Music department to spread Christmas cheer

The holidays are quickly approaching and students can literally hear the sound of sleigh bells ringing and the scent of pumpkin pie wafting in the air. However, the university has one more music event planned before letting students go for Christmas break. Associate Professor and music department chair Dr. Mark Humphrey will conduct a Christmas music program in chapel Nov. 28. The event will give students the chance to gather as a student body as a whole one last time before heading back home over the holidays. “It’s really an opportunity for us to come together as a community and sing some carols. Most of us go our separate ways by the time Christmas is really here, but this is an opportunity for us to kick off our Christmas season as a UMHB community,” Humphrey said. “We don’t just come together as a learning community, and not even just as a Christian community. We come together as a community of people, and just to live together. One of the ways that we do that is to celebrate the holidays together.” The program will consist of student musicians who include the wind ensemble, the jazz band and One Voice. Each group will perform at different times throughout the chapel. The jazz ensemble is set to do an arrangement of “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” while the wind ensemble will be playing along to “Greensleeve.” Not only does Assistant Professor and athletic bands director Nils Landsberg want to bring the Christmas spirit to Chapel, but he wants to showcase the music department’s talent to the campus community. “It’s an opportunity for ensembles to connect with a larger portion of the student body than we typically do in standard concert performances. Just to expose the campus to what we have here musically is a great opportunity for us,” he said. One Voice will perform “Carol of the Bells” and “In the First Light.” They will also sing along to a medley the band is playing from Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival, which features eight traditional Christmas carols. Assistant Professor and choral director Matthew Crosby is excited for the opportunity to work with his fellow musicians. He’s also glad he’ll be able to give other students the chance to remember and honor Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection through song. “It’s solely the collaboration being involved with different ensembles. It’s a quality concert, but also worship experience with the students. It’s just kind of being involved in the larger campus, but also within the music building. Sometimes we don’t get to interact as ensembles, so that’s fun,” he said. The Christmas music played will...

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Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters as it surprises fans
Dec06

Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters as it surprises fans

The end is finally here. The final chapter to the Twilight Saga that Twihard fans all over the world have been waiting a year to see has hit theaters. The film picked up right where it left off with Bella (Kristen Stewart) waking up from her vampiric slumber after having Edward (Robert Pattinson) save her life with a “vampire’s kiss” just moments before dying during childbirth. Bella begins to test her powers and readjusts to her new role as a mother and vampire. While Bella is out with Renesemee (Mackenzie Foy) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner), Irina from the Denali coven (Maggie Grace) spots the young girl floating in the air catching snowflakes and mistakes her for an Immortal Child. She reports her findings to the Volturi. Because of the false accusation, the Volturi set out to destroy the Cullens once and for all. The Cullens separate and travel to different regions to bring together an army of their own. Out of all the Twilight films, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the best one. Although, for a franchise that has made millions of dollars, the CGI effects were amateur. If not all, most of the scenes containing CGI were truly awful, especially when it comes to viewing Renesemee as a baby. At times, it felt out of place and distracted from the story plot itself. Admittedly, the first half of the film does seem to drag on. The audience gets to witness how awesome Bella thinks her new vampire life is, the rapid growth of Renesemee and of course, there is even more of the cheesy, romantic mush going on between Bella and Edward. Twilight fans shouldn’t be discouraged by how slow the beginning of the film is. Without giving anything away, the final battle seen is exciting to watch, and filled with jaw dropping moments. The last 20 minutes of the movie are the best. The ending has a “shocking” plot twist, which leaves the audience wondering whether or not this is really the end of the Twilight Saga. On a side note, Stewart’s acting has improved throughout the franchise. Gone were her awkward facial expressions and uncomfortable stances. Breaking Dawn Part 2 narrowly escaped an R rating instead receiving PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and some sensuality. The film is guaranteed to be a box office hit, but if you’re not a fan of the saga, you won’t be converted overnight. Will the ending satisfy Twihards who have been waiting for the conclusion? Maybe. All of the loose ends from the previous films were tied up, and it concluded with a bang.But the fate of the film lies...

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New online housing process debuts for spring placement

Gone are the days of standing in long lines or waking up at 5 a.m. in order to secure living accommodations. There’s a new housing program in town, and it’s set out to make the process much easier for both students and the residence life department. Applications manager Robin Schilling explains how and why the method for choosing housing changed. “The current manual housing process was getting to be a very long and difficult process. We had tried last year to create a process in house for room selection, but that had its own set of problems,” she said. After looking at different outside vendors, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Donna Plank decided on StarRez, a software program used by universities, such as Texas Christian University and Boston College. With the help of the new web-based application, the housing process will now be done in steps, not only making it easier for students, but also cutting back on server issues experienced last semester. Schilling said, “The reason for the multiple step approach is to better understand the needs of the student. The first step is to get an idea of any changes the student wants to make. Those that want to make a change will then be assigned a time to complete the room selection process. Students will avoid waiting in long lines hoping their room is available.” The first step began Nov. 1. Students had four days to pick their housing for the spring semester, choose a roommate if they didn’t have one and verify that person. This step could be done at any time of their convenience. To prevent traffic, only 75 students were allowed onto the website at the same time. So far, students are having a good feeling about the new procedure. Sophomore finance major Kristina Liu said, “It seems easier to use than last year’s setup. When I was doing the first step, I didn’t have any problems at all. It was quick and easy. I think it would be helpful if you are just going to find a random roommate, but the specific room selection option seems the most useful.” Step 2 began today. Priority numbers and time slots were sent via email Nov 9, and instructions went out yesterday. Plank wants to assure students a repeat of last semester’s mishaps won’t take place this time. “It’s not like the first-come, first-serve thing that we did. When we opened the door, we opened it to 500-600 people, and sure enough 500-600 people sat down at 5 in the morning all at the same moment, and all of them tried...

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ASTRA club encourages volunteer work

If you’re looking to help wrap Christmas gifts for children who might not get to experience the joy of this holiday season, or make sandwiches for the Salvation Army, the newly chartered ASTRA club might be for you. ASTRA is an acronym for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility and Achievement. The club is for people who are interested in doing community service projects around the local area. Along with a book drive for Maggie Lee For Good Day, ASTRA has participated in other interesting service events. Vice president, junior business management major Hannah Gardenhire, said, “We joined up with Altrusa, which is a sister club. It’s kind of the backbone for ASTRA. They were doing a Feed My Sheep (project) for the Salvation Army, and they needed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So, we got together and made over 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and those were donated to the Salvation Army.” Other planned events range from a Nov. 17 Belton Dam trash cleanup to assisting with the Angel Tree Program. Campus adviser Traci Squarcette is an active member of Altrusa of Temple. She also sponsors the ASTRA club and acts as a mentor-liaison between both clubs. Squarcette said students can learn much about working together through group involvement toward helping the community. Any currently enrolled UMHB student under the age of 25 can become a member of the club, and membership is free. Junior business administration major Joanna Leath is president of the organization. She hopes students will be more responsive to the needs of society. “Through community service, they can know how to be better members of the community. They’ll have awareness of problems that are going around in their community that they can help out with, whether it just be donating books or meeting a need,” she said. During the spring semester, the organization will mentor children between the ages of 12 to 17 for the new youth ASTRA club that is going to be chartered through the Conservatory Program on campus. Gardenhire thinks the selfless acts ASTRA is involved in will benefit future members of the club. She said, “I think sometimes, especially when you’re in college, you focus a lot on your studies and yourself. I think ASTRA is really trying to push that, through our club, you can learn leadership skills.” ASTRA meetings are held every other Thursday in the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts Lecture Hall from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Joanna Leath at jcleath@mail.umhb.edu, or visit the club’s official ASTRA group Facebook...

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Daughter of chapel speaker inspires students to do good deeds for those around them

July 12, 2009, was a devastating day for parents John and Jinny Henson. Maggie Lee, their 12-year-old was killed three weeks after mechanical difficulties caused a bus carrying the youth group the young girl was involved in to overturn. After Maggie Lee’s untimely death, her parents wrote a book titled Maggie Lee For Good, which portrays their daughter’s never-ending trust in the Lord. In honor of the astounding young girl’s faith, Oct. 29 is now known as Maggie Lee for Good Day. Yesterday was the first time UMHB has participated in the worldwide effort to do a good deed. Assistant Director of student organizations and adviser for First Year Council Katy Bumpus oversaw a canned food drive that was held on campus. The collection was for Helping Hands Ministry of Belton. Bumpus sees this as an opportunity for students to get together and participate in things they wouldn’t normally do without the guidance of others. “Maggie Lee’s story was very moving in chapel, and I believe it challenges us to think about doing good deeds for people without expecting things in return. From the sounds of it, Maggie Lee had a great impact on the lives of people she came in contact with, so this challenges us to have the same impact with those we come in contact with daily,” Bumpus said. Other activities held in conjunction around campus included a book drive sponsored by the ASTRA club. Assorted books were collected for local charities Churches Touching Lives for Christ, Families in Crisis and the Ronald McDonald House. Bumpus said, “I feel this gives students the opportunity to make a difference for someone they come in contact with on this day. This is a great way for students to think about others and make someone’s day brighter just by doing something nice for them.” Even though Maggie Lee for Good Day has passed, sophomore psychology major Danielle Manzella, along with her soccer teammates has decided to take this opportunity one step further. “I used to cheer at the Powerhouse, and I’m still good friends with the coaches. The coaches were talking about a lady who has cancer, and her family doesn’t have health insurance, so for every 1,000th plastic bottle cap, her hospital is giving her a free session of chemotherapy so I (along with the soccer team) started collecting bottle caps,” she said. So far, Manzella has collected approximately 300 bottle caps. The fundraising hasn’t gotten much exposure on campus yet, but the other soccer players have been more than willing to help out with the cause. “A lot of the girls have brought me bags and bags...

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