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.”


Professors discuss voting, politics from a Christian perspective

By Jacob Factor, News Editor

Politics has saturated much of today’s mainstream social media and news outlets.

It’s almost impossible to have no opinion on current issues, policies or lawmakers, but how does a Christian decide on these things?

Five OBU faculty gathered in Upper GC last Tuesday for a “Let’s Talk” discussion about this very question: not what stance to take on political topics, but how Christians should go about deciding these things.

Maliek Blade, assistant dean of students: diversity/multicultural, Scot Loyd, assistant professor of communication arts, Alan Bandy, Rowena R. Strickland Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek, Nicole Johnson, assistant professor of nursing, and Christopher McMillion, assistant professor of political science, answered questions prompted by SGA president Clayton Myers about Christians and politics. After the panelists gave their thoughts, a discussion time afforded students the opportunity to express their opinions in small groups.

The first question, “Should Christians be involved in politics?” spurred conversation on voting.

Loyd said we should exercise our freedom to vote. We shouldn’t take our freedom for granted, he said.

Arielle Chastain, a junior elementary education major, who attended the “Let’s Talk” event, said she agreed with Loyd. She said Chris-tians should look at voting as an obligation.

“White men were the only ones who could vote for a long time,” she said. “People worked their behinds off to make it so women, black people and minorities have the right to vote. We shouldn’t take advantage of that.”

Blade said he had a different opinion. It’s up to a person whether or not they want to be involved in politics that way, he said.

“I would say there is not any Biblical mandate that you should vote in the presidential election,” he said. “There might be some social pressure, but no Biblical command.”

Blade said many people look at elections as picking the lesser of two evils. No sin is lesser or greater than another, and the Bible says pick no evil.

McMillion added to Blade’s comment, saying if someone doesn’t vote because they don’t want to pick the lesser of two evils, they should get involved elsewhere politically.

“There’s a responsibility to ask yourself, ‘how else can I get involved?’ and in doing so, hopefully, create a situation where Christians have better options.”

The panel also brought up political parties.

Bandy said “love your neighbor” and “seek first the Kingdom of God” supersedes political parties.

“For us to align with a party is inherently flawed. It hinders our evangelism if we’re too closely aligned,” he said. “The Gospel transcends any human government.”

Later, Johnson touched on healthcare. She said she’s fortunate enough to afford healthcare, but she understands not everyone has that ability.

“As Christians, we should be concerned about that,” she said.“It was with Christ that we actually saw people receive care regardless of race, background or class.”

She said that’s the example Christians should set. Healthcare shouldn’t be solely a governmental issue, she said.

“With healthcare, it’s not always about business,” she said about when money comes into play. “Unfortunately, money sometimes dictates your access, and we have to figure out how to fix that.”

Another social issue talked about was immigration.

“One of the things I find most disturbing is the dehumanization of people,” Bandy said.

He said he understands it’s a complex issue, but regardless of the stance on a solution, a mere “keep them out” is unbiblical.

“I don’t care what country you come from, what language you speak, you’re a human being. Human beings are a priority.”

Students come to college, parents tag along

Jonathan Soder, Features Editor

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For every student, college includes certain challenges. Move-in day brings feelings of homesickness. Civ introduces students to the real adult world with hours upon hours of work. And finally, graduation often comes with uncertainty about the future. On top of these mutually experienced complications, some students have to navigate the double role of student and child.

Several of these students include sophomore pre-counseling major Mackenzie Camp, sophomore math major Becca Mathews and senior Biblical studies major Graham Griffin.

The Challenges

During high school, many students perceive teachers’ children as naturally intelligent, having an unfair advantage, privy to all the goings-on of administration and sundry other stereotypical characteristics. For Camp, Griffin and Mathews these stereotypes haven’t made a strong appearance during their college lives. However, there are a few that linger.

“Whenever [students] ask questions about stuff that [my dad] talks about in his classes, they don’t completely expect me to know answers,” Camp said, “but they kind of want me to have answers.”

For Griffin, stereotypes manifest mainly in occasional joshing from his friends on account of his status as “the dean’s son.”

Mathews experiences mild cases of stereotyping in the same vein as Griffin, which she says is actually the opposite of how things really are with her father.

“[It’s assumed] I can get away with things because my dad works here, but that is not the case at all,” Mathews said. “Actually, the exact opposite because I’m under tighter standards. Like, I have to have people sign off on things if I want to get a job in his college and things like that. So, I’m actually under stricter standards than if I didn’t have a parent who worked here.”

The Relationship

On the relationship front, all three students said that little has changed for the worse with their parents since coming onto campus.

“I feel like, potentially, we could allow it to be a really big deal,” Mathews said, “but my dad is really strict on professionalism. He wants to handle everything in the most professional, polite and logical way. That’s probably more his personality than mine, but, for the most part, it’s like we have to handle this as mostly separate entities just because if [I] were any other student [I] wouldn’t have any more say over [something] than anyone else.”

Likewise, for Camp, her and her father’s on-campus relationship is largely confined to moments when they meet in passing between classes.

Both young women also live at home where they have a more relaxed relationship with their fathers. Both Camp and Mathews also started out living on campus, then transitioned to living at home later. Even after tasting freedom and moving back in with her parents, Camp said it hasn’t strained her and her father’s relationship.

“It’s weirder having the first time living at home after having lived away be also overlapped with taking his class for the first time,” Camp said. “But, it doesn’t make anything bad. I’ll be like, ‘Hey dad, when is that genogram due again?” and he’ll be like, ‘Look at the syllabus.’ So… we try to keep it separate.”

For Griffin, if any change has occurred in his relationship with his dad, it has been for the better.

“When I was at home for school, we would come up to OBU for events all the time and see [my dad] work,” Griffin said, “so I’ve always known the academic side of my dad and then also the at-home side of my dad.”

These two parts of his dad he said are the same man, just in different roles, and this consistency is inspiring to him.

“It’s cool to get to see the relaxed [Dad] where he’s still living with such high standards and such intentionality even when he’s at home and not even on the clock at OBU,” Griffin said. “That’s been a testament to seeing what a kind of man he is and seeing that I want to be that kind of person.”

The Perks

Directly resulting from Griffin’s respect for his father is one of his favorite aspect of having his dad on campus with him.

“I can’t even express how big of a blessing it is still to be under the watch and care of my dad,” Griffin said. “It puts a certain level of accountability on me to have to know that I don’t just carry my name here. I carry the Griffin name here at OBU, which is more than just me. If I do something disrespectful, that reflects not only me, that reflects my dad.”

For Mathews the perks are less idealistic and more practical. She can go flop down on her dad’s couch whenever she needs a nap. And for Camp, well no questions were off-limits as a kid, and none are now either.