OBU Division of Music hosts student recitals

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Watch the TV screens in the GC or cafeteria for very long, and the plethora of music events this semester becomes quickly noticeable.

Campus is halfway through the semester and student recitals are gearing up.

Over the course of the next month, OBU will present student recitals including Marlee Tate Voice Recital April 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Isaac Reel Composition Recital April 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Jonathan Deichman Trombone Recital April 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Sydney Mathews Voice Recital April 25 at 6:00 p.m.; Mitchell Manlapig Piano Recital April 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Reagan Clark Voice Recital April 26 at 7:30 p.m.; and Emily Wright Voice Recital April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Each performance will present musicals works from a number of musical styles.

The reason behind student recitals is two-fold: to fulfill music major graduation requirements and to share what they have learned with their friends, family and community.

“It’s the capstone experience for students’ applied lessons they’ve taken throughout their college career,” said Dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts and chair of the division of music Christopher Mathews.

All music students are required to hold at least a senior recital.

“You would have studied in most cases with the same professor for three to four years. And then the culmination of that is a […] public performance individually, of your repertoire,” Mathews said.

The length and content of the recitals vary by students’ major areas within music.

“Depending on the area, the level of study, it might be 30 minutes, it might be up to an hour long,” he said. “And it’s just a demonstration of the development of your skills, the breadth of repertoire that you know, […] level of comfort.”

Since the recitals are based around the student’s primary instrument or music composition if that is their focus of study, the recitals include a wide variety of musical styles.

“I will have a big band playing on one piece and most importantly this is a bass trombone recital,” senior music arts major Jonathan De-ichman said. “Bass trombone is a more obscure instrument that people haven’t heard of before so it’ll be something new for a lot of people.”

Even non-performance majors must still complete the recital requirement.

“We keep the standards for performance high, though, regardless of what degree, so the music faculty has said,” Mathews said. “And [it] is in accord with our accrediting body, National Association of Schools of music, that regardless of degree we want students to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and a proficiency in one performing area.”

The performance benefits non-performance music majors by giving them a larger understanding of music as a whole.

“In any of our degrees, but specifically, in this case, music, we’re always concerned with both breadth and depth,” Mathews said.

The recital process presents students with many challenges that require them to grow as a student in order to successfully perform.

“It’s helped with my expression, endurance, and routines for practice and warming up,” Deichman said. “[…] It builds character, as you are trying to push yourself and strive for a specific goal.”

Students must also learn to handle stage fright for their recitals.

“Having to deal with nerves, having to do with your perception of yourself, all of us wish we could be a little better,” Mathews said. “All of us think that someone else’s more talented. And so, I think having to wrestle through, number one, that you really are talented, that you really aren’t gifted, that you’ve worked hard, and that God has given you all in the abilities and gifts that you need to be successful.”

This understanding helps prepare students for graduate music programs.

“If they go to graduate school, they’re going to still be studying in an area; they’re going to always be performing,” Mathews said. “Students of music will always perform at some level.”

For example, OBU faculty members still perform, in faculty recitals.

“One of the elements of the faculty recital is inviting students to join us in the profession,” Mathews said. “And so, as you develop as a career musician, and a career music educator, you’re asking students to come along with you, right, so every faculty member that’s here give a recital, at some point.”

The exact performance expectations for students does vary depending on the students’ specific major.

“Music education students […] only give one recital, and typically they’re a little bit shorter, depending on the student’s desire and ability level,” Mathews said. “Versus a vocal performance, or a piano performance student, who is going to give two recitals that are full-length recitals.”

Music composition students represent a selection of their own compositions often performed by other students, although they might perform some of their works themselves.

All the student recitals allow students an opportunity to celebrate their achievements during their time at OBU.

“The recital provides opportunity for friends and family members to get together and say ‘you really have done good work’,” Mathews said. “‘We’re really proud. We’re impressed with what you’re doing

Opera Scenes: ‘Laugh It Is’ to run Feb. 21-22

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Some performances are born out of the performer’s passion for their work.  

Opera Scenes: Laugh It Is will present three opera scenes in Yarborough auditorium 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22. 

While the opera scenes performance was originally for a grade, it remains because students volunteer their time to continue the tradition. 

“In the past it used to be a part of a specific course and we’ve done away with the title of that course, even though the content is still in the curriculum, the course, per se, doesn’t exist,” the Opera Scenes: Laugh It Is director and associate professor of music Dr. Louima Lilite said. 

The enthusiasm of music students such as junior vocal performance major Marlee Tate, who will play Celie in Signor Deluso, is what keeps the performance going. 

“Preparing and performing these opera scenes is truly a joy for everyone involved,” she said. “We have all become closer to one another while preparing a program that is both musically-engaging and extremely fun.” 

Lilite agrees. 

“This particular one is a labor of love,” he said. “I know that everybody can say that about their work, but we are in a unique position.”  

The students provide their own backstage support, as well as performing. 

“It doesn’t have a big production team and so the students themselves are the production team, the crew and the cast,” he said. “And so just seeing them come up with ideas for costumes and makeup and they’re not the ones directing it – I’m the one directing it – but really I rely on them for the leg work and just for all of that. And it’s beautiful to me to see that.” 

The performance also allows students to put to use some of the skills they have learned through their various vocal courses, since its material is one of the most challenging things OBU music students perform. 

“First and foremost, opera as a genre, as a vocal genre, is the most visceral sound that can come out of a human,” Lilite said. ““It just goes to the inner most core of a person.” 

Opera performance requires all aspects of the singer to work together. 

“They have to combine their mind, their emotions – so the heart and soul – and the body,” Lilite said. “It’s a very athletic way to sing. A lot of our students actually say by the time we’re done with this so we’ll be so fit, because it forces them to exercise muscles that they don’t often.” 

Opera’s storytelling component poses another difficult of opera performance.  

“Perhaps the most challenging part of preparing the opera scenes is balancing healthy singing technique with dramatic and believable acting,” Tate said. 

The music requires a range of emotion and control. 

“Opera doesn’t just give you that power it also gives you a place of tenderness,” he said. “Where in a lot of genres you would have to rely on one singer to give you the belt and another to give you the tenderness and another to give you the comedic element and so forth; opera for each singer they have to be able to do that.” 

As the title suggest, this particular selection of operas is lighthearted. 

““I would hope for [the audience] to see that first and foremost that laughter is a gift and that they get to use it and they get to share it,” Lilite said. “So first and foremost, I just want people to come and have a good time and laugh.” 

The comedic subject matter is not only designed to amuse, however. 

“For example, the first one, Signor Deluso, is an American opera,” Lilite said. “I know the title is Italian, but it’s an American opera, it’s in English. It just basically tells the story of two different families and how what may be perceived as truth is not really truth until you take a look at it and investigate and examine yourself.” 

The performance includes two shorter operas and an excerpt from a longer opera: Thomas Pasatieri’s Signor Deluso, Ned Rorem’s Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters and the Act I finale of Così fan tutte by Mozart. 

Each selection was chosen to fit the students. 

“It’s an educational endeavor and so we want to serve our students,” Lilite said. “We actually auditioned students and then figured out what would work for the voices that were available to us.” 

College of Fine Arts welcomes Dr. Patricia Nelson

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Hired to fill the position of associate professor of music education, Dr. Patricia Nelson is one of four new full-time faculty members in the College of Fine Arts.

Nelson joins OBU, coming from a lengthy background of experience in both music education and music post-secondary education.

The hiring process for a new faculty member such as Dr. Nelson takes an average of nine months.

“We identify needs and […] We’ll make a recommendation to our leadership at the university and they look at the big picture and determine how best to approve placements for faculty and those types of things,” Christopher Mathews, dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts and professor of music, said. “Once we hear that word, then we form a committee within the division.”

These committees are selected to include individuals whose area of specialty are as close as possible to the specialty of the position that they seek to fill.

“In Dr. Nelson’s regard, we had three faculty members,” Mathews said. “Dr. Jim Vernon was the chair of that committee, Dr. Teresa Purcell and Dr. Brent Ballwig served on that committee. So, once we knew that we were able to conduct a search then we put together a job description. […] We’re just looking at collecting all of the applications that we can.”

Next, the application list is narrowed down.

“For Dr. Nelson’s position, we had multiple candidates for that that we presented,” Mathews said. “In this case, that happened sometime in March.”

Final approval comes from the president of the college who presents the final candidate to the board of trustees who approve the hire.

Nelson first applied to the position after hearing about it from an acquaintance.

“OBU’s a great place to work; it has a great reputation; always had a good music department,” Nelson said. “And my daughter is due with our first grandchild this next Friday. And this is a whole lot closer to family.”

Nelson has had multiple family members graduate from OBU.

“She understands our culture, understands our mission,” Mathews said.

For Nelson, OBU runs in the family.

“My father [Burton Patterson], who is an OBU Alum [‘50s], is a lawyer by trade but is a church musician, played the organ, and we had a piano at home, we had an organ at home and when I was very small I wanted to play them, and from the time I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a piano teacher,” Nelson said. “That’s what I knew. And so, it’s just always been there for me. I was just one of those people who there was lots of music in my home, and I loved it and gravitated toward it and then was good at it. So, it wasn’t something [to which] I came too late; it was something I just don’t know what life would be like without it. It’s always been there.”

Now, she has over thirty years of professional music experience.

“I’m actually an elementary music specialist and I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, taught in public school, taught in private lessons, worked in churches and just recently have come into higher ed.,” Nelson said.

The transition to higher education happened gradually.

“I was working at a church in Texas and I had a minister of music that had encouraged me to get my master’s, and I had done so, and then my mentor at my masters level was consistently bugging me about doing my terminal degree,” Nelson said. “And I finally decided that’s what God wanted me to do and so it was just kind of a natural progression; it wasn’t a planned thing. I hadn’t planned to teach here and then do this, then do this and then do this; it was really doors that opened for me that made it obvious that I was supposed to make the shift.”

Nelson’s experience as an elementary teacher gives her first-hand knowledge that she can share with students.

“I really enjoy teaching novice teachers how to relay the simple stuff to the students that they’re gonna be working with,” she said. “Because it’s not always a natural thing, [college level students] think musically, but how do you work with a kindergarten student who has no experience yet.”

A key part of teaching the students is forming close relationships based on trust.

“My students are gonna be going out into the public schools. And as a teacher you’re never alone in your classroom until you’re actually hired,” Nelson said. “There’s always someone there to save you. And I want to build a good enough relationship with my students that once they’re out in the classroom they feel comfortable calling me and telling me what they did well or what they’re having struggles with.”

These relationships allow Nelson to watch her students grow in their skill are as teachers.

“I love watching the growth that happens between when people think you’re already grown, you come in as a freshman you’re already a grown up, well sort of,” Nelson said. “But watching that, it’s like watching a flower grow and seeing that all of the flowers in my garden are different flowers that they didn’t just try to do what I did but they found their place and their way and their style and they’re successful. And that’s really what I love the most.”

Many of her former students are now actively teaching music themselves.

“In Georgia [my former students] who are teaching are touching lives in ways that often the math teacher or the science teacher are not going to,” she said. “And they touch more lives in the school than just the regular teachers. Not that those teachers are not important, they are, but the music teacher gets to see more kids. And so that’s just very exciting.”

However, one of the many challenges her students here at OBU will face is the challenge of pay.

“Pay in Oklahoma [is a challenge], getting the kids to stay here and not go to Texas where they pay more,” Nelson said.

“Helping them understand that what they do is important regardless of how society views us. Our society says that our teachers are important but, if you look at the pay difference between a professional athlete and a teacher, we don’t act like our teachers are important,” she said. “And teachers know that, we understand that, we know that ‘oh you’re just a teacher.’ And so, I think that’s a challenge helping young pre-service teachers.”

Nelson’s relationship emphasizing approach is one way to help her students see that their contributions to their students’ lives matter and her experience allows her to speak to her students’ struggles from a place of experience both as a professor and as a school teacher.

“We were able to get her from Shorter University and she was associate professor of music education there,” Mathews said. “In terms of ranking, our full-time faculty begin as assistant professors. Associate is the next level, and full is the next, so associate indicates that she has a significant amount of collegiate experience as a researcher, as a teacher and as a teacher of teachers. So, we were delighted to get somebody with that level of experience.

Inside look at True Voice and University Chorale

By Olivianna Calmes, Contributing Writer

Oklahoma Baptist University music groups University Chorale and True Voice have sung their way into our hearts.

University Chorale was started in 1963 and its goal has remained: “to present advanced choral literature to the OBU campus and community.”

True Voice, however, is comprised of 12 mixed voices “intended to serve as a high-profile musical ambassador of Oklahoma Baptist University. The ensemble performs literature (primarily a cappella) encompassing a variety of musical styles, including but not limited to classical, contemporary, pop, jazz, country, gospel and spirituals,” according to the official OBU website.

Both groups have gained popular standing at OBU and have attracted the attention of students as well as people outside of the school.

“Being in Chorale is such a unifying experience, and the opportunity to work alongside such talented individuals continues to amaze me,” Megan McCoy, family and community service major and education minor said.

Each led by Burton H. Patterson professor of music and choral director Dr. Brent Ballweg, the choirs have individual strengths and goals.

“[True Voice] travels a lot around Oklahoma, [particularly the] Oklahoma City area,” OBU sophomore Psychology major and Music Education minor and member of True Voice, Kalyne Henrichsen said. “We perform at churches, schools, and we help with recruiting for OBU,” she said.

“It’s great because we have a tight-knit community, and we practice at least one or twice a week, so we see each other a lot.”

“[Chorale] do[es] several different types of events throughout the year including church outings, concerts at OBU, we sing in chapel, tour around several states during a spring tour, and this year Chorale is traveling to NYC to perform at Carnegie Hall,” McCoy said.

If students want to get involved, they can begin the audition process.

“To audition [for True Voice], you pick a thirty-second portion from a song and sing it for Dr. Ballweg, and then he’ll have you sight read,” she said. “Then, [you sing] some interval parts. It is very chill and then there are callbacks a week later where you learn a small song and he sees how your voice blend[s] with other people.”

Participating also presents scholarship and travel opportunities. Both Henrichsen and McCoy emphasized they love that students don’t have to be a music major; anyone can join. There are other positive aspects to joining one of the groups.

“Anyone looking to better themselves as a musician should consider auditioning for Chorale,” McCoy said. “The directors [here] always try to make a point to help us to connect the songs to our relationship with God and how we can evangelize to people through the way that we sing and show Christ in the way that we do music,” she said.

“Their group strives to show an impression of Christ in the way that they perform and carry themselves,” Henrichsen said.

University Chorale’s next performance will be April 22nd at 3 p.m. for their “University Chorale and Friends Spring Concert” in Potter Auditorium.

Madison Crow’s senior art show “The Ripple Affect” in Art Building now

*This art show ended March 2

By Jessa Chadwick, Assistant Arts Editor  (Photo by Jonathan Soder/The Bison)

Senior graphic design major Madison Crow’s art exhibit focuses on change throughout times and cultures.

Art has always been a force of change in the world. Throughout time it has challenged people to re-examine the world around them. It challenges the routine and demands of people to ask questions – even to take a stand.

Crow’s “1029: Who is My Neighbor” magazine series is haunting.

Images that show PTSD or No Shave November represent how the smallest actions and decisions affect those around us, even those on the fringes of society.

When I first came through the door, I saw photos from Israel, New York and Hawaii. The plaque next to these photos states, “each of these places has had a significant impact on my life, and I am who I am today because of them.” This demonstrates how certain events can have a huge affect on the rest of people’s lives.

There are pieces that represent change throughout history and cultures in the exhibit, including a charcoal of a Vietnam veteran and another, this one with more stark detail, of a woman in a burka.

Crow will definitely accomplish her dream of changing the world through representing the raw pain of the people in the cracks of society.

However, the exhibit is not just a serious collection of pieces. The package design, called “Finals” is disturbingly accurate at representing a physiological freak-out from finals week.

The package design genius does not stop there, however. A throwback package design to the 90’s will make the twenty-somethings want to pump their fist. When she was looking for a theme, she said she decided to represent the different aspects of change in her art.

“I had toyed around with some different ideas and I wanted to do something that involved change,” Crow said.“My first cheesy idea was ‘inspire change’ but I was like, I need something that’s gonna be more impactful than that because a lot of the pieces that are in my show have to do with change and changing the world around us and how things have changed or changes that you go through in life.”

“So, I chose ‘the ripple affect’ because one small drop of water can cause a big change in its surroundings and water’s always changing. That’s what I want to do with design is to be able to impact the world around me and to leave it better than how I found it.”

The act of creating can be hard. While some may not understand the energy it takes to sit down and start on a piece of art, people should be aware of that struggle.

“There was definitely hundreds and hundreds of hours put into the show,” said Crow. “Just because we’ve all worked so hard and I think a lot of people don’t give art majors and graphic design majors the credit that [they’re due]. There are lots of late nights and you have to constantly be creative and that’s so draining. And no, it’s not comparable to a physics major but it’s hard in a different way. In a way that someone who is outside of that world wouldn’t expect. Even if you’re tired, you still have to continue.”

She encouraged others to go see the art shows put on by the other senior art students.

“If you can’t make it the opening night, just go check it out because we’ve all worked very hard and we want people to see our art,” Crow said.

Corey Fuller, associate professor of graphic design, has helped guide Crow’s talent and growth as an artist over the past year-and-a-half.

“Madi took a unique path-way—she started out as a Math major before switching over to Graphic Design. I think you can still see some of that analytical problem-solving ability in her current work.”

“[She] is a very driven person, not only in a classroom context, but she lives life with a sense of urgency. She has several causes that’s she’s passionate about. I can see her in the future using design as a tool for advocacy. She understands the power of design in influencing people. I imagine she’ll continue to use her skills as a positive force to make the world a better place.”

Another of Crow’s teachers, assistant professor of art Julie Blackstone enjoyed having Crow in the classroom with her other students.

“I had Madi in a drawing class over J-term,” Blackstone said. “And I can tell you she has many talents beyond graphic design. She did well with her drawings, of course, but one of her strengths that I valued was her ability to mentor and encourage other students. I could always count on her to say something helpful during critiques. I can only imagine success for Madi. She has the talent, poise, drive, and personality to do well in the graphic design field.”

According to Blackstone, there are several benefits of an art degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.

“The senior show is a required capstone project for all art majors,” Blackstone said. “Frankly, it’s one of the wonderful benefits of being here at OBU, a smaller art program. At many larger schools, seniors may submit to a senior show, and hope to get one or two items included. Here the senior gets a solo exhibition. The reception isn’t part of the requirement–it’s an expense that some students would rather avoid–but the show is required.”

Dealing with difficult subjects as Christian artists

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor  (Courtesy photo/The Bison)

Christian artists often find themselves faced with difficult subject matters and struggling to find ways of responding that are honest, safe and bring glory to God.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of simply avoiding difficult subjects and condemning the arts as sinful.

However, engaging with difficult subjects and ideas is important for Christians.

“I often point out to Christian artists and readers that Philippians 4:8 says ‘whatever things are true’ not ‘whatever things are pleasant,’” professor of literature and English, Dr. Benjamin Myers, said.

“Either, one, we just say that’s terrible and we walk away and not have any involvement in it, or two, we engage the conversation robustly because we understand truth and beauty from a Christian perspective and we’re not afraid to talk about those things,” dean of the college of fine arts, Dr. Christopher Mathews, said.

According to the OBU Mission Statement, “OBU transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.”

In order for students to learn to “integrate faith with all areas of knowledge” and “engage a diverse world,” students must interact with ideas and subject matter that challenges them in the form of mental work, but also in the form of emotional or spiritual growth.

Students may find themselves studying songs or plays that were written by artists with vastly different, atheist, or anti-Christian views.

“I think by and large– not a hundred percent of the scripts that are out there – but by and large, the greatest number of scripts that are out there should be allowed in the context of a Christian liberal arts institution, at least at the level of a dramatic reading or something,” Mathews said.

“Because we need to understand what’s there; we need to be preparing others for the world of what’s out there. Now there may be many of those that we would not feel comfortable with producing, but at the same time the text may be things that we not only need to read at a cursory [level] but we need to try to wrestle with what the characters were feeling and try to understand what’s going on, at least at that level.”

At other times, students may need to study or perform works that deal with themat-ic elements such as sexual assault, racism, violence or situations that involve their own vulnerabilities. All of these risks are applicable to acting students.

“For actors, it’s very much everything that person is as a human is on display, not just their body, their physical, their face, their stance, their posture, but also there is an emotional commitment,” assistant professor of theatre Matthew Caron said.

“Acting is a very vulnerable craft, you know. They’re creating relationships on stage that can sometimes potentially feel real even though they’re not, you know, so there’s just a lot of risk for an actor to go out there and embody a character and do all of those things that need to happen to create a credible and compelling performance.”

Yet artists can maintain safety, both spiritually and emotionally, if they are thoughtful in the way they approach these situations.

Rather than ignoring difficult subjects, they can actively seek the appropriate Christian response.

“In poetry engaging a diverse world can often mean trying to understand the experiences of people who have different viewpoints or experiences than you do. It can also mean giving honest expression to human experience,” Myers said. “The Psalms are a wonderful model of this.”

When students seek out what they have in common with an artist’s work, even if they disagree with it, they can expand their knowledge of the human condition.

“Art of all kinds should reach toward beauty, but it can’t get to beauty without engaging reality truthfully and meaningfully,” Myers said. “This is as true of The ‘Lord of the Rings’ as it is of more realistic work. Redemption is beautiful, but you can’t see redemption without really seeing the need for it. That takes honesty. In this, the artistic path is a lot like the path to salvation.”

Studying challenging works as Christian artists requires students to actively engage in their faith in a way that they might not have done otherwise.

“Some of these risks have the benefit of keeping us before God on a regular basis,” Mathews said. “Lord, you’ve called me into a profession. Lord I believe that you have a desire and a plan for me in that profession. But I also know that that profession is going to cause me to interact with people that will potentially be harmful for me internal or external, or interact with subjects. And so, I need to daily come before you for wisdom in how I interact with that, for the courage to draw a line if I must do that and to separate for myself, for the courage to continue going if I must do that. But I’m going to regularly come before [God] for guidance in wisdom for how I do that.”

Another important aspect of maintaining safety is open, honest communication. For this to work, both the faculty and the students have to deliberately choose to discuss any concerns or difficulties that might arise during the creative process.

As students learn, they can also be encouraged to find their own boundaries, through safe practice, and classroom work, and then learn to communicate their boundaries clearly and openly.

“The thing I think is about being aware of your own boundaries and not being afraid to communicate that,” Caron said. “And that’s what I mean by creating a safe environment. So that if, you know, Jack and Jill are doing an exercise together. Jill can say to Jack ‘okay we’re doing this exercise but I want you to know it makes me really uncomfortable when people touch my shoulders, you know, I just want you to know that.’ And then Jack’s response is ‘okay I’m not gonna touch your shoulders.’ And then Jill has to trust that Jack’s gonna do that. Jack is not going to accidentally touch her shoulders because that betrays Jill’s trust and then once you betray that trust with the two actors then creating any kind of relationship on stage becomes that much more difficult because the actors don’t trust each other.”

OBU classes and activities encourage trust by creating an atmosphere that allows open, faith-based discussing of all aspects of life.

Christian artists can face the challenges of the art world they live in by learning to communicate in a way that is filled with grace and empathy and is firmly grounded in technique and a solid understanding of their faith

University Chorale and True Voice concert March 6

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor  (Courtesy photo/The Bison)

University Chorale and True Voice will hold a joint concert March 6 in Yarborough Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

University Chorale is OBU’s largest choral ensemble. Their co-performer, True Voice, is an a capella ensemble. Burton H. Patterson professor of music, Dr. Brent Ballweg leads both groups.

True Voice will perform first and both ensembles will perform a wide range of music from a large variety of cultural backgrounds and languages. They will perform the secular pieces “When God Dips His Love,” “Power in Praisin” and “And Can It Be.” True Voice’s secular set includes Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” “Once Upon a Time” arranged by OBU alumni Paul Langford and “Salseo.”

The musical selections will include jazz, gospel and hymns.

The second portion of the concert will feature University Chorale, which includes several students who perform in both ensembles. University Chorale’s musical selection will be quite similar in range to True Voice’s selections.

“The University Chorale will present an eclectic program dealing with Spring, nature, and love,” Ballweg said.

University Chorale’s selections will include “L’ultimo di di Maggio,” “Õhtul,” “Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder!”, “How do I love thee?” and “Jabberwocky” by Sam Pottle.

“[It] exposes our students to a great variety of musical challenges, musical styles, texts and languages,” Ballweg said.

“It’s a little more secular and we’re doing a lot of foreign texts that I’m excited about,” junior theatre major and music minor, Anna Tyler, said. Learning to sing numerous languages, however, is not an easy task.

“In addition to the Italian, Estonian, French, and English on this concert, for our April concert the University Chorale is also working on pieces in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Zulu, Mandarin and Spanish,” Ballweg said.

“The literature can sometimes be kind of challenging, like the music that we sing, so just staying like up to date with it just to make sure that you’re like up to snuff like with the whole choir cause it’s a team effort,” Tyler said.

However, the rehearsal process was also rewarding.

“Being able to ‘own’ these pieces after only five weeks of rehearsal,” Ballweg said. “That’s a real challenge to master the notes and expressive intricacies of the pieces in such a short time.”

Tyler spoke of her experience both rehearsing for the performance and as a two-year member of University Chorale, very positively.

“We’re experiencing more different styles of music, and I think that it’ll be really fun for an audience to see,” Tyler said.

She said the atmosphere in Chorale is highly supportive.

“It’s a lot of fun, and you definitely become a family when your part of Chorale,” she said. “I think singing and music in general are very important because I feel like music has a way of expressing things and emoting emotions that can’t be expressed if they weren’t written in music. It just pulls at your heartstrings in a certain way,” Tyler said.

University Chorale and True Voice’s joint concert provides an opportunity for students to explore some of the emotions that music can both evoke and express. The performance is free and open to the public.

Bison Jazz Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Orchestra to perform March 1

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor   (Courtesy photo/The Bison)

The OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra (BJO) and Symphonic Winds Orchestra will perform a joint concert on Mar. 1, at 7:30 p.m., in Potter Auditorium. The performance will showcase two quite different styles of music between the Symphonic Winds Orchestra’s pieces and the Bison Jazz Orchestra.

“Concert [symphonic] band and jazz band play from an entire different list of repertoire. And so, you’re just gonna get a completely different sound from one verses the other,” said senior instrumental music education major, Brooklynne Seale. “Jazz band is also going to have instruments that you don’t normally see in concert band such as bass guitar, guitar, drum set, and like then usually an electric keyboard. And then, concert band is going to have a lot of instruments that you’d prob-ably never see in jazz band. So, their just two different animals basically – different music, different instruments, so different sound.”

All of the pieces that the Bison Jazz Orchestra will perform in the concert is new repertoire.

“We will play an up-tempo Latin arrangement of ‘Invitation’, an arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Blue Monk’, Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower”, and a Gordon Goodwin ballad, entitled “Second Chances’,” assistant professor of instrumental music, Justin Pierce said.

These pieces of music were chosen to fit the needs of the group.

“Every semester, we have a different band with unique strengths and musical talents. I do my best to showcase the musicians in the band at the time,” Pierce said.

Three of the performers in Bison Jazz Orchestra, as well as several members of the Symphonic Winds Orchestra will graduate this spring. Many of the students in both organizations have spent multiple semesters in the Bison Jazz Orchestra.

“I hope that the future music educators in the group will foster a love of jazz in their students,” Pierce said of the graduating students. “For everyone in the group, I hope that working in an ensemble has taught them how to work with a diverse group of talents to reach a unified goal. An improvisatory worldview will also open many doors, if they remain open-minded.”

One of the biggest challenges of putting together any musical performance such as this one, is schedule. Pierce said that one of his biggest challenges as the director of BJO is “Coordinating schedules of members of the ensemble, who are often involved in other campus activities.”

Seale, who is currently in Symphonic Winds Orchestra and has previously played in the Bison Jazz Orchestra as well, said that she had to eventually leave BJO since managing the schedule requirements of both ensembles at the same time had simply become too much. However, despite the schedule difficulties that rehearsing and performing presents, for some students, rehearsal is one of things they look forward to about participating in Bison Jazz Orchestra or Symphonic Winds Orchestra.

“Rehearsal is always, I guess, the best part, because we get to make music pretty much every day of the week. And as a music major that’s my favorite thing to do,” said Seale.

Another challenge for students is the work and time that it takes to prepare for performances like this one.

“Dr. Purcell [conductor of the Symphonic Winds Or-chestra] has really chosen some stuff to challenge us,” said Seale.“Which I personally really love; I love being challenged. So, the music that she’s chosen is really high-level music. It’s gonna sound awesome, but it’s been fun preparing for it.”

For Seale, her experience in music ensembles while at OBU will directly feed into her future career path, since she plans to remain in music after she graduates.

“I’m hoping to teach, preferably somewhere in the Tulsa area, as a band director,” said Seale.

The Bison Jazz Orchestra includes Alex Benito, Abbie Dean, Anna Dellinger, Matthew Anderson, Hannah Key and Madi Trammell on saxophone; Konnor Robertson, Jonny Dean and Allie Frank on trumpet; Sam Quick, Jarret Corbin, Isaac Reel and Jonathan Deichman on trombone; Demarcus Baysmore and Nathan King on guitar; Graham Griffin on piano; Trevor Schlosser on bass; and Tyler Smothers on drum set. The Symphonic Winds Orchestra includes Lauren Rivers, Sydney Barnes, Christina Brady, Dylan McFarland and Riley Bagwell on flute; Emari Benito on piccolo; Josie Edgar, Micah Wakefield and Emily Justice on oboe; Genna Frazier on bassoon; Leo Chavez, Madi Trammell and Alix Nelson on clarinet; Mike Creider on bass clarinet; Alex Benito, Brooklynne Seale, Matt Anderson and Hannah Key on saxophone; Jonny Dean, Konnor Robertson, Jordan Richardson and Ali Frank on trumpet; Sydney Thurmond, Tommy Peercy and Emily Dicus on horn; Sam Quick, Matt Shively, Jonathan Deichman, Jarret Corbin, Jason Martinez and Juan Marquez on trombone; Demarcus Baysmore, Krisha Ticer and Joel Tetmeyer on euphonium; Zach Fisher, Kasidee Norton, Jennifer Watson and Caty Bridges on tuba; Trevor Schlosser on string bass; Mitchell Manlapig on piano; and Gabi Bellair, Audra Jones, Cooper Fierro and Jarrett Richardson on percussion.The performance will be in the main upstairs auditorium in Raley Chapel, and is free and open to the public.

Debate team brings home more honors

By Chelsea WeeksNews Editor    (Photo: Scot Loyd/The Bison)

Although the new semester may present many challenges to students, the Oklahoma Baptist University Debate team has no problem finding their successful groove again.

Over the weekend, the OBU Debate team traveled to Norman to compete at Oklahoma University. After a series of rounds, the OBU competitors came home with many accomplishments.

Anna Chandler took second place in the tournament. Chase Chastain ended as a semi-finalist. The quarter-finalists were Josh Knox, Arielle Chastain and Meagan Hill. Josh Knox was also the first speaker and Avry Wood took the title of the third speaker.

After only a year of competing, the OBU Debate team has been ranked fifth in the nation. However, with two tournaments left before the National Tournament in March, the Novice team has a goal to be ranked as third in the nation. Not only is there a goal to move up in ranking, but also in divisions.

“As we move up, the goal is to have a novice team, a junior varsity team, a varsity team and a professional team,” assistant professor of communication studies and director of forensics and debate, Scot Loyd said.

“The way our league works is you can win an overall championship if you’re competing in all divisions. Right now, because were just starting the team, we just have a novice division. Eventually, as these [students] continue in their career here at OBU we’ll have all those divisions covered.”

The OBU Debate team is part of the International Public Debate Association. This Association was created in 1997 and strives to give individuals the opportunity to grow in their communication and advocacy skills. There are four divisions within the association: Novice, Junior Varsity, Varsity and Professional.

After eight tournaments, a Novice competitor will move up into the junior varsity division.

The OBU team had four competitors move up over the course of this past weekend: Chase Chastain, Arielle Chastain, Jennifer Pensamiento-Hilton and Avry Wood. With this new promotion, these competitors will be competing on a different level.

“I’m excited for them,” Loyd said. “They’re a little apprehensive because they’re moving up to a harder division, but a lot of competitors that they’ve seen on the circuit are moving up as well because everybody is limited to those eight tournaments. When they move up, they have other people move up with them. Obviously when you move to the next level, you’ve got people that are finishing up in Junior Varsity that you might have to compete against. That can make it a little harder.”


Guest artist Marc Webster to visit Feb. 15-16

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor  (Courtesy Photo)

Marc Webster will give a free vocal performance with Oklahoma Baptist University associate professor of voice and coordinator of voice studies Dr. Louima Lilite on piano. The performance will be Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium.

Webster will offer a masterclass in Yarborough Auditorium Feb. 16  from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

The masterclass, like the performance, is free and open to the public.

Webster is an assistant professor of performance studies at Ithaca College in New York.

According to Ithaca College’s website, he has studied music at Eastman School of Music,  Julliard School and Ithaca College.

“He is a kind soul I was privileged to meet and befriend during our grad school days at the prestigious Eastman School of Music,” Lilite said. “Marc has since sung celebrated performances in various places.”

Webster has performed with the Syracuse Opera multiple times, and has also performed with Seattle Opera Studio, Julliard Opera Center and Florida Grand Opera Studio.

The concert will offer various pieces for bass in multiple European languages.

“We will be presenting great works for the bass voice by Mozart, Wolf, Santoliquido, and Ibert but also some crowd pleasers in the English language,” Lilite said.

The pieces of music to be performed were chosen for their imaginative and delightful qualities.

“In crafting this program, we wanted to offer to the concert-goers the gift of joy as Marc’s voice touches their souls and transports them to imaginary lands,” Lilite said. “He is a masterful artist and a captivating performer; we wanted pieces that would readily convey those traits to the audience.”

The performance is part of OBU’s Vocal Studies Area’s efforts to bring an annual guest artist to campus.

“Every year, the Voice Studies Area seeks to bring one artist/teacher to OBU for a two-day campus stay—performing for the community the first night, then teaching selected students of ours the next day in a masterclass setting and/or in one-on-one sessions,” Lilite said.

Webster and Lilite will have a limited time available to rehearse the music together before performing together on Thursday night.

“Marc and I will have but one rehearsal (Wednesday night) once his plane lands, one rehearsal amidst myriad other rehearsals for the upcoming Concerto-Aria event the College of Fine Arts is putting on this same week,” Lilite said. “To put it in context, our students spend long months preparing to present something like this. It’s nothing short of a miracle.”

However, the performance offers Lilite the opportunity to collaborate with a friend and to share their music with OBU’s students.

“I feel privileged to be able to make music with a friend I have known for a long while,” Lilite said. “But more importantly, I am overjoyed to know what a great treat this performance will be for those who come—especially the students. There will be nothing quite like it.”

The performance will be on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and the masterclass will be the following day, Friday, Feb. 16  from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to all.

“I hope it will teach students and non-students alike to be more vulnerable and genuine in their approach to life,” Lilite said. “I also hope it will rekindle the light of hope in their hearts.”