Animation hits summer cinema
Aug27

Animation hits summer cinema

Summer blockbusters have become a big part of American culture. This year was no exception, as moviegoers of all ages had a wide variety of options to whet their cinematic appetite. What this year lacked in drama, it made up for in animated classics. America’s favorite villain-turned-hero, Gru, returned to theatres in Despicable Me 2. This time, instead of pulling off the world’s most impressive heists, Gru is on the other side, tasked with hunting down and stopping an evil criminal who intends to take over the world. The movie delivers everything that fans of its predecessor could possibly want: an engaging story, plenty of action and those hilarious yellow minions. Another animated sequel has excelled at the box office. Monsters University goes back in time from the 2001 film Monsters Inc. to the college years of Mike and Sulley. The movie shows that the relationship between the two friends hasn’t always been so strong, as both have dreams of becoming the world’s best scarer, and a rivalry soon ensues. The two are forced to rely on each other in order  to accomplish their dreams, and a life-long friendship begins. The film does a great job of giving viewers a look into the past and revealing the unusual path that leads to the bond between the two besties. The top-grossing movie of 2013 to date has been Iron Man 3. The post-Avengers world of Tony Stark can be described as shaky at best as he faces the fear that he might not be as invincible as he thought. With the help of a young fan, Stark is able to outwit his opponents and once again save the world from imminent doom. Robert Downey Jr. offers the audience a side that hasn’t yet been seen of his character as he must work to overcome a lack of confidence for the first time in his life. The film offers viewers all the action and a dramatic conclusion they’ve come to expect from the...

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Music state championship brings high school students and their instruments to campus
Apr17

Music state championship brings high school students and their instruments to campus

The campus was alive with the sound of music as students from across the state flocked to Belton to compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state competition for solos and ensembles April 12-13. Voice events were held at First Baptist Church in Belton while all instrumentals took place at UMHB. Audiences were allowed inside of Presser, Shelton Theater, Mayborn campus center and FBC’s sanctuary to listen to the students’ music. Awty International School of Houston teacher Sina Thompson talked about the determination that students show in preparation for the contest. “They’ve worked so hard to get here,” Thompson said. “They compete in other events besides this one.… I’m really, really proud of them.” She also talked about the growing popularity and strength of the music program at her school. In years past, Awty has not been known necessarily as a strong music school. “I heard a couple of the kids on the bus today. One said ‘why are we going to this?’ and the other said ‘because we’re good,’” Thompson said. “And so they’re proud of their work, and it motivates them to keep going.” Sprawled across the quad and filling the SUB were students with trumpets, saxophones, violins, cellos,  guitars, basses, drums and more. String quartets could be seen practicing under the shade of trees, drum lines seated under a large tent kept a perpetual beat and duets and trios alike found isolated corners to practice. In short, a beautiful cacophony of sound flooded the campus. TAPPS State Music Director Vena Williams orchestrated the event in coordination with the university. She hoped a critical review of students’ performances would help them improve their talents. “The God-given talents of the students are challenged to meet a standard … (so) we can measure their progress,” Williams said. “We want our students to develop their talent into the best they can be. The students and directors leave the event with information concerning what they can do to improve their skills.” Members of Kappa Kappa Psi served as volunteers to help run the event. “We have people stationed everywhere around campus to help various events that are going down,” sophomore church music major and group parliamentarian Lantz Crosthwait said. Williams praised the work the university did to help the contest go smoothly. She said, “UMHB faculty and staff and FBC staff put forth a tremendous effort for our organization and our students. The remarkable work done by the UMHB team makes this State event...

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End It Week shows support

Students from the Freedom Movement on campus organized End It Week to help raise awareness about human trafficking in the United States. The organization hosted several events throughout the week, including a screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a powerful documentary that exposes the alarming trends in modern sex slavery. From the very first scene, Nefarious draw viewers into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands experience daily. Junior elementary education major Ellen Logan is a member of the Freedom Movement on campus, and the viewing was her first time to see the documentary. “My heart was broken even more than before for these people. Even though I’ve heard so much of it, hearing it from people who experienced it, made it that much more real. I want to do more,”  she said. Seeing the film encouraged Logan to find new ways to become involved in the fight against slavery. “I have to do more. I can’t sit still any longer. I love bringing awareness, but that’s not enough for me anymore. You need to do more,” Logan said. Sophomore business management major Nathan Gilmore is the president of the Cru Freedom Movement on campus. The organization plans to help bring an end to trafficking in the coming year. “We will be teaming up with Unbound and Restore a Voice ministries this next fall to provide on-the-ground mission opportunities for college students to serve. We are excited about transitioning from a year of learning about this injustice to a year of getting our hands dirty and serving our local community,” Gilmore said. Other events that occurred during the week included a worship night, a panel of speakers and taking over Focus on Wednesday. “I think one of the biggest responses was everyone just wanting to do more than just raise awareness. Lots of students felt very much more informed. God definitely wrecked a lot of hearts Thursday night. Definitely a lot of bleeding hearts out there now to give these people the hope of Christ and help bring them out of this evil,” Logan said. Students are encouraged to go to enditmovement.com to sign the pledge to help end human trafficking. Gilmore said, “This campus absolutely embraced The Freedom Movement and showed us that they have a heart and conviction to help stop human...

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Paramore reloads with new album

After countless jabs and jeers, Paramore emerged from the cloud of nasty remarks with two fewer members and a promise of returning to their former glory. Josh and Zac Farro left the band three years ago, and lead singer Haley Williams vocalized her struggle to recover from the break-up via social media. But Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis come out swinging with their new album, which hit shelves April 9. The self-titled work features 17 tracks, which seem a bit much, but the fact the band waited so long to name something after themselves really speaks for itself. This collection of songs shows the talent of each member, rather than appealing to the market like previous successful singles have done. The best example of the trio’s new outlook on life can be found in the musicality of “Ain’t it Fun.” This song sounds more like one Justin Timberlake would sing. Instead, Williams delivers a perfect performance. The jazzy intro develops into a chorus the three rockers pull off flawlessly. Then, gospel-style claps and choir music interludes completely puzzle listeners. A lot like her fiery red bangs, not everyone could handle this odd assortment of styles, but it seems perfectly fitting for Williams. “Fast in My Car” features Williams’ sassy lyrical delivery that makes the simple song work for both new and old fans of the group. A future summer hit, perhaps? Undoubtedly, the band has matured over the years even with the loss of two members. “Grow Up” speaks to that process when Williams sings, “Some of us have to grow up sometimes, but I might have to leave you alone. But we get along for the most part.” While there will be plenty of head-banging to come, many things have changed for the young musicians, and the result is a terrific composition. One catchy track stands out for the younger audience the band has attracted. “Daydreaming” hits emotional highs and lows with the punk-rock sound fans have been missing for years. Famous for their “Decode” on the original Twilight soundtrack, “Proof” resembles it with honest lyrics and a drum beat that propels the song. Naturally, a lengthy album like this leaves room for a ballad or two. The band performed “Hate to See Your Heart Break” live on BBC radio before the album’s release. Fans immediately responded with positive feedback and vowed that Paramore will “always be (their) favorite.” Indeed, Williams shows off her vocals, hitting honest low notes and also entering her famous high range in this song. The album as a whole explores places the band has never gone before, while still staying true to...

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Third Day concludes,  highlights C3
Apr17

Third Day concludes, highlights C3

If it felt like the heart of Texas was beating a little harder than usual, that was because renowned Christian band Third Day rocked the foundations of the Bell County Expo Center after making an appearance at Hughes Hall. Their visit April 7 closed out music department Chair, Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey’s, 2013 C3 series. The purpose of which he said is to “talk about the arts and faith and how those things collide.” Scheduling conflicts and a calendar full of nationwide bookings for the group were no match for Humphrey’s dogged persistence, which is to thank for the last-minute arrangement. Considering the event coincided with The Cru men’s basketball team’s biggest game ever, he was pleased with the turnout. “The fact that Third Day was on campus … even the fact that it happened at the same time as the national championship was cool because it was kind of like, ‘hey, UMHB … there’s things happening,’” Humphrey said. Even though the band was working under a time crunch, Humphrey thinks he was able to have an insightful dialogue with its members despite not spending time with them prior to the interview. Humphrey said, “In general, the more famous the band, the harder it is to create a meaningful conversation … but I think we got in some good time.” Third Day’s newest album and tour are called Miracle after the title track. The goal of this collection of inspirational music is to uplift and encourage listeners and let them know that good things can still take place in their lives. Frontman Mac Powell said, “The thing that we have to remember is that miracles still do happen, and God, I believe, is still in the business of miracles…. He wants us to be miracles in somebody else’s life.” The concert that followed later in the evening was opened by fellow Christian recording artists Josh Wilson and Colton Dixon. They both gave inspiring performances and had large fan bases present. However, when Third Day took the stage, the crowd erupted with a contagious energy that hung thick in the air for the remainder of the night. Third Day fans responded enthusiastically to the new music from Miracle, but they came unglued when the band began to play a few of its older, recognizable classics like “Cry Out to Jesus,” “I Believe” and “Born Again.” At the end of the concert, the audience began to shout and applaud wildly for several minutes in anticipation of an encore until the group came back out and played several more songs to conclude the...

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I Still Believe: a singer’s written journey

Christian contemporary musician, Jeremy Camp, is famous for his songs “Beautiful One,” “Walk by Faith,” “Healing Hand of God,” and “Over come,” just to name a few. Many familiar with Camp’s music do not know that he wrote a book called, I Still Believe. The title comes from his popular song by the same name. This biography tells about Jeremy’s childhood, his college days, his love for his first wife, Melissa, and the tragedy that occurred after their marriage. Ultimately, though, the story is described in the foreword  by best-selling author Karen Kingsbury in the foreword, “We have choices when life hits us with a tsunami of tragedy or despair, crisis or loss. That’s the message of Camp’s book, and it’s the reason you will find hope and healing by journeying through the pages of his story, his personal      tsunami.” Camp grew up in Indiana and didn’t have an easy life as a boy and a teenager. He married his college sweetheart, Melissa, on Oct. 21, 2000.   She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died Feb. 5, 2001. Some of Camp’s earlier songs reflect the pain and confusion he was going through after Melissa’s death. The first song he wrote after her death was, “I Still Believe.” Camp wrote “Walk by Faith” while he and Melissa were on their honeymoon. God has brought a sense of peace back into Camp’s life.     He is now married to Adrienne and has two daughters, Isabella and Arianne. Camp is open about what he went through. Readers are grateful his testimony is now available to be read in book form. If you or someone you know has ever been through a personal tragedy, this is definitely a good book choice. Camp experienced God’s grace in an amazing way. His personal story gives us a glimpse at what we desire in our lives — God’s surpassing comfort for...

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