said. “I know these people. I’ve taken photos of them. I think it’s unique that I include my life, experiences, what I like, and what I’ve seen.”

Her personal investment in each piece resulted in remarkable quality.

“Sarah is a wonderful art student, multi-talented in a variety of mediums, as you can see from the items she chose to showcase,” Blackstone said.

Blackstone was impressed by many aspects of Gilstad’s work.

“Many of the pieces that stood out to me did so because I hadn’t seen her create them,” Blackstone said.

“I didn’t know she’d developed such skill in photography, and I was incredibly impressed with her ability. I thought her focal painting on growth was exceptionally well-composed with an interesting depth of field. Many people wouldn’t realize it, but it’s tricky to create that illusion in paint.”

The works themselves were not the only tricky part of preparing for the show.

“I spent a lot of time learning about how people perceive your work,” Gilstad said.

“It’s been a valuable learning experience. I also learned a lot about how to frame and matt work. Two of my biggest struggles were artist statement and theme.”

Experimentation helped Gilstad stay relaxed and creative.

“I feel like a big help to me was the reminder to keep it simple,” Gilstad said.

“People try to create a big show, but they don’t think about just trying your art arranged different ways to see what might work.”

Blackstone emphasized just how much time and thought went in to the show.

“Sarah has been preparing for quite some time,” Blackstone said.

“She’s been selecting her best pieces, designing the layout and feel of the show in an effort to express her creativity and style.  Of course she had to also think about details such as framing and display, not to mention what food to provide.”

Luckily, the night was a success, with beautiful pieces from many different mediums on display.

“I am thankful to have friends, family and teachers who have always encouraged me in my artistic endeavors,” Gilstad said.

“I would not have been able to complete any of the work displayed without their constant encouragement, support, and inspiration. I believe that my work shows my willingness to learn and to try different techniques, and reveals the constant desire I have to do my best and keep improving.”

Gilstad’s art will continue to be on display in the art building until the next art show. People are encouraged to stop by and admire all Sarah Gilstad’s hard work.

‘Festival of Fools’ improv troupe prepares for upcoming shows

“I know that that’s the way a lot of comedians went, but I didn’t know how deep improv went until I was watching Amy Poehler’s professional improv troupe,” Goode said. “It’s just super fun, because I saw how important it was in her career.”

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

OBU’s improv troupe, Festival of Fools was created in February 2015 and has been putting on shows ever since.

The Festival of Fools improv troupe prepares for their upcoming show. / Preston Morris, The Bison 

Led by Cherish Parker, Matthew Martin and Adam McCollough, the troupe prepares for shows to grow their improv skills weekly.

“Twice a week we meet and practice, usually consisting of someone leading four sessions,” Martin said.

“So for two weeks we’ll teach improv concepts, including things like game of the scene about making sure you’re accepting offers your scene partner says.”

Sophomore communications major Jessy Goode believes that the improv troupe is a family of comedians.

“Really it’s just a community of people that like being funny and making up stuff together, and that’s what we do,” Goode said.“We hang out for two hours every practice and play games, exercises we read from books, and learn how to be comedians basically.”

In preparation for a show, the improv troupe comes together and decides what games to play for the show, then they cast the show by picking up numbers.

“From those two weeks, we practice those games with suggestions given to us by our fellow improvisers that aren’t playing those games,” Martin said.“We get feedback about what happened, what worked and what didn’t in an effort to put on the best show for our audience.”

The troupe was formed after a fundraiser for the campus’ theater club.

“I was in College Players, the theater club, and we wanted to do a fundraiser so they thought of an improv show,” Martin said. “A bunch of College Players were in this improv show, and a couple of the officers told Cherish Parker to start her own troupe that they would charter.”

Martin joined the troupe because of his experience in the fundraiser improv show.

According to Martin, the Festival of Fools is planning two more shows for the semester in March and April.

“There are two different types of improv games, long from and short form,” Martin said. “Short form are the kinds of games you’d see on ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’”

Unlike their usual shows, the March show will be long form.

“Long form games have less structure with more free form and one topic,” Martin said.

For those interested in joining the improv troupe, Martin suggests that they attend the shows and look for opportunities next fall.

“In the fall semester, the members will put on a recruitment show to get any freshman or other interested students an opportunity to see it,” Martin said. “Then we will have a workshop and an audition for the whole troupe to see people’s skill, their potential for improve ability.”

Since Martin and many other seniors are graduating this semester, there will be a need for more members in the fall.

“We usually invite three to five members a year, depending on the needs of the troupe,” Martin said. “There a five seniors this semester, so once we’re gone there will be a lot of spots available for next semester.

To Martin, the troupe has become a close knit family.

“Whenever you improv with someone, you’re extremely vulnerable because you don’t have the ability to hide behind a script, and you’re bearing your whole self to the people you’re improvising with,” Martin said.

The Festival of Fools serves as a remedy for tough weeks for everyone involved, and it’s something Martin always looks forward to.

“They say laughter is the best medicine, and it really is,” Martin said.

Goode’s dream is to be a comedy writer and performer, and decided to get into improv after learning how big of a role it played in her favorite actors’ careers.

“I know that that’s the way a lot of comedians went, but I didn’t know how deep improv went until I was watching Amy Poehler’s professional improv troupe,” Goode said. “It’s just super fun, because I saw how important it was in her career.”

Goode believes that improv gives her confidence as a performer and helps to connect actors.

“It gives you freedom, because there is no rules, and it sets you free from a script,” Goode said.

Abby Besco presents senior art show, ‘Journeys’

Self-portraits for days.

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

If you had to plan a senior art show, what would it be about?

Abby Besco poses with some of her self portraits. / Alena Blakley, The Bison 

Senior art major Abby Besco’s show follows a series of self-portraits based off of famous self-portraits.

“Journeys” tells stories of self-reflection and the journey through life. It runs from Feb. 24 until March 3 in the Art building.

“It’s kind of like a journey through different styles of paintings and different time periods of art styles, and it’s a journey through self-awareness, as well, since it is self-portraits,” Besco said.

“I believe that anything is a journey whether big and small; it affects you in life, so it inspires my artwork.”

According to Besco, the idea for her show started in her Art History classes, after seeing an unusual self-portrait.

“I just thought it was really funny, and it would be interesting of someone mocked famous self-portraits,” Besco said.

“With ‘Journeys’ it’s more of a reflection of how anything can affect you, because your journey through life influences you in ways, and it inspires you.”

Associate Professor of Graphic Design Corey Fuller has had the opportunity to teach Besco in numerous design classes.

“Abby is a very talented artist and designer; she’s well versed in a variety of media,” Fuller said. “She’s humble and teachable and always puts her best foot forward.”

Due to Besco’s time in a number of different art classes, her show includes multiple art forms, including her favorite oil painting.

“I kind of do a little bit of everything, because I have taken graphic design classes, screen printing, [and] I took a weaving class last semester and that was really fun,” Besco said.

“I like painting a lot, preferably oil paints. I also like ceramics and drawing, so you’ll see that at my show.”

Fuller said he believes that her past experience in diverse art classes give Besco versatility as an artist.

“She’s done some very nice work in upper-level design courses, even though she’s not a graphic design major, which shows her versatility,” Fuller said.

According to Fuller, Besco’s art show will be very interesting as it includes painting, drawing, ceramics and graphic design work.

“Obviously, the show hasn’t gone up yet, but if her promotional poster is any indication, it’s going to be an exciting show,” Fuller said.

“She’s been working on a series of self-portraits that should be very intriguing.”

According to Besco, her art show has been in the works for two years.

“Being part of an art major, this is a part of what you work towards in your time here,” Besco said.

“Having close friends in classes before me has caused me to think more about it the past two years. I’ve been thinking about it in the back of my head for a long time.”

Rather than having one favorite piece, Besco wants to enjoy the final product of her show and all of its important pieces.

“Right now, I’m just really excited to see the finished product of what my series has become,” Besco said.

“I like all of my pieces in different ways, because I chose them all to be in the show for a different reason, not to just fill up space.”

For Besco, the creation of her art show has been both exciting and stressful.

“In the long term, it’s been fun to just think about it, think of the ideas of what I could do,” Besco said. “In the short term, it has been really stressful to figure out what I’m doing and actually do it.”

Besco’s love for oil painting began in high school, when her teacher gave her some good advice.

“She always said ‘painting is fun because you can never mess up if you just paint over it’,” Besco said. “I can always just keep working on it. Wait for the paint to dry a little and fix it.”

Besco finds the same love for ceramics.

“I guess that’s the same thing with ceramics too; it’s a release for me,” Besco said. “Working with your hands on the wheel is fun, it can be hard but you can just smash it down and start over with a new piece of clay.”

Throughout her time in the OBU art department, Besco believes that she’s been inspired in some way by her professors.

“All the professors, Blackstone, Fuller, Owens and Burnett, they’ve all influence me in some way,” Besco said. “Julie helps me draw and paint, Corey helps with design, Owens helps me think outside the box – not so concrete.”

Voice recital season begins with Jill Pullen

All was dark in Yarborough, until Jillian Pullen’s voice lit up the room.

By Abigail Meredith, Assistant Arts Editor

Jill Pullen sings in Yarbrough Auditorium. / Courtesy Photo

All was dark in Yarborough, until Jillian Pullen’s voice lit up the room. The vocal music education major shared her voice with friends, family and excited students Friday, Feb. 24.

“The recital is an opportunity for [music majors] to show our friends and family what we have been working on, and it allows us to glorify God through our singing/or playing, the presentation, and it builds integrity through the whole process of preparing for a recital,” Pullen said.

The recitals are not only intended to show what has been learned.

  “Recitals are required for our degree plan,” Pullen said. “Depending on your major determines how many recitals you must give, when you give it and how long. Our instrumental majors have them too.”

Some juniors have recitals instead of waiting until senior year.

“Juniors having recitals is most common for the music education majors,” Pullen said. “We always student teach in the fall of our senior year, therefore, a majority of the time we will give a junior recital. Our vocal performance majors also give junior recitals.”

Rebecca Ballinger, Assistant Professor of Voice, said recitals are important because they represent the years of studying the student has completed.

“It is rare for a field to have such a public display of things they have learned while in school,” Ballinger said. “It is not a test or a certificate earned, but a living, breathing presentation of skill. It is an exciting thing to watch.”

Pullen’s recital took quite a bit of preparation.

“I think it is almost impossible to notate the numerous hours of instruction, practice of both technique and the musical pieces and rehearsal,” Ballinger said. “I would say that a recital is a culmination of all of a student’s years of study at OBU, and not just in voice.”

Pullen’s character as a student and a singer helped prepare her for the recital.

Jill Pullen (right) poses for a photo with her voice professor, Professor Rebecca Ballinger (left). / Courtesy Photo

“Jill has a knack for blossoming into the character of the piece once she is performing,” Ballinger said. “She takes the time to understand the text and tries her best to tell that character’s story, which she does quite well. She is a sincere performer and has grown in her technique tremendously over the last few semesters.”

Pullen had to put in huge amounts of time and effort in order to grow to the challenge of a successful recital.

“My voice professor and I began picking out music for my recital back in the summer of 2016,” Pullen said. “I took extra hours of voice lessons this semester to assist in the learning the notes, rhythms, text of the piece and the language, the background information that goes into a song and the developing the character for it and then memorizing it all getting program performance ready.”

Choosing the songs was a difficult but necessary part of the preparation process.

“The pieces performed were specifically intended to bridge a wide range of genres, styles and periods in music history,” Ballinger said.

“Those in attendance at the recital heard pieces from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, as well as from the twentieth century and musical theater—from Mozart to Bernstein. We train our singers to be versatile. It is rare that a student will perform in only one era or style, so we want to ensure they are flexible and understand the performance practices for each period of music.”

Pullen talked about what songs stood out to her and why.

“There was one song I sang that was probably one of the most demanding: ‘Song to the Moon’. I sang the English translation and it is an aria from the opera ‘Rusalka’ which is all in Czech,” Pullen said. “It is by Dvorak.  It is an extremely slow song and so the amount of breath I had to have for each phrase in the song was ridiculous.  Even though it was hard, it was one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever sung.  The melody is gorgeous and the words are just as beautiful in their own way, so it was very fun getting to bring this character to life,” she said.

“My favorite song from my recital was the very last one.  ‘I Don’t Need a Roof’ by Andrew Lippa from the musical ‘Big Fish’.   One line from the song says ‘I don’t need a roof to say, I love you.  I don’t need a roof to call you mine.’ That pretty much describes the whole song.  This song was for my wonderful boyfriend, Colton Seamans. Getting to sing this song for him knowing he was right there on the front row smiling from ear to ear, being my biggest fan just made it perfect.  I was told there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience, so I’d say I met my goal for that song,” she said.

Pullen gave the performance her all, and saw satisfying results.

“From the recital to the reception, the whole evening went extremely well,” Pullen said. “I just surrendered the night to the Lord because I knew I could not do it justice without Him.  It all went according to His will; therefore, I can’t complain about anything, I sang for Him first and foremost and that’s what made the night so great.”

“A Porcelain Doll” to premiere this weekend

“I hope to inspire others, especially young women, to aspire to do impossible things just like Laura did,” Vernon said.

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

OBU Courtesy Photo

The Porcelain Doll, composed by professor of music Dr. James Vernon, written by assistant professor of English Dr. Brent Newsom and directed by assistant professor of voice Rebecca Ballinger, premieres March 3–5.

The opera tells the story of Laura Bridgman, who was the first blind-deaf person to learn language. The opera stars stars sophomore McKenzie Reece as Bridgman and Cassidy Olsen as Pneuma, Bridgman’s voice.

“I hope to inspire others, especially young women, to aspire to do impossible things just like Laura did,” Vernon said.  “Just because it is difficult, does not make it impossible, and time and time again Laura picked herself up and forged on, leaving a legacy on which others could build.”

As the premiere looms, Vernon is nervous for the opera.

“I am anxious as the show gets nearer,” Vernon said. “Anxious for my students who are performing this, anxious for my colleagues who are pouring tons of energy into this production and anxious for myself, that it portrays this incredibly rich story in an effective way.”

However, he is very proud of all those involved in making this story come to life.

“I am also awed by the talent we have at OBU and by their dedication to their craft,” Vernon said.

Newsom is excited for the premiere and thankful for the opportunity to help write such a piece.

“My main contribution has been finished for quite a while, so now I get to sit back and enjoy it while the cast, crew and musicians are working really hard,” Newsom said. “I also feel a huge sense of gratitude for getting to be involved in such a large artistic endeavor.”

The idea for the opera came to Vernon in 2013, and both Vernon and Newsom have been writing and composing since 2015. They finished this past summer.

“It has been a long process, starting with research into the life of Laura Bridgman,” Newsom said. “I finished the libretto in late May of 2016, and Dr. Vernon completed the music in July. Since then, I’ve been able to relax and watch Professor Ballinger take on the huge responsibility of directing the opera–which, of course, has required the collaboration of many other hugely talented people.”

Like Vernon, Newsom hopes that the audience will understand the complexity and individuality of Laura Bridgman.

“I hope they gain, as I did in writing the libretto, a deeper appreciation of the individual humanity of persons with disabilities,” Newsom said. “Laura’s story is remarkable, but if she only becomes a symbol, then I think we have robbed her of something essential.”

Vernon is very appreciative of the efforts given by the students in this opera.

“I hope the students performing in this work know that I am incredibly grateful for their work, energy, talent, and time,” Vernon said.  “They are pouring their hearts into this production.”

Laura Bridgman’s story of achievement is one Vernon hopes will also inspire the opera’s performers, and he hopes they use it to take on new creative accomplishments themselves.

“I want for them the same things I want for the audience – that Laura’s story might become theirs in some way, to persevere, to forge on, to dream impossible things and then achieve them,” Vernon said. “Especially for these students, I want them to know that Dr. Newsom and myself might be creative models for them for future endeavors, and that we hope they take on new challenges on a regular basis, like they have done with this new opera.”

According to Newsom, students might be familiar with the opera’s setting but they will be surprised by its power and message, especially if they haven’t seen an opera.

“Set in 19th-century Boston, the opera explores a time in American history that will be familiar to anyone who has taken Civ. at OBU,” Newsom said. “Aside from that, I suspect many students have never seen an opera and will be pleasantly surprised at what a pleasure opera can be. It brings together the visual, musical and theatrical arts in a really powerful way.”

The huge undertaking of an opera hasn’t fazed Vernon, considering he has many more plans to write in the near future.

“I am working on a commissioned choral work right now. I want to write a song cycle for tenor voice and piano. There are several things I wish to write for the Bisonette Glee Club, and I’m considering doing research to think about a future collaboration on a musical,” Vernon said. “Perhaps the theater bug has hit me for good.”

Following the opera, Newsom expects to return to writing.

“I’m getting back to writing fiction and poetry, and we’ll see where that leads,” Newsom said.