Written By: Kat Walls
At OKWU, there are numerous activities for students to get involved in. There are intramurals and games such as slapstick, senior bingo, and murder mystery. There are sports to go watch like volleyball, soccer, and track. But those aren’t the only options. The music department, however, is the “unsung” hero of OKWU, and on October 9, the music department hosted the 2018 Fall Concert.
People from all over town came to see the concert, including alumni, professors, and family of the performers. Several ensembles performed, such as the OKWU Chorale, the Jazz Ensemble and the contemporary a cappella group Relentless. They performed African American spirituals, gospel pieces, a classical choral number by Beethoven, jazz arrangements of hymns, and more. For the first time ever, the Jazz Ensemble and the Chorale collaborated to perform “Africa” by Toto, which was an adventure for all involved.
Lauralyn Belden, a senior and member of both the chorale and Relentless, said, “My favorite thing about choir is the different kinds of music we work on. I like learning about different cultures and customs.” The chorale learns and performs thrilling pieces of various languages and cultures. This takes many hours spent in practice rooms, both as a group and individually.
One student spends more time in the practice room then most: Spenser White. Spenser represents the chorale as the piano accompanist. Along with being a full-time student and a member of Relentless, he learns all the vocal parts and plays the complicated parts for the choir to sing along with while learning their melodies. Spenser says, “Being both a student and an accompanist is challenging but rewarding. My favorite experience is performing a song the best we’ve ever done and the people loving it. Together, we gave the best experience ever for our audience.”
Having only been around for a couple years, the growing OKWU Jazz ensemble is another fantastic addition to the music department. Alison Theis, a freshman and first female member of jazz, says that “being in the group is a constant adventure! I love playing with the guys. They’re all fantastic to be around and very talented. I couldn’t ask for better musicians to play with.”
Whether you play, sing, or just listen, the music department is a fantastic part of our college. Dr. Jonathan Stewart and Ms. Jennifer Cunningham work vigorously to make sure that the ensembles are in top shape for people to come and enjoy. Dr. Stewart, the director of ensembles, says, “Most of the time when you think you might not like something, it means that you’ve never tried it. In the music program, we do a wide variety of [music]. And if you just come to a concert, you might find something that you didn’t know you liked– that you end up loving.”
The music groups perform in several concerts and even go on tour in the spring. The music program also hosts recitals for students who take private lessons in voice, piano, guitar, and even drums. At concerts, there is something for everyone, so come enjoy the efforts of the music department. We’d be happy to have you!
Lauralyn Belden, Worship Arts Recital – Saturday, November 10th at 2pm
Student Recital – Tuesday, November 12th at 7pm
Christmas Concert – Thursday, November 29th at 7pm
Christmas Chapel – Friday, November 30th at 10:10am