Crusaders band together, release new project

It is impossible to decide on a band’s genre when the members’ inspirations range from Devil Wears Prada to Copeland; from Circa Survive to Blink. Local band Embrace the Distance has blended these sounds into its own unique mix, which will be displayed in its first full album titled Distractions. “We’re completely different musicians. We all have completely different inspirations,” sophomore information systems major and bass player Reagan Beard said. “When we first got together, we actually kind of clashed a lot, but we ended up making it work and figuring out how those different sounds would go together.” The group spent three weeks recording in Katy, Texas, the hometown of sophomore Christian studies major and guitarist Tyler Hulbert. In the studio, they perfected 11 original songs for the album, which will be released Nov. 16. “Over last Christmas break, I recorded one song that I wrote just for the heck of it, and that really brought to light the passion I had for writing,” Hulbert said. “It was really cool to an extent on my own, but there is so much of a difference in writing music and recording with other people.” Hulbert, Beard and sophomore marketing major and guitarist Ryan White started Embrace the Distance in March. This year they are roommates; living together has helped bring them closer as friends and musicians. “The special thing is we can walk into the living room with a guitar or a vocal idea and just start writing right there,” White said. “Living with these guys, you get to know things about them. Whether it’s verbal or not verbal, you figure out how they work.” Soon after the band formed, the original trio added sophomore history major Matt Boden at drums. Three weeks later they performed five original songs at their first show in Round Rock, Texas. “I’m primarily a guitar player,” Boden said. “All they had heard was guitar but they asked me to be the drummer in their band. We jammed some ,and the chemistry worked really well.” Striking a balance between schoolwork and extracurricular activities is a challenge to any student. Embrace the Distance members have struggled to find time for their music this year. “We could have been playing a ton of more shows this semester but me being a cheerleader, I have to cheer at football games, and the majority of our games are away this year,” White said. “Next semester we’re looking forward to playing more shows and doing a lot more stuff with the band.” Although they cannot place their musical sound in a certain genre, they think they have found a unique...

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Lacrosse club earns spot in LSA
Oct16

Lacrosse club earns spot in LSA

It started out last year as a long shot. Trying to find enough athletes to field a team for a sport that most Texans have never heard of seemed an impossible task. However, the long shot scored, and now the club lacrosse team is a member of a college league. UMHB lacrosse was admitted to the Lone Star Alliance Lacrosse League recently. The Crusaders will be part of the LSA’s Division II, which consists of nine other teams in the Texas/Louisiana/Oklahoma area. “Being in the league, it’s going be a lot more exciting, a lot more competitive, and (take) real drive to actually compete and win,” junior marketing major Alfredo Rojas said. “Hopefully, it will be a better experience overall for the team. It’s a good way to get organized.” The LSA lacrosse season will start Jan. 26. Games will take place on four different weekends with two games played each weekend. Cru lacrosse’s competition last year was limited to scrimmages because they were not affiliated with any league. Now players will be able to have a set schedule with chances at playoffs through the LSA. “It’s going to help the school overall because it gets our name out there more,” junior business major and president Rowdy Gillis said. Last year the club was founded as a school organization, scheduling seven games last year and finishing the year with two victories. “Last year was kind of chaotic and unorganized,” Rojas said. “I’m looking to get a real team with some real wins on the schedule.” Despite some bumps along the road, lacrosse is back for another season. With Gillis as new president leading the charge, the club hopes to build its success. “Last year was in disarray,” Gillis said. “We didn’t have real organized practices. We’re going to be more organized this year. We’re going to approach this professionally.” The club is run by the players. Members of the LSA were impressed by the team who often fielded a team of around 10 players last season, the minimum number necessary. “Last year, even with the odds against us, we still stepped on the field to compete,” Gillis said. LSA members applauded the effort shown by the Cru. They have already started practices, but team members are busy searching for new players to join their team. They say that no experience is required to join. “I saw a sign for it (lacrosse) in Hardy and ignored it,” freshman exercise sports science major Ryan Ramirez said. “Then my friend Josh told me I should try it out.” Gillis hopes that with the added exposure through the LSA, more high school lacrosse...

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Student stars in musical production

She had never seen a West Side Story production before. She had not even read the book. However, that did not stop sophomore vocal performance major Katrina Bern-hard from landing the lead female role of Maria in a Killeen West Side Story musical that ran from Sept. 28 to Oct. 14. Bernhard showed up for the second day of auditions in August after hearing about the opportunity from assistant Professor of music George Hogan. Despite arriving late and having to prepare last minute, Bernhard was called back for a second audition where she was awarded the role of Maria. “Google maps took me on some back road, so I got lost and was 30 minutes late,” she said. “I had to learn the choreography last minute, and I had never even seen West Side Story. I just showed up and sang.” At auditions, Bernhard was asked which character she would like to play. Someone suggested Maria, and she followed the advice. “I didn’t know who to audition for, so I asked someone ‘Hey what character should I play?’ They said I’d make a good Maria, who happens to be the lead of the show.” Balancing rehearsal for West Side Story with Opera Cru and school work has been a big challenge for Bernhard. Lack of sleep and stress were prices she did not mind paying because of the benefits the production brought her. “I’m working with people I’m not used to working with,” Bernhard said. “It’s been a big growing opportunity for me and a learning opportunity.” Bernhard and the rest of the West Side Story cast just finished their third weekend of performances this past Sunday. The show and performance was hosted by Vive Les Arts Theater in Killeen. Bernhard was not the only Crusader to participate in the musical. Play Director Joe Reynolds was glad to have freshmen vocal performance majors Chaz Corder and Clinton Barrineau as members of the cast along with several professors who were also part of the production. “It’s been wonderful,” Reynolds said. “They’re extremely talented, so we had some great singers in our show to complement some of our local actors here.” Corder faced many of the same difficulties that Bernhard did in balancing the play with school. “The experience was really humbling,” he said. “I got to work with some really great people and some people who I wasn’t necessarily used to.” Crowd feedback to the performance was positive. The cast and crew received much applause along with a standing ovation to end the night. Senior church music major Cameron Roucloux was impressed by the musical. “It was very entertaining and...

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Stekler uses film to explain politics
Oct02

Stekler uses film to explain politics

A 7-year-old boy stood on the side of the street and asked passers-by if they would vote for Nixon or Kennedy in the presidential election and recorded the results in a notebook. Years later, Dr. Paul Stekler is still sharing his enthusiasm for politics. The university partnered with the Salado Institute for the Humanities. “Reel Elections: Politics on Film,” was the lecture by Stekler, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and political scholar. The presentation took place in the Mayborn Campus Center Sept. 27. “I try to make films which make both sides understandable,” Stekler said. “We don’t listen to the other side. My job as a political documentarian is to try to figure out how to cut through this.” Stekler mixed stories with extended clips from several of his films to help the audience understand not only politics, but what politicians have to go through as well. His films relate the political process to viewers in a non-biased way. “I’m trying to introduce you to the actual process,” Stekler said. “What I’m trying to do as a filmmaker is humanize the process.” Stekler found political filmmaking an outlet for his admitted obsession with politics. He believes that a candidate’s life story plays a crucial part in their election; and films allow him to tell politicians’ stories. “I love making films, and I thought that was much better in terms of telling stories about candidates,” Stekler said, “so that even if I disagree with someone politically, I understand them as a human being.” As a storyteller, Stekler said his job is not to choose sides, but to reach as many people as possible. With his films, he tries to break the political barriers that have grown over time between Democrats and Republicans. “The conundrum of our political system is that sometimes good and bad exist at the same time,” Stekler said. “And I think that we tend to in our politics today demonize the opposition when the opposition and yourself both have a lot of black and white.” Throughout Stekler’s 30 years of filmmaking, his movies have won many awards, including two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Journalism awards and three Emmy awards. Stekler is a professor at the University of Texas and is chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. This latest presentation was the fourth collaboration between the university and the Institute for the Humanities at Salado. “We’ve had a long association a happy association with UMHB,” Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Salado, Sara Mackie Shull, said. “We really care a lot about having...

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Intramurals: friendship, rec, rivalry
Oct02

Intramurals: friendship, rec, rivalry

The university kicked off its intramural and campus recreation season with the start of flag football Sept. 10. Spectators crowded the sidelines as they cheered for their favorite teams such as Super Heroes in Training, The Fighting Pickles and reigning champions Young and Reckless. Fifteen teams are competing in the co-rec division this year, and three make up the men’s division. While some are preparing for playoffs in October, others view game days as a time to enjoy the college community. “Last year I was so involved I didn’t really have a chance to do intramurals,” sophomore international business major Jonathan Kendall said. “This year I want to use intramurals as a way to have community with other people.” Friendships as well as rivalries are forged through flag football. Students often start a team with their friends, or students join a team to create friendships. “It’s definitely a way to meet new people because you see people not only that are freshmen but also people that live in apartments and off campus,” junior nursing major Paige Hill said. “So you get to meet people from senior to freshman class.” Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver urges students to become involved in intramurals and campus rec events to stay active. She is also excited about using the new Rec Plex area for different events. “The UMHB administration has been really supportive in providing really nice rec facilities,” Weaver said. “So we all need to make sure we take advantage of them.” This year intramural and rec has gone online, using the imleagues.com interface. Students must create an online account to participate in any intramural or campus rec event. They can also use imleagues.com to find a team to play on or to find players to add to their current team. Spike-Fest took place Sept. 21. The four-on-four beach volleyball tournament was held at the new Rec Plex. The atmosphere was electric with music, snacks, fun and intense competition. “Spike-Fest is the perfect event for friends to come together for a common purpose and just have fun being out there with the UMHB community,” Weaver said. “It’s like a family reunion where everybody participates in the game just to be a part of the fun.” Spike-Fest took advantage of the additional beach volleyball court at the Rec Plex by fielding 26 teams. Campus Activities Board provided watermelon, other snacks and water. A prize also went to team Panda Power for the most creative uniforms. After five hours of fierce competition, Team Falcon Punch took home the championship after winning six matches. Freshman nursing major and member of the winning team Greg...

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