Get some sun and earn class credit with paddle boarding
Feb25

Get some sun and earn class credit with paddle boarding

THE BELLS — As spring break approaches, so does the thought that the semester is halfway over, steering minds to  summer. Some students think about the relaxing three-month break they will have, while others stress over the credits they still need to register for to take during the summer. Of course, students can take classes on campus, but why stay in Belton to take courses when one can take the same course in a more vacation-like place? The university will be taking 10 students to South Padre Island to enjoy a little bit of fishing and paddle boarding in the sea while receiving two hours of P.E. credit that all students need. The trip is conveniently placed the Sunday after graduation and will be back the Wednesday after, just in time for students to get back who are planning to take the first May mini-mester. The van will leave at 5 a.m. to embark on the journey, and they expect to arrive on the island around noon. Then the students will start their first paddle boarding adventure on the coast of South Padre. Not just any student can go, though. Students will have to show they are good swimmers and prove they can carry a paddle board. They also  have to have a physical before going on this four-day trip. Dr. Jamey Plunk, a professor in the exercise and sport science department, will host the trip and instruct both fishing and paddle boarding. “This is the first year that we have actually had this class. It works out really, really well for most students because it starts the day after graduation and ends the day before the mini-mester starts,” Plunk said. “It’s a pretty intense four days because you’re having to knock out two hours.” He also made it known that the classes will be listed as a spring class so that students can use financial aid from this year to go toward the trip. Junior nursing major Chaley Shiffler saw the advertisement on MyCampus, which sparked her interest in the trip. “I’m most excited to learn how to fish and paddle board for the first time,” Shiffler said. “I’ve also never been to the Padre Islands, so that’ll be a first as well.” The 10 students will wake up at around 5 a.m. every day to fish off the coast. After a few hours, the students will go back to the condos to eat lunch and get ready to paddle board for the rest of the afternoon in calm and rougher waters. Once done with that at around 8:30 at night, students will prepare to spend the rest...

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Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice
Feb25

Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice

THE BELLS — Two years ago, 21-year-old Baylor student Holly Tucker auditioned for the TV show, The Voice, in Dallas, persuading each of the four coaches to turn around (indicating they wanted her on their team) while she sang. Tucker chose Blake Shelton as her coach, headed to California and eventually placed in the show’s final six. Tucker took the stage Feb. 12 for chapel before a crowd of Crusaders. She flaunted black, glittery cowboy boots, which she explained were mailed to her by a supportive fan to wear on the show. She said was “excited to do a gig for people her own age.” Sophomore marketing major Jessica Pitcaithly said the word passion best describes Tucker. “Not only does she work hard towards her music, she is a Christian, and it is very inspiring,” Pitcaithly said. Pitcaithly shares Tucker’s love for music and hopes to achieve songwriting success of her own one day. “I definitely feel like I can relate to Holly Tucker. She’s in school like me, and I’m also an aspiring musician in the song writing department,” Pitcaithly said. Tucker, a junior double speech communication and Spanish major, sang many well-known country songs, some of which she competed with on The Voice. Accompanied by her guitarist, she belted out Sugarland’s hit, “Settling.” The captivated audience’s response encouraged her to speak about herself and her story in between songs. Just days before one round of competition on The Voice, a vicious tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., devastating the town and calling for help and support from the rest of the country. Even though the potential for sizeable backlash was likely, Shelton and Tucker decided to use Tucker’s opening performance as an opportunity for prayer. She performed Carrie Underwood’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” to remind a distressed country about God’s unceasing presence. Tucker said her faith is “a big part of who I am.” She wanted to be her most authentic self throughout the TV competition. Tucker performed the same song before dismissing students at chapel. Sophomore nursing major Lauren Garcia followed Tucker’s journey from start to finish that season on The Voice. She was excited when she met Tucker after chapel. “She is so sweet and is an amazing role model for young women,” Garcia said. “Her audition blew me away. I even have some of her covers on my phone.” Although Tucker is just a little older than she, Garcia said, “It’s not weird, but amazing. To manage school and a music career … that’s a lot of work.” In a post-elimination interview after her last appearance on the show, Tucker was gracious and...

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Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence
Feb25

Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence

THE BELLS — It’s important to have a connection to the past. Because of this, a group of students will travel to UMHB’s original home, Independence, March 1 as part of Reaching Out. The program gives students a chance to actively serve the community, and taking a trip to Independence shows that the university is still in touch with its origins. “Reaching Out is a university-driven service project,” said Michael Murphy, who is the student director for the event. “Students will partner with the Baptist church in Independence and help with various projects.” Director of Alumni Relations Rebecca O’Banion said Reaching Out gives students a chance to spread the gospel away from campus. “We have the opportunity to work together as faculty, staff and students to show Christ’s love in a tangible way to those outside the university family,” she said. A group of 20 students will participate in the service project, which will primarily take place at the Independence Baptist Church, the oldest continually operating Baptist church in Texas. The church opened in 1839 and was a center for mission work in the Republic of Texas. Aside from its age, the church has historical significance because it is also the congregation of which Sam Houston was a member when he was baptized. O’Banion said the trip will be a unique experience because students will not only have a chance to serve the community of Independence, but will also get a history lesson as well. “Those traveling to Independence will work on restoring the old church,” she said. “This has been an ongoing process, and our students will get to be a part of history by lending a hand to this church.” Even though UMHB moved from Independence to Belton in 1886, O’Banion said there’s still a strong connection between the university  and the town. “We have built a good relationship with the pastor and the community and wanted to do something to help them,” she said. “They are always such gracious hosts to us when we visit, and we wanted to serve them.” Because of this connection, the decision to plan a Reaching Out trip to Independence was easy to make. “It seemed like such a great opportunity to serve the church that was the church family of our students in Independence in the 1800s,” she said. “It feels like we are touching part of our history by serving this church.” Registration for the trip is currently closed, but students can sign up for a waiting list at umhb.edu/reaching-out-independence. Director of Student Organizations, Tiffany Wurdemann, said students who sign up for Reaching Out should be prepared to serve...

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Honky-tonk hero
Feb11

Honky-tonk hero

Jesus, honky-tonks and gunfights. How in the world are these three seemingly unrelated topics connected? Billy Joe Shaver. The rough and rugged songwriter is arguably as big a part of the history of outlaw country as names like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. The audience began cheering the minute Shaver’s worn cowboy boots stepped onto the stage of UMHB’s Hughes Hall Jan. 28. He wore Wranglers, a light blue denim shirt and a brown felt hat with a tattered feather on it. He sat down on a stool to talk to associate professor and chairman of the music department, Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey in the latest installment of the C3 series. Humphrey started the session by acknowledging Shaver’s importance to Texas music. He described the fine arts experience as one with Texas roots. He then asked Shaver about the songwriting process. “I started writing when I was just about 8 years old.… I think it’s a blessing or a curse. Seems like it’s different every time,” Shaver said. “Most of my songs were written trying to stay alive, and the rest were written trying to get back in the house.” The 74-year-old Corsicana native showed his quick wit with numerous jokes but was also ready to impart any wisdom he could. “I think songwriting is the cheapest psychiatrist there is, and I believe everybody ought to write,” he said. “I think everybody is capable of writing. I go through it, and just like I was writing someone I really care about a letter—you know, to make every word count and make sure it all means something.” Shaver has endured his fair share of tough times including several divorces, drug addictions and the loss of his son Eddie to a heroin overdose. Humphrey described Shaver’s story as utterly incredible. “I’ve had a few setbacks here and there, a few bumps in the road,” Shaver said. “Some of them been pretty bad.… Don’t really get to feeling sorry for yourself because everybody gets singled out every now and again…. That’s just the way life goes.” Shaver found himself facing another challenge in 2007. A conflict in a Lorena bar eventually ended with Shaver shooting a man in the face with a .22 caliber pistol. In 2010, Shaver was found innocent of aggravated assault charges. The incident was the inspiration for Shaver’s song, “Wacko from Waco,” that he recorded with Willie Nelson. Shaver told the audience in Hughes that he was innocent and had not returned fire until the other man had shot at him three times. Despite having what some might call a rough demeanor, Shaver claims Jesus Christ...

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Grammys bring gamut of emotions
Feb11

Grammys bring gamut of emotions

The 2014 Grammy Awards ceremony was definitely one for the books… Maybe even the same book that the AMA’s fell into. While Miley Cyrus wasn’t able to make it to the actual event (though she was spotted at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala), the planning committee seemed to prove that they didn’t really need her to make a statement. In fact, they seemed to do  a jaw-dropping job with the artists who did perform. We could start with the fact that Daft Punk won four Grammys – because we apparently time traveled back to the ‘90s – but that isn’t even the worst of it. Not even Lorde was the worst of the night after she got on stage to perform an interesting version of “Royals,” which won Song of the Year. It might have been the most awkward performance of the night. She needs to work on what she does with her arms next time she goes to such a big event. The Robot was out years ago. Theguardian.com actually described her as “angular.” Speaking of Lorde, what exactly was her BFF Taylor Swift doing for her performance of “All Too Well”? Last time I checked, pianos and head-banging didn’t exactly go together. And T-Swift killed it… not in a good way. Cringe-worthy moments. But not as cringe-worthy as Beyonce and Jay-Z’s performance to “Drunk In Love.” I think they realized they were both starting to become irrelevant and decided to do something to fix that. Maybe Beyonce got lessons from Miley, or maybe she is just trying to make up for the fact that her surprise, self-titled album release back in December wasn’t as surprising as she hoped it would be. But then, we never know the exact reasons for celebrities’ desperate attempts. Do you wanna play with magic? Katy Perry apparently does. Dressed in a witch outfit, she performed “Dark Horse.” This was one of the better and  more humorous numbers, complete with smoke and brooms used for dancing. One of the greater controversies of the show was that Queen Latifah wedded about 34 couples toward the end of the show. With Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Madonna and Mary Lambert singing “Same Love,” the couples of different ages and races, some gay and straight, were married at the Grammys. Of course they were married off-stage, so it wasn’t a big show for them, but it still caused quite a scene on social media. Viewers who had heard the news before the awards show were outraged that they would be doing such a thing. Once it was done, people couldn’t believe that they had gone through with it....

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Mineo raps, breaks the mold
Feb11

Mineo raps, breaks the mold

It wasn’t too long ago that Andy Mineo was rapping on the stage of Walton Chapel. He was coming off of the release of his album Heroes for Sale in April 2013. That night, UMHB was filled with as much bass as it was with Baptists. Mineo went off. And he never seems to stop. A lot of people were surprised when he independently sold 28,000 copies of Heroes for Sale, and that was in the first week. A Christian rapper listed on the Billboard 200? That’s a miracle, right? Sure, it is. Mineo wouldn’t argue that. Yet the release of his new EP Never Land proves that his music is here to move past the stereotypes of Christian rap being awful. 26,000 copies of Never Land sold in its debut week. Oh, and the EP can only be bought digitally.  It landed Mineo number 2 on the Billboard rap charts behind Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Grammy award-winning album, The Heist. Mineo, in an interview with MTV said, “Number two on the hip-hop charts? I’ll sit behind Macklemore after the Grammy performance and take #2; that’s cool.” Nothing, not even the ceiling, can hold Mineo down, though. That’s because he’s got bigger goals than topping charts, he told MTV. “… Numbers aren’t what we live for,” he said. “Numbers at the end of the day and charting is not what we’re here to do only. They just help tell the story.” Never Land is Mineo’s way of telling how success is unfulfilling. Lyrics to the song “Never Land ft. Marz” tell all: You know the rich and famous, kill they self to stay rich and famous. Very same thing they they built they name with, be the same thing they they be enslaved with. It’s a thought-provoking EP. At the same time, Never Land is unlike anything the secular or Christian world has seen from a rapper. It’s a coherent mix of Mineo’s NYC style of hip-hop, his Italian roots (check out the songs “Paisano’s Wylin” and “Paganini”), his progressive mindset toward Christian rap and his biblically based lyrics. Add to it that fact that Mineo collaborated with top-notch producers and artists, and it’s safe to say Never Land will be hot for a while. Mineo won’t settle, though. It’s like he proclaims on track three, “You can’t stop...

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