Opera Cru blows house away
Oct16

Opera Cru blows house away

Putting on a live performance can be quite an endeavor, as the Opera Cru knows well. When the venue changed last minute and the microphones kept acting up, the group’s performance of The Three Little Pigs brought plenty of challenges. Junior vocal performance major Josiah Davis said that preparations for the children’s show began last spring. “We had gotten the music back at the end of last semester, and learned it throughout the summer,” he said. “As soon as we came back at the beginning of the semester, we started rehearsing it.” Davis plays the role of Wolfgang Bigbad in the show, a character similar to the ones he’s played before. The Three Little Pigs was scheduled to open the morning of Oct 12. Despite careful preparations, the cast and crew had to work hard to be ready for their first audience. Due to construction gone wrong in Hughes Hall, the debut risked delay. Opera Cru founder and director George Hogan explained the ensuing challenges. he said, “We missed two days —Tuesday and Wednesday — so we weren’t able to rehearse at all.” Thanks to a colleague, Hogan and the Opera Cru were able to move the performance to Shelton Theater at the last minute. “I’m really appreciative to Dr. Humphrey for spearheading us getting into here, or I don’t know that we would have been able to put it up. It would have caused a real back log,” he said. “I think also nurse Debbie (Rosenberger) and Dr. Bill Carrell were a part of moving stuff. I think nurse Debbie had an event in here this morning that she moved for us.” With the new location at hand, the cast members were able to focus on changing their blocking as well as moving set pieces. “Because we had to tackle the problem of the wolf blowing the houses down, we did PVC pipe frames for the houses and then curtain drapes with different colors,” Davis said. “When the wolf blows, (the actors) yank back the curtain… It’s a simple way of accomplishing what we want, and it will allow us to travel.” The preparation and efforts of the Opera Cru paid off. The opening performance had a full house, and, despite a few technological glitches, the first show was a success. Now that the cast and crew are equipped to face any future changes, they can focus on the audience, local school children. Sophomore vocal performance major Katrina Bernhard is on the stage crew. She helps with the set and has a cameo in the show. She enjoys seeing the children’s reactions and the genuine enjoyment they have...

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Mumford and Sons has fans, critics babbling about album
Oct16

Mumford and Sons has fans, critics babbling about album

By Zach Winfield Picking banjos, hammered out chords and powerful drum build-ups fill the newMumford and Sons album Babel as it hit the shelves with force Sept. 24. Within a week, the album had sold more than 631,000 copies, just short of Adele’s record sales. Mumford and Sons is an indie folk/rock band with roots from the streets of London. The band consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane. They originally hit the scene in 2007 in Europe and became mainstream in the U.S. in 2010 with their first album Sigh No More. Being a computer savvy person and a little cheap, I hopped on Grooveshark and added the entire album to my playlist and continued to work on homework as it played in the background. I quickly lost interest in my studies and just listened to the music. The first songs are upbeat and loud. “Babel,” “Whispers in the Dark” and “I Will Wait” ring in the new album. The songs are catchy. They are easy to get into as they roar through the speakers heavy with guitars, banjos, drums and the occasional brass instrument. The album slow downs as you approach the midpoint with “Ghost That We Knew.” The track is a slow ballad about a struggling relationship. This one and many others have slight spiritual undertones and can be interpreted anyway you want. That, after all is the point of music. “Reminder” is another slower song that seems to be about the loss of a loved one and how the connection never fades. It shows the compassion the band has for its music. The album is different from others by the band in that the majority was recorded live and truly showcases the talent of the musicians. The live recording adds a different texture to the music. “When you’re in a room with headphones and microphones and no one else, you play it quite differently to how you play it live.” Mumford said on the band’s website. The album shifts moods from loud and rocky to soft and subtle, but the tracks appear to tell a story, which is what the group intended. Mumford said it was meant to be a story “not necessarily one that has a plot, but one that you can listen from top to bottom and make sense.” The album does just that. The music is completely subjective, and it inivtes much interpretation from the listener. Babel is a great record, with fresh muic, and I would suggest it to anyone who likes folk, indie and rock music. It is a mixture of stylistic influences for those not...

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The Walking Dead brings TV to life
Oct16

The Walking Dead brings TV to life

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the survivors are back in the third season of The Walking Dead along with the flesh eating zombies and the unsightly image of rotting corpses. The AMC zombie drama returned Oct 14. Based on the comic book series with the same name, The Walking Dead tells the story of a group of survivors trying to live through the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. For those of you who need a reminder on what events took place last year, here’s a recap. The second season began with Rick and the survivors escaping the CDC. The group travels to Fort Benning and gets stuck on Interstate 85. Sophie (Madison Lintz), Carol’s (Melissa McBride’s) daughter is chased out into the woods and the survivors break out into search parties only to find out later she has turned into a zombie. The search for Sophie leads the group to finding refuge at a nearby barn unaware of the fact that walkers are being hidden in a nearby stable. Halfway through the season, Rick finds out that Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is pregnant with their second child. The twist is the baby could be either Rick’s or Shane’s (Jon Bernthal). Shane’s obsessive behavior toward Lori becomes out of control, forcing Rick to kill him during the penultimate episode of the series. Season two ends with viewers watching as Rick reveals to the survivors the secret Dr. Jenner told him toward the end of season one – all of the survivors are infected. Some new characters come into play this season including The Governor played by David Morrissey and Michonne played by Danai Guria. Season three picks up with Rick and the other survivors finally making it to the prison that was seen on the last episode of last season after jumping from house to house. The episode also establishes that Rick and Lori are barely on speaking terms. They decide to clear out the prison so Lori can have a safe place to have her baby. Andrea (Laurie Holden), who was presumed dead, is reintroduced to the storyline with newcomer Michonne who rescued her last season. The new episode didn’t spend too much time with them, but it is clear that they’ve developed a strong bond and have come to rely on each other. Andrea also seems to be suffering from some sort of ailment. The prison isn’t what it’s expected to be. The group gets attacked by walkers right off the bat and Hershel (Scott Wilson) ends up getting his leg amputated by Rick because of being bitten by a walker. The premier ends with Rick and the others...

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Central Texas Book Club to discuss a must-read biography

The English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, is hosting the UMHB Central Texas Book Club at 7 p.m. Nov. 6.. The selection is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Assistant Professor & English Department Chair Dr. Jacky Dumas said members of Sigma Tau Delta have enjoyed the book. “So far, the club has shown a great deal of interest. This book has been runner-up in our selection voting the two previous semesters. The club likes the book’s potential for interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty,” he said. The book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, better known as HeLa by scientists. Lacks was an African-American woman working as a tobacco farmer in the South during the early 20th century. In spite of the fact that many saw her as just a poor slave descendant, Lacks would become responsible for one of the most important medical revolutions: The immortal, or HeLa, cell line. This is the first continuously cultured human malignant line of cells. In short, these were the first human cells to live and reproduce outside the human body. Although many are unaware of the HeLa legacy, it has greatly benefited mankind by being used in cell research, and up until recently Lacks never received credit for her contributions. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks examines the life and times of Lacks, and it ponders perplexities such as why Lacks’ family was unaware of her contributions to science until more than 20 years after her death. Skloot’s book brilliantly exposes the truths that were unknown to many regarding the dark past of African-American experimentation. Following the reading of the book, a discussion will take place Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lord Conference Center in Parker. Assistant Professor of Sciences Dr. Joy Ahlgren-Beckendorf and Assistant Professor of Communication Vicky Kendig will lead the discussion. “I read the book two years ago,” Kendig said. “One of my former students gave me the book and said he liked the way Skloot, as a journalist, had put her storytelling skills to work. I’ll re-read it with an eye to the investigative reporting techniques and ethics and talk a bit about that at the discussion.” Dumas was fascinated by the book’s ability to reveal emotions from the reader. “I have been reading the book a little at a time for the past two weeks. I am almost done, and I find it very intriguing. I have experienced sadness and anger while reading this book,” he said. For those interested in reading the book and attending the discussion, copies are available at the UMHB bookstore and bookstores nationwide....

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Hillman Series showcases talent

The Hillman Visiting Artist series kicked off Sept. 27 at Hughes Hall. The Carpe Diem String Quartet took to the stage alongside world-class bandoneon player Raul Jaurena, who specializes in the genre of tango. The quartet and Jaurena played a rendition of works by Antonio Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla with a tango influence. The performance also included UMHB Assistant Professor Michelle Schumann who was the featured pianist of the recital. Schumann has been playing with Carpe Diem for five to six years and enjoyed seeing how the audience reacted to the upbeat presence they had on stage. “The Carpe Diem String quartet is very energetic when they perform. Classical music often gets an unfair reputation of being boring, so it’s really great when we can see world-class players up on stage who are super energetic. This quartet really brings a different kind of vibe to classical music,” she said. In 2007, Jaurena won a Latin Grammy for his album titled I Love Tango. Schumann got the chance to meet and work with him a few years ago prior to performing with him at the Hillman Series. “What I love about him as a player is that he plays with such overt expression. When he plays, you feel that he is telling you a story, and you’re completely sucked into the world that he is creating on his instrument. The sounds that he creates on the bandoneon are really beautiful, and listening to him can transport you to all of these amazing places,” she said. Sophomore finance major Kristina Liu is a fan of classical music. The concert was her first time hearing Jaurena and the Quartet perform together. “I thought it was fantastic. I liked the line-up. I like how they alternated the classical Four Seasons with the tango Four Seasons. I thought it was a really good way to arrange the program. I was very curious about the bandoneon player because I never experienced that before,” she said. Many students who may not be familiar with the classical music left Hughes Hall that night with a brand new outlook on the genre. Junior nursing major Chelsea Kosar, who attended the concert out of curiosity, said, “I actually had a good time tonight. I was surprised at how much fun I ended up having. Classical music isn’t something that I would normally listen to, but I found myself really getting into it as time went on.” Schumann was pleased with the outcome of the concert. She said, “If students are experiencing a concert like this for the first time, I’m hoping that whatever expectation they have for a “classical”...

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America’s Next Top Model lets students shine in the spotlight

Beauty and brains make a great package, so it’s no surprise that the producers of America’s Next Top Model went on a hunt to seek the country’s tallest and most educated talent. The women of America’s Next Top Model: College Edition have been chosen from different colleges and universities in the U.S., including Florida State, Louisiana State and even the University of Texas at Austin, to bring the most exotic and educated faces to the show. Each new season of America’s Next Top Model has brought women of all different walks of life together to compete for one spot. This season, women from different universities and colleges are setting their books to the side and trading them in for heels. The women are bringing their fierce competiveness in order to claim the title of America’s Next Top Model in addition to a modeling contract with L.A. Models. The producers have also added a little diversity into the show by selecting supermodel/boxer Rob Evans as a judge, actor/comedian Tyler Perry and R&B singer Alicia Keys as guest judges. But they won’t be the only ones weighing their opinion in this season. To include the viewers, some fans’ comments posted to the show’s social media sites will be read back to the women by Bryanboy, a top fashion blogger. With all of the new enhancements to the show, viewers are in for another season of fashion-filled madness. Leila Goldkuhl, a contestant who fans considered a front-runner but was eliminated, spoke with Reality Wanted about how her life has changed since the show. “It’s actually not all that different,” she said. “There are people who recognize me. Word gets around a little bit, but for the most part, I tend to just float under the radar, focus on my studies and definitely modeling.” In addition to high heels and fashion, ANTM can get a little catty as well. This is something that fans definitely seem to be drawn to. “The drama should be as high as the fashion, and I’m excited to see if the challenges the girls will face in ANTM cycle 19 will be amped up,” wrote an excited fan on Gabblemouth about the upcoming season. Fans seem to be pumped about all that’s to come of the college edition season. “I am more than looking forward to the new season of ANTM,” said a fan on the show’s Facebook page. If you are a fan and want to weigh in your opinion for each episode log onto http://www.facebook.com/ANTM, and your comment just might be aired. For those who are dying to find out what this 19th season is all...

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