Christ at center of lyrics
Nov24

Christ at center of lyrics

“When the first light brightened the dark/before the breaking of the human heart/there was You and there was me.” These powerful lyrics bring immediate attention to a listener’s heart. Christian artist Phil Wickham visited UMHB in August and held a worship concert at Luther Memorial, which helped students spiritually prepare for a great start to a new semester. Wickham was still in the process of working on his third album titled Heaven & Earth. In the album, Wickham keeps his signature pop vocal vibe, playing up the CD with a little rock edge by using different electronics and programmed beats. Wickham’s musical talents helped him reach a whole new level of creativity for this album — as it turns out, it’s a hit. The album was released in stores Nov. 17. It includes top hits: “The Time Is Now,” “Eden” and “Safe.” Each track has its own musical style. No two songs sound the same, and all are about worshiping the Lord, whether it’s the rocker brought out of him in the upbeat track “Hold On,” which is formulated with a quiet beginning and rings into tones of a crashing conclusion, or the familiar, soft, melodious Wickham in “All Because Of Your Love.” He didn’t lose sight of keeping Christ as the center of his lyrics. The music beautifully comes together in Heaven & Earth to create one of the best albums of 2009 for the contemporary Christian music genre. And it’s because of artists like Wickham that more people are coming to know Christ through listening to the lyrics of Christian music. Not only does Wickham’s originality shine through in this album, listeners also can feel his passion for the Lord in every song, leaving many breathless. Heaven & Earth receives 5 out of 5 stars for its inspirational spin on worship...

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Writers’ Festival unites artistic minds
Nov24

Writers’ Festival unites artistic minds

Creative souls will find a place to share their voice in the upcoming Writers’ Festival Jan. 6-9. English Professor Dr. Audell Shelburne has directed the festival every year since 2003. Attendees this year may take part in a coffee house Open Mic in Shelton Theater, lectures and workshops in art, song writing, prose and poetry. Alan Berecka started attending the festival after being accepted in 2000 to Windhover, a Christian literary journal. “My poems first appeared in Vol. 5 of the Windhover. I was invited to read in that year …. I haven’t missed a festival since,” he said. The Writers’ Festival is a place where he fine-tunes his craft. “The chance to meet other writers and workshop with major poets (has) been central to my creative life and the development of my craft,” Berecka said. In January, Berecka might read some poems from his collection The Comic Flaw. “There’s a core group of us who have grown into a little family, along with the UMHB English and art faculty …. Every January I’m hauling up 77 North to Cameron and then on to Belton,” Berecka said. He is looking forward to attending the readings and “to hearing all the familiar voices, hearing what everyone has been working on, and learning about other writers.” Anne McCrady first attended the festival as a member of a panel of poets from the Poetry Society of Texas. “Over the years, I have made so many wonderful friends. Now, I feel like I have become part of the UMHB Writers Festival family,” she said. Attendees may sign up for a small-group master class taught by acclaimed writers. This year Myra McLarey will be teaching a prose workshop, and Kelly Cherry will teach a workshop on poetry. McCrady said she looks forward most to the master classes. “It is an opportunity to have a skilled leader moderate a group of dedicated writers who share ideas about each other’s work, she said.” McCrady is thankful for the annual festival. “Every year I am amazed at the support and hospitality given to this event in terms of great speakers and wonderful sessions. Writing can be a lonely endeavor; it is affirming to be with other writers and to enjoy creative discussion,” she said. Shelburne said students, faculty and staff may attend the festival for free. If they want to attend the dinners during the weekend, they need to talk to him to make reservations. He said,“This festival offers a good opportunity for students and writers to meet others who want to improve their writing. It also gives people a chance to hear some great prose and...

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Students decorate their space for upcoming holidays

By Nicci Krause Although Thanksgiving is right around the corner, Christmas will soon follow, and students are really looking forward to breaking out the ornaments and tinsel. Junior psychology and biblical studies double major Rebecca Freitag and her roommates, who live in Clark Hall in Independence Village, said they are definitely going to put up Christmas decorations. “We will probably put up a tree,” Freitag said. “And last year we made stockings for our roommates and hung them above the couch” They don’t let the lack of a fireplace stop them from enjoying one of their favorite holiday traditions. “My roommate also has Christmas pillows and signs that we always set out …. We put presents under the tree, and we’ll put lights up if they let us,” Freitag said. Her favorite holiday decoration is the Christmas tree, and her favorite ornament depicts a nativity scene. She said she loves going home during Christmas. Her mom decorates the inside of the house while her dad works on the lights outside. “My dad is crazy on Christmas,” Freitag said. “There is a competition between houses every year in our neighborhood, and my dad puts up so many lights.” She said that whenever her friends come over, they are shocked and comment on how much her family loves Christmas. Sophomore chemistry major Tara Williams doesn’t have any plans to decorate her dorm room in Remschel Hall yet but is sure she will do something. “At home we always put up lights and wreaths, Santa hats and a tree,” she said. Meagan Bohne, a sophomore nursing major and her roommates plan to put up a couple of trees, tinsel and fake snow in their apartment in Tryon Hall. She loves to decorate her house with lights, trees and a dancing Santa. On the other hand, freshman athletic training major Bryan Brown and his roommate freshman Christian ministries major Jon Michael Toler haven’t put too much thought into their Christmas decorations. They said their dorm room is pretty small, but Brown will probably bring his mini tree to set up. Both agree that they won’t be in much during Christmas, so they won’t do too much to decorate. Brown said that people shouldn’t decorate too early or start listening to Christmas music right after Thanksgiving. “It’s too early if you start listening to it before December.” His roommate agrees and said that people should stop listening to Christmas music almost right away. “You need to stop after Christmas … like the 26,” he said. Brown said that his favorite holiday decoration is Santa Claus, and said that his grandmother has more than 500...

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One act performers showcase their emotional stage presence
Nov12

One act performers showcase their emotional stage presence

Lush, classy costumes and big band sounds invoke the spirit of the roaring ’20s for a night of two one-act plays: a drama and a comedy. Director Michael Fox chose two pieces written by Texas playwright Horton Foote. He won academy awards for best screenplay 1983 for Tender Mercies and in 1962 for To Kill a Mockingbird. He wrote more than 50 one-act plays in his lifetime. “He is an award-winning, Texas playwright born in 1916,” Fox said. “And he died this year in March.” Performances were held in the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Oct. 30 and 31. “The space is great. The technical support is outstanding, and it’s one of those places that is available,” Fox said. One-acts are plays that take place in one scene. “In a one-act everything happens from setting it up to the conflict to the resolution, if there’s a resolution to be had. There may not be,” Fox said. Spring Dance has no resolution. “It’s just a snapshot in time; it’s like you’re eavesdropping on these four troubled souls,” Fox said. The play is set in a sanitarium in Austin in the 1920s. “The theme that goes through the whole play is going home. They all want to go home,” Fox said. Freshman psychology major Joshua Kirwin played the part of Greene Hamilton. “He is an emotionally unstable gentleman in an insane asylum who is pretty high-strung, and he loves his shoes,” Kirwin said. Kirwin gave Greene a nervous tick and constantly wrung his hands on stage. “You have to find a happy medium between overacting and being a believable character in this play,” he said. Freshman Christian ministry major Levi Seymour played Dave Dushon, who remains silent during the one-act. “They needed a guy who didn’t talk at all, and so I was more than willing,” he said. During the performance, Seymore barely moves a muscle. “It’s hard not to laugh or smile for forty minutes in a row,” he said. Jennifer Loyd came in at the last minute to play the part of Annie, a forgetful woman who lives in the sanitarium. “She wasn’t the person that I originally cast,” Fox said. “She came in almost six weeks after we started rehearsals and she has done a wonderful job.” Freshman computer graphics design major Stephen Webster played the role of Cecil Henry. He seems sane until the last few minutes when he introduces himself to Annie, whom he has already met. “When you think of crazy people, you think they’re like jumping off the walls and in straitjackets… but that’s normally not the case,” Webster said. In Blind Date,...

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Alumnus rocks in band for first album
Nov12

Alumnus rocks in band for first album

Over the past three years, a small-town rock band named Johnny’s Body has been gaining popularity in Texas and just released their first album: Swing Low Rock and Roll. Most of the band members have been together for nearly a decade, starting off in a punk band called Garage 34, but decided to adopt a more straight rock style after gaining appreciation for the country and old-school rock music they listened to as children. UMHB alumnus Ben Rhudy is the drummer for the band and graduated with a degree in mass communication/ journalism last year. While working on his bachelor’s, he was also playing at venues in the area, including Common Grounds, the Jubilee Theater and the Watering Hole. He described their style: “Johnny’s Body is what I would call folk rock. It is a combination of old country and rock with kind of more of a modern take. We are really looking more towards the future with a foot in the past.” He calls them “Johnny Cash meets the Clash.” The band was started by the two Rhudy brothers, Ben, who plays drums, and Jordan, on lead guitar and sings. Other members of the band are Megan Harris, who plays trumpet and accordion; Taylor Branch, who plays rhythm guitar; and Ronnie and Carrie Martin, who play bass and keyboard, respectively. All of them live either in Waco or Gatesville. The band plays frequently in Central Texas, with the majority of shows in Waco. Most recently, the band was invited to the Battle of the Bands in Austin, but was unable to participate due to scheduling issues. The band has also registered for South by Southwest for next year and is hoping to get a spot in the prestigious indie festival. Their album, Swing Low Rock and Roll, has obvious influences from old country and classic rock, but still maintains a fresh, upbeat sound. The collection of 11 songs is diverse in its sound, crossing into mariachi, blues and punk. The album truly shines at track 6, named “Poor Boy.” The song has strong lyrical value and is upbeat and catchy. It is easy to find yourself humming many of Johnny’s Body’s songs long after the disc has finished. “Sweet on You” digs into a more indie style, giving listeners some great rhythmic material. The song gives the band sort of a lovable feel, straying from their normal bluesy country-rock style. “When the Chariot Swings Low” is masterful in its own right. The song is about what will happen when death comes knocking and is a great homage to the beginning sounds of country. This piece is really set...

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Central Texans gather for Kite Runner
Nov12

Central Texans gather for Kite Runner

By Lauren Piercey Reading a book may be enjoyable, but sometimes being able to discuss it with someone else can make all the difference in its impact. The Central Texas Book Club sponsored by UMHB’s English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, will be hosting a discussion Nov. 23 over its fall selection Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. President of Sigma Tau Delta and junior English major Rachel Yubeta said, “Reading is a community undertaking. Literature is meant to be discussed … to give us the ability to see the world through another person’s eyes. When a group of people come together to discuss what they learned, what they think the meaning is and whether this is true in our lives, I think literature then has the power to affect us as an individual as well as a community.” Associate Professor of English Dr. Janene Lewis will lead the conversation and has involved her world literature class. “It is voluntary, and they will be responsible for the visual presentation and advertising for it,” she said. The novel was selected through suggestions from society members, officers and faculty. Lewis believes the book was chosen for apparent reasons. “It’s timely. It’s also a great character study,” she said. The discussion will feature audience participation and a time for questions and answers. “I think we will start with a slide show that gives us information about the people of Afghanistan, the scenery in the book and introduce the people and culture, then follow with a 20-25 minute conversation about one or two themes in the book and fi nally a Q and A time,” Lewis said. While the club will have its chat on campus, it strives to include those in the area. “We try to make it community wide, make it more of a Belton community event rather than just university,” she said. Yubeta is happy with the novel choice. She said, “It manages to address the universal question: What does it mean to be a friend? What is redemption? And how does one achieve it? The great part about it, though, is that it manages to ask these questions from the vantage point of a culture we do not completely understand.” Through the club, the society hopes to include not only students and faculty, but those in the community. “One of the goals that Sigma Tau Delta strives to achieve is to promote literacy in the community. The book club is our way of reaching out to students and faculty in hopes of engaging them in a conversation over literature,” Yubeta said. She is still currently reading the book, but looks...

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