Holidays & Festivities
Dec09

Holidays & Festivities

By Lindsay Schaefer Family and friends gather to observe Christmas all around the world by celebrating the holiday in many different ways. At UMHB, students highlight Christmas with special programs and activities during the holiday season. One of the first events was Crusader Christmas Dec. 4 with the lighting of the Luther Memorial. Students watched the movie Elf, drank hot chocolate, ate Christmas cookies and took pictures with Santa. Each of the women’s dorms hosted a mother-daughter weekend. They had dessert parties, Christmas caroling, various activities and games. Friday night, several male students added to the festivities by singing “Christmas Grams” to the students and moms, starting in Burt Hall. After a calm breakfast together, Saturday was left open for mothers and daughters to go Christmas shopping, watch a movie or participate in any other activity. To continue the Christmas spirit, the music department presented Jewels of the Season, its annual Choral Christmas Gala at First Baptist Church Belton. The night included many traditional Christmas carols such as “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” The choir also sang Assistant Professor of music Matt Crosby’s special arrangement of “Jingle Bells.” Tonight, the UMHB Instrumental Christmas Concert will be presented in the Mayborn Campus Center Arena at 7 p.m. It will offer a compilation of pieces by The Conservatory of Music Suzuki Groups and The Bell County Symphonic Band. The traditional pancake supper for students will take place Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. in Hardy Hall. Faculty and staff will serve the breakfast food to students. In the small town of Salado, the Christmas season is altered into a winter wonderland. Hundreds of lights hang from all the local businesses, and shopping and seasonal music are available. Locally there is the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area present, Nature in Lights XII: A Holiday Tradition. This includes five miles of Christmas cheer for all to enjoy. For every car, mini-van and pick-up there is a $5 charge. Wrapping up the season, the College of Visual and Performing Arts recorded “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” to air on KNCT radio, 91.3 FM. It will be broadcast on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. and Christmas Day at 10...

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Madagascar, successful Escape 2 Africa
Nov18

Madagascar, successful Escape 2 Africa

“I like to move it, move it.” “He likes to move, move it.” “She likes to move it, move it.” “We like to … move it!” The catchy opening song to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the most recognizable part of the first movie, in which four New York zoo animals find themselves on a ship headed to the island of Madagascar. In the second movie, however, the animals, in their attempt to make it back to New York, crash land in mainland Africa. The collision forces Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman to learn what their own species do in the wild, and Alex has an improbable encounter with a family member, Zuba, voiced by the late Bernie Mac. The animals’ development in the story is fun to watch, and the humor in the film, although intended for children, can adapt even to the most mature sense of humor. The cross-species love story in the sequel provides backbone to the two characters involved and also shifts the focus away from the dominant nature of Alex’s story. The film does justice to each character, embracing its unique traits, while still showing that it is the same as its ancestors “back home.” The story gives the “cookie-cutter” zoo animals more depth, but reminds them of their love for the zoo they left. The all-star voicing in the sequel is led by Ben Stiller (Alex), Chris Rock (Marty), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria) and David Schwimmer (Melman). The cast also includes big names like Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer and Alec Baldwin. The performance by Bernie Mac was one of his last on film. The late actor appears in Soul Men and this sequel to Madagascar. His career began in 1992 in Mo’ Money, as a doorman, but blossomed into a rich portfolio of blockbusters including Transformers, Ocean’s Thirteen and Guess Who, along with his own show. The recognizable voices in the movie, however, are not a distraction from the story. All performers do a great job of encompassing their roles, shedding the stereotypical acting that goes along with their voices. The only downside to the film is the lack of continuity between the minor characters from the first and second movie. The lemur king is silly, but his part in the movie is almost overplayed, and his circumstantial appearances in the stories of the four zoo animals in this movie are seemingly spastic. The plotting penguins are done an injustice in the film. They are underplayed and underutilized in the development of the story. An encounter between the wild animals and the out-of-place penguins would have definitely been interesting to watch....

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Texas Java serves Cru treats
Nov18

Texas Java serves Cru treats

Texas Java is the highly anticipated coffee house that opened its doors in Belton this past July. It’s about a mile from campus, and for many, it has been a godsend. Temple used to be the nearest place to find a coffee house, but now that has changed. Junior Christi Williams said, “I love it because it’s more convenient than driving all the way to Temple for Starbucks.” It’s suitably placed in the Oak Ridge shopping center on Main street, next to a popular sandwich shop. People from the surrounding businesses are always stopping in for a quick cup of coffee. Java is in full operation, and the community has welcomed it with open arms. It is, however, more than a coffee shop. Not only does it have a wide variety of coffee, but they also sell fruit smoothies, soft drinks, an assortment of cakes and pastries and even Blue Bell ice cream. Java is also a good place for students to study and do homework. Charles Rayburn McRae, an alum of the university, said,  “It’s very peaceful, and the staff is learned in their trade.” The mood is laid back, and the urge to get classroom assignments accomplished is strong with the help of an affordable caffeine rush. The shop also offers free wireless Internet for people who bring in their laptops, iPhones or other wireless devices; and with more than 10 tables and a few comfortable couches, there is plenty of space to go around. The atmosphere seems to be a common reason why students enjoy the place. Williams said, “The staff is very friendly and personal. They’re not like (others), who just want to get you in and get you out.” A good reason for that is most of the staff are current students of the university. Senior Asa Crow, an employee said, “all but one” of Java’s employees are UMHB students. The staff is made up of 10 workers. A few of the popular drinks they offer are the Chi Tea Smoothie, White Mocha frap, and flavored pecan coffee. Another feature is that the java can be made hot or chilled. They even have a special cold blend that keeps the frozen coffee from melting too quickly. Customers even have the option of the color straw they would like to drink their coffee or smoothie with. It’s the little things that makes this spot so inviting to college students. Before Texas Java came along, the university had its very own coffee house called The Daily Grind. It was equipped with coffee, treats, various soft drinks and games. Unfortunately, the hours of operation were limited, and...

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Pause for Thought: Bucket list before kicking the can

By Joshua Thiering December graduation is quickly approaching. This collegiate exodus of seniors into the land of new opportunities is a source of terror for some, and for others it is like being a dog that is finally let off his chain. But before the fast-approaching big romp in the world, a final run around the UMHB backyard is in order. Here is a bucket list of things to do before your college career kicks the bucket. Attend a Civil War re-enactment Some things in history are best not to recreate, like the Hindenburg blimp explosion. Others like civil wars and Renaissance festivals are just great opportunities to get dressed up in period garb and use antiquated language. Take lots of photos — they make interesting Christmas cards. Experiment with facial hair College is about experimentation. Call it a social experiment. Why buy a turtle neck, when you can grow your own? Why not grow a throat beard like Henry David Thoreau for the Civil War re-enactment. Speaking of Thoreau… Live in a tent beside the pond “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” Thoreau wrote in Walden, a great American classic. And so, taking a page from Walden we will go to UMHB pond, because we wish to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of college, and see if we could learn what it had to teach, and not, when we came to graduate, discover that we had not received a real education. I want to suck the sweet nectar from the fruits of the simple life, to jostle the juice around in my mouth and to feel its sticky dribble on my chin. Speaking of simple pleasures…. Go to a drive-in with your honey Kanoodle the night away together. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like a good movie, snuggling and hand-holding. Drive-ins used to be called “passion pits,” but that hardly is demeaning ever since The Passion of the Christ came...

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Local church welcomes with love and food
Nov18

Local church welcomes with love and food

After chapel and classes on Wednesday, about 230 students make the less-than-a-mile trip to the First United Methodist Church on 3rd Avenue. Not for attending services, but to be served a home-cooked meal. The church has been providing lunches to college students in its fellowship hall for the past four years. Volunteers have seen tremendous growth, particularly in this year’s attendance. “We’re the victim of our own success,” said Jack Sykes, the chairman of the witness committee that sponsors the ministry. When they first began serving meals, there were typically 30-40 in attendance. This year, the response has been nearly overwhelming. “We budgeted based on last year’s attendance, which was 75-80 on average,” Sykes said. “This year, we started off with 140.” Due to rising food costs, the church had to make a decision. “We have two choices — either we cut back on the quality of the meal, which we don’t want to do,” Sykes said, “or we need some help.” First United Methodist recently added a donation box to the beginning of the food line, asking for a dollar donation. “The students that are coming seem to enjoy it. We don’t like the idea of having to ask for donations,” Sykes said. “We want to be clear on that. We don’t like it.” Sophomore education major Joanna Schildwachter said, “I think that’s fair enough. You get a good — size meal.” Overall, students seem to be responsive to their request for support. “It tastes good, and the least we can do is give a dollar,” Schildwacther said. Because the donation box has only been there a few weeks, the volunteers anticipate the word will get around in the near future. “We think it’ll get better as we go along,” Sykes said. There are usually 10 volunteers helping with everything from the prep work of browning 50 pounds of beef the day before, to giving students rides to and from campus, to cleaning up afterward. Some volunteers have been a part of the ministry from the get-go, while others willingly step in when needed. “I’m actually emergency help today,” volunteer Paul McKinley said. The kitchen was short staffed, but other members of First United Methodist filled in the gap. “It’s what I’m called to do; it’s part of being a church,” McKinley said. “It’s stepping up to the plate.” Gary Brown, who may be seen driving the bus to and from the church any given Wednesday, has been volunteering for three years. “I think it’s a good mission,” he said. “It keeps me busy. I’m retired twice.” Brown is equally amazed at the expansion. “The first year we...

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Spotlight shines on 12 Angry Jurors
Nov18

Spotlight shines on 12 Angry Jurors

The lights brightened on the stage in Hughes Recital Hall to a trial having just taken place and leaving the jury members to decide whether a boy accused of murder was innocent or guilty. Bickering, turmoil and even some climactic fighting scenes broke out on stage during the first production of the season for the theater department. The play was 12 Angry Jurors and was shown Nov. 7 and 8. With a cast consisting of 13 members, the play was  based on the similiar work, 12 Angry Men. All the actors developed their own personality to the character they were portraying to the point that the audience could feel anger from the cast in the auditorium. Sophomore and juror number five, Marcus Repp, was one of the jurors who began to question the case near the beginning of the play. Repp and the other actors had to become accustomed to their character to make their performance believable. “We had to research . . . our character and adapt to the time period of the late 1950s,” he said. Most of the actors have been on stage before, either at UMHB or in high school. Juror number nine Ashley Ramirez, has been acting in plays ever since high school. She was in Macbeth along with more.As much as being on stage is thrilling, she said there’s a better aspect of acting. “Meeting all of the people is the best,” she said. “We all put so much dedication into it, and along the way we develop great friendships.” With any  production, there are multiple jobs that have to be completed for it to be a smooth showing. There are casting of the roles, set design, costume design, music coordinating and so on. However, there has to be someone in charg. For the 12 Angry Jurors the job belonged to senior Samantha Anderson, the stage director. “Basically I had to make sure everyone was at rehearsal, on time, make sure everyone knew where and when rehearsal was, read parts of missing actors, borrow props from other theaters, make random phone calls, (and) follow the script every night so actors could call for lines,” she said.“Being the stage manager is kind of having to be all over the place. I had to take care of the details and technical things.” With a neraly packed house both nights of parents and friends, the outcome of the production was positive. Sophomore nursing major, Sarah Herriott, went to the Saturday showing and enjoyed the diverse characters on stage. “The best thing about the play was getting to see all of the people I typically interact with...

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