Students honored with art exhibition
Mar29

Students honored with art exhibition

An art exhibit is something for people to express themselves and display their hours of work whether in drawing, painting, sculpting or photography. The UMHB art department recently sponsored a student art exhibit in the Arla Ray Tyson Art Gallery in the Townsend Library. More than 70 pieces of art, there were many more submitted than just the ones shown. Forty-one students submitted their pieces for the exhibit, but only 30 had their artworks     selected. Dean of the fine arts department, Ted Barnes, knows that it is an accomplishment for the students whose art is shown. “It is always an honor to be selected for a juried exhibition. It validates the artist and the work to be judged into an exhibition by a professional juror or critic who has a noted reputation,” he said. Out of all the pieces that were entered, several honorable mentions were given along with a third, second, first place and best of show award. Junior fine arts major with an emphasis in visual communications Lauren Cross won first place for her charcoal piece named “Jenny.” “I started her during the spring semester last year and finished her by the end of the summer. I was too focused on art classes to really focus on her,” she said. Cross created “Jenny” by using a method that she happened to stumble upon while in the process of creating her. “She is a charcoal drawing that I drew starting with a completely blacked out piece of paper, and I just started erasing the charcoal to create her face. Basically it’s a process of taking away and adding back charcoal,” she said. Another award winner in the display is a honorable mention for art education major Jamie Stephens. She entered a piece of art depicting a little girl with wind blowing in her hair drawn completely by pen. “I think I did good to get honorable mention seeing I’m only a freshman,” she said. Being an artist of any kind allows people to express themselves. For Cross, her artwork is usually of materials she is comfortable with. “Typically I work with subjects that are attractive or interesting to me. It’s usually things I love, or that I find neat,” she said. “I love people, so I am constantly using people as my subject matter.” This year’s judge was Tim High, Associate Professor of Art at UT. High’s work has been shown regionally, nationally and internationally in several kinds of exhibitions. Having a student art show where Crusaders can publicly show their hard work and final project is an accomplishment for any person. “This annual exhibition publicly showcases...

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Vinyl records making a musical comeback
Mar29

Vinyl records making a musical comeback

Nielsen SoundScan revealed that album sales dropped 12.8 percent last year in the U.S. To make matters worse, sales of individual digital tracks increased by 1 percent. It’s no wonder industry    executives are starting to  worry. Their saving grace may just be as simple as going back in time—to vinyl records, that is. According to Rolling Stone magazine vinyl record sales increased 14 percent last year over the previous year. Keep in mind these sales are only a small part of overall music sales, but the truth is, vinyl is coming back. Amazon has been quick to catch on, now boasting 250,000 LPs. Some wonder how this trend will catch on again, especially with the younger generation. Its popularity and marketing will stem from the real and authentic feel it brings music fans—like movie lovers going to the theater. Senior nursing major Ellen O’Meara enjoys listening to vinyl despite not having her own gramophone. “I do not have my own record player. I have been saving up to purchase a vintage player of my own and hopefully will sometime in the near future,” she said. O’Meara likes to add to her collection. “Every time I am in an antique or thrift store, I snag a  record to add to my collection,” she said. O’Meara believes vinyl is coming back and for good reasons. “I think people are realizing that technology has taken a bit of the fun out of listening to music. There is an art to be preserved with vinyl records …. It’s not as easy or quick … but it forces you to slow down and enjoy the experience of music,” she said. Not only is it the look and size that attracts the younger generation to vinyl records, but also the sound quality. “Many people these days are also beginning to appreciate how vinyl sounds different than what we are used  to hearing,” she said. “I think a scratchy old vinyl with a little distortion adds character to the music it plays.” Many students on campus are jumping on the record band wagon. Junior Business major Kendall Doles also believes vinyl has a future. “I think it is something that could definitely catch on again, especially since they usually give you the album you buy digitally along with your vinyl,” he said. He bought his first vinyl after getting a record player and now has about 20 records. “I really like the crackling in between songs,” he said. “I’ve always thought records were cool, I mean DJs use them. How can they not be?” O’Meara is unsure how vinyl will affect the music business. She said, “I don’t...

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Students, scholars meet for religious conference
Mar08

Students, scholars meet for religious conference

Associate Professor Dr. Renate Hood’s voice filled the meeting room in the Dallas Marriot. Her lecture, a discussion on Paul’s use of ‘hope’ in the book of Romans, resembled any lecture she could give in one of her Christian studies classes. But the audience was wildly different – except for a few of her pupils that made the journey with her. Six students and five faculty members traveled to the Southwest Commission of Religious Studies where they attended seminars from scholars throughout the region on anything to do with religion. And some of the faculty – Christian studies professor Dr. Carol Holcomb, history and political science Professor Dr. David Holcomb and Hood represented UMHB as presenters. Hood was instrumental in bringing the students to the event. And while the students learned a great deal, she concedes that the scholars also were able to learn from the undergrads. “We have a different way of looking at the academy. Students bring a dialogue that you cannot reproduce without them,” she said. “When I see their enthusiasm and what they bring back, it’s worth everything.” Senior biblical studies and biblical languages double major Heather Witlock was one of the students at the conference. “It was a good opportunity to hear lectures on things we are interested in,” Witlock said. “Plus we can hang out with professors who we don’t usually get to see outside of the classroom and hear them giving presentations on research they are interested in.” Senior biblical studies major Becca Freitag was particularly impressed with the variety of topics “A lot of really interesting things were talked about,” she said. “We went to one lecture on mega churches and how things are turning towards prosperity gospel. Also, a doctor from med school did research on Jeffery Dhamer and how origins moves us more towards evil or good.” The conference not only allowed students to learn and interact with professors, but they also got to see how the academic world works. Junior theology/philosophy and history double major Tyler Potts hopes to be a professor one day. Then he, like Associate Professor of Christian studies Dr. Michael Robinson and Christian studies Professor Dr. Stephen Von Wyrick can attend more of these conferences. Perhaps even present his research. “It’s something that I have an aspiration to potentially do one day,” he said. “Being at this conference excites me about it much more.” The Christian studies department wanted to showcase the event for students who may be interested in biblical scholarship. Junior Christian ministry major Hannah Eaton was appreciative of the opportunity – even if she plans to focus her graduate work more...

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Jazz tour connects musicians and locals
Mar08

Jazz tour connects musicians and locals

The suave sounds of the UMHB Jazz Ensemble journeyed to Memphis, Tenn., and back during the last week of February. The band performed eight shows in four days, with a much needed break touring Memphis in the middle of the trip. Assistant Professor and Director of athletic bands Nils Landsberg considers the trip to have been a success. “It was a really neat experience …. I’m really proud of the group and everyone that’s been involved with it,” Landsberg said. With hours of traveling, the group arrived back at UMHB with a stronger relationship than they had before they left. Though the band practices together, being on the road  intensified their bond. “I think the band really started to click Monday afternoon. Things really started to come together then. It felt just real natural,” Landsberg said. “When you’re in a van for numerous hours … you don’t just gel musically, but also on a personal level.” Not only did the tour encourage and provide opportunities for new and closer friendships, it also brought the ensemble together through the music they played. “Musically, the band definitely gets tighter as we perform more because they realize what kind of connection you can make with people through music,” Landsberg said. Though their performances were the focal point of the tour, the group experienced several memorable experiences with the people they met, as well. While playing at a senior living facility in Henderson, Texas, the members had the opportunity to meet a World War II veteran, an event that Landsberg remembers as one of his favorites from the trip. “We had no idea that he lived there, and we met him after our performance for that center and that was really a special moment for a lot of us,” he said. Landsberg was impressed by the positive attitudes of the group despite the long hours spent traveling. “The students did a wonderful job being ambassadors not only for the music department, but also for the university. They carried themselves well,” he said. The ensemble had two guest artists playing with them, both of whom have been part of the annual jazz tour, which has happened for the last three years. Freelance trumpet performer Joseph Harris has performed with some well-known artists such as Christina Aguilera, DMX and The Temptations, but still enjoys playing with the jazz ensemble musicians. “This is my third year to be here as a guest artist, and every time the band has improved immensely,” Harris said. “Especially with an ensemble that’s mostly non-music majors, that’s a real testament to what their capabilities are as an ensemble.” Junior music education...

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Balloons burst onto new television show

One thing Americans are sure to get suckered into is   reality TV. Whether it be following the lives of the super tan, party-hardy Jersey Shore cast or some quirky balloon artists on TLC’s  new hit show, The Unpoppables, Americans can’t take their eyes off the entertaining and unusual shows. Episodes are only thirty minutes long, but entertain viewers by   hopping cities and rushing to get all projects completed for different events. Sometimes projects will take 100+ man hours and thousands of balloons to complete. New Balloon Art is becoming more and more popular, and this team of talented artists astonishes clients (and all watching the show) with the most original and inventive figures ever. Addi Somehk, one of the most innovative balloon artists today, is self-taught. He’s known for his abstract creations and has been featured in Martha Stewart Living and In Touch Magazine. His career began before the TV series when he and photographer Charlie Eckert published a book, The Inflatable Crown, in 2001. Somehk is a natural humorist. He enjoys playing the balloon bass and balloon drums, which are instruments he created for his potential music career. There is never  a dull moment watching him on the show. His passions are evident: to create the most interesting balloon masterpieces ever and to bring out a smile in anyone he comes in contact with. The trio is complete with two other artists, Brian Asman and Katie Balloons. Asman was a former chef, and began twisting to earn some extra money at a farmer’s market in Brooklyn. His side hobby soon became the reason he quit the restaurant business and began working with the New Balloon Art team. He has   created life-size caricatures and countless towering clowns and monsters. Somehk and Asman don’t always get along, which makes for twists in the show, but in the end their talents pull together to blow clients’ expectations out of the water. The lone female   artist, Katie Balloons, yes, she legally changed her last name to prove her true passion for her dedicated time to sculpting, is one of the top balloon dressmakers in the world. She has only been twisting for five years, but no one would know it was that short of time by her detailed work. Balloon clothing is her trademark, and she has become known around the world for her intricate, fitted works of wearable art. Most times, Balloons concentrates too much on her work; therefore, she doesn’t sleep or eat much, which cuts her fuse very short. Somehk recruited Balloons because of her willingness to complete jobs, and he believes she is a prodigy in the balloon...

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Beastly based on Beauty and the Beast

Grossing about $6 million on opening day, Beastly is the modern day version of the classic Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. With an array of celebrities  that would make any teenage girl want to see the film, it has unique ties and similarities to the original film. Beastly tells the story of a rich, New York high school heartthrob, Kyle Kingson, played by Alex Pettyfer, who knows only outward physical beauty rather than true inner beauty. Mary-Kate Olsen plays a fellow student, Kendra Hilferty, who dabbles in magic and places a curse on Kyle to make him understand how to love rather than to lust. The trick is that he has a year to have someone fall in love with him and say the coveted words, “I love you.” After being transformed into a monster, Kyle became covered with over 60 body tattoos, cuts and scrapes around his face and what resembles burn marks. Kyle is forced to live this new life which he did not choose. His father abandons him to keep him secluded in an apartment only to live with his new and blind tutor, Will, played by Neil Patrick Harris, and his maid who basically represent the clock and the teapot characters from the original. Trying to live the new unwanted life, Kyle befriends a girl from his old high school, Lindy Taylor, played by High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens. Unshaken by his looks, Lindy’s friendship with Kyle goes to new levels, and Kyle soon finds himself falling in love with her. The parallels between Beastly and Beauty and the Beast are very well done. Roses are a significant flower in this movie, just as they were in the 1991 version. Also, Lindy is forced to live with Kyle just as Belle had to live with the Beast. Probably the biggest parallel of all, other than the infamous roses, would be the scene in the movie when Lindy and Kyle spend a gorgeous day at the lake, but are interrupted when Lindy gets a call from a hospital saying her dad overdosed and has been admitted. Kyle, finally becoming the decent guy he should have always been, tells Lindy that she should go to her father. This scene is sentimental and resembles the original movie so much that it could give viewers chills and put smiles on their faces. Aside from retelling one of the best fairy tales of all time, the acting in this movie was only mediocre. When Olsen grew out of her cute looks after the hit 90’s show Full House, she also grew out of her acting ability. Every line...

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