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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Holiday Classics: fun for the family

Sitting in front of the blazing fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate, you find yourself gazing at the endless collection of Christmas movies wondering which one to watch. With all of the holiday films out there, no wonder it’s such a hard decision. But have you ever stopped to think that some of the best Christmas movies are the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Holiday Inn? Here are some favorite classic Christmas movies that are fun for the whole family to enjoy. The first one is none other than It’s a Wonderful Life. This film is classic American. It was directed by Frank Capra and stars Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. The movie is about George Bailey who wants something more than what’s in his hometown of Bedford Falls, but realizes that he’s got everything he needs right there. White Christmas , which stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. This movie brings to the screen great songs like Irving Berlin’s, “White Christmas” , “Love” and “Sisters.” The story is about two Army buddies who join forces to create a song-and-dance team. They pair up with a sister act, and naturally begin to fall in love. A fun movie for the entire family is Miracle on 34th Street starring Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Woods and Edmund Gwenn. This movie portrays the great Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year at the end of the parade, Santa Claus appears riding in his sleigh pulled by reindeer. This year though, Santa Claus is being played by Kris Kringle himself. The problem is this man thinks he’s actually Santa. Through all of the confusion, chaos and comedy, a decision is made about whether or not Kringle is actually Santa Claus. The decision is … well you’ll have to watch the movie and find out for yourself. Holiday Inn is another great Christmas musical and also stars Bing Crosby, who sings “White Christmas” which is where it was introduced. This story tells about a crooner who was betrayed by his good friend and is now ready to “retire” and start his own farm. He ends up turning his farmhouse into an inn that is open to the public only on special holidays. It proves to be a success. The movie also stars Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds. Another great classic movie is The Christmas Carol, but the right version. The best one is the 1984 version with George C. Scott. This film has been remade 56 times from animated to the Muppets. The most recent adaptation is the 2009 animated version starring Jim Carrey as the voice of...

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Gungor enlightens campus on worship
Nov16

Gungor enlightens campus on worship

A Bach cover may not be how you’d expect to hear Christian artist Michael Gungor open a show, but at the concert and conversation held Nov. 9, it seemed a perfectly appropriate fit for the intimate discussion about faith, doubt and taking risks with his music that followed. “The thing that I sense in Bach is just the transcendence .… It’s such a beautiful example of what music can do for the human heart. It’s very directly tied to worship for me,” Gungor said. The event was part of C3, an initiative started by Associate Professor and Music Department Chair Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey to promote discussion about the connection between faith and culture. “The whole intent is to create conversation using interesting people as catalysts,” he said. After Gungor played a couple of songs, he and Humphrey sat down to do just that, talking about everything from the questioning of fundamental beliefs, to what’s next for Gungor’s music. Through taking some risks with the Beautiful Things and Ghosts upon the Earth Gungor learned to let go of the traditional view of what it means to glorify God through music. “Whoever I am as an artist, as a creator, as a musician, maybe there’s something of God in that,” he said. “I can follow that to wherever it goes as an act of worship, even if that doesn’t fit into any kind of genre.” Though Gungor said he is still searching for what his future work will look like, he is drawing motivation from books he’s reading and the beauty of nature surrounding his Colorado home. “Everything that comes in is inspiration,” he said. “It all goes into the stew.” For Humphrey, one of the important aspects of the C3 conversations is to help hold a mirror up to the Christian community. “We rely on people to show us what we look like from the outside,” he said. During the discussion, Gungor spoke about the importance of pointing out issues in the Christian culture with righteous indignation instead of jaded cynicism. “The natural, easy way, with no love, is to laugh and make fun of it. The harder thing is to speak truth to it in love,” he said. Freshman biology major Victoria Fahy, who attended the event said she enjoyed listening to Gungor’s perspective issues.”My favorite part was hearing his point of view on things. He pointed out things about the Trinity and not being in a box, things I’d never thought about,” she said. “I was able to broaden my horizon.” One area where Fahy‘s views expanded was the meaning of worship. “It challenged me to look...

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Taylor too swift to change style?

Red like her trademark lips, Taylor Swift’s new album paints the world a shade the singer has never gone before. Whether it’s an inside scoop on her latest breakup, the catchy beats or dangerously personal lyrics, the singer hides nothing from her fans in her fourth album in six years, Red.   Over time, Swift’s sound has grown consistently more mainstream, straying from her original Nashville roots. The spunky, frizzy-haired kid has outgrown the banjos and ukuleles.   Instead, her current sound resembles Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson rather than the crooning cowgirl people fell in love with.   Even with the changes, Red’s debut sales soared on all the music charts. Whether people look forward to the pop star’s music or juicy details of her failed relationships, 1.2 million copies sold in one week.   Swift shared her appreciation for this outstanding start via Facebook, “How is this real life? You are unreal. I love you so much. Thanks a million,” followed by a winky face.   How can critics resist a winky face from the infamous damsel in distress? And is the new album merely musical gossip or a quality soundtrack?   The most overplayed track on the album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” features simplistic lyrics that make the tune catchy.   Taylor’s extreme disregard for basic rules of grammar might be worrisome, though.   “Huh, he calls me up and he’s like, I still love you. And I’m like, I’m just, I mean, this is exhausting. You know? We are never getting back together … like ever.”   This extremely successful and grammatically incorrect preview song released a month before the album and continues to run repeatedly on almost all radio waves.   “22” provides a chorus songwriters turn green with jealousy over.   The song features the opening lyric, “It feels like the perfect night to dress up like hipsters.” Thanks T-Swift, now all teenage girls know what to name their photo albums on Facebook.   Listeners wonder which fleeting boyfriend inspired Tay’s emotional ballot in “I Almost Do” and “Stay Stay Stay” is as memorable and repetitive as the title.   “Everything Has Changed” spotlights Swift’s harmonies with Ed Sheeran’s melody.   Teaming up with British songwriter Sheeran for this track was a match made in pop star heaven.   The song could be a minute or so shorter, but a good one nonetheless.   Taylor’s good girl image shines through her music.   For all the critics out there, it looks like you won’t be getting back together with the old Taylor Swift … like ever....

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Shelton wins in honor of brother

The 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards took the stage Thurs. Nov 1 as it brought about laughter and music from all of the greats including a special tribute to Willie Nelson. The CMA awards were hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. This dynamic duo, who are becoming quite comedic, have hosted the CMA’s five times before. For the 2012 CMAs, Underwood and Paisley started out by singing their own song to the tune of “Moves like Jagger.” The biggest surprise was when Paisley started doing Gangnam Style with Underwood joining in. The audience seemed surprised and amused when they performed the popular dance.. The show was taken away by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert as they swept the CMAs taking home four awards total. Shelton won two awards: one for male vocalist of the year and entertainer of the year. For his and Lambert’s new song, “Over You,” they both won song of the year. What made that moment so memorable was when Shelton told the story behind the song, which is performed by Lambert on her album “Four The Record.” It was written by the couple as a tribute to Shelton’s brother Richie, who died in a car accident. When he accepted the award, Shelton remembered his father who passed away early this year. “My dad always told me son, you should write a song about your brother,” Shelton said. “Tonight, even after he’s gone, he’s still right.” Lambert began to sob on stage as Shelton told the audience that he’d always wanted to write the song. He just needed someone to write it with, and the right person to sing it. He found that in her. Lambert also took home an award for female vocalist of the year. Other nominees included, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Martina McBride. Little Big Town won two awards. One for best vocal group of the year and the other, single of the year for the song, “Pontoon.” Other artists to receive awards were Thompson Square, who won vocal duo of the year. Hunter Hayes’, new artist of the year, Eric Church won album of the year for his album, Chief. What made the evening even more special was the tribute paid to Willie Nelson by stars such as Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and others singing his songs. The Country Music Association named its lifetime achievement award after Nelson, who was its first recipient. As always, the awards were an all-around enjoyable evening filled with music and laughter. TV audiences are anticipating next year’s...

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