Close up of microphone in concert hall or conference room

On the Road Again: OKWU Music Department Goes on Spring Tour

Written by: Alison Theis

Have you ever been daring enough to brave the halls of the chapel’s “dungeon” after school hours on Tuesdays or Thursdays? Have you ever lost your way on a Monday or Tuesday afternoon? Amidst your wanderings throughout the halls, you may have heard the melodious rehearsals of the OKWU Chorale. The Chorale has wasted no time in these early days of the semester by preparing for their Spring tour, which is scheduled to take place April 13th-17th. The Chorale will also be joined on tour by the Jazz Ensemble and Relentless (the university’s contemporary a capella group). The three ensembles will be performing in churches in Oshkosh, NE; Colorado Springs, CO; Cañon City, CO; and Delphos, KS.

So, what makes tour so great? The performances? The churches’ loving congregations? Worshipping God as one big happy family? The memories made? Or perhaps it’s the family-like atmosphere that touring creates? The correct answer; yes- yes to all the above!

Alto singers Emma Baldwin and Kat Walls recall last year’s tour when Jazz Band member and Alto Saxophone player Alison Theis, was dared to eat a spoonful of anything but sugar. “We had been playing a game of truth or dare,” the two girls recall. “Alison agreed to eat anything that we put on the spoon, and so we were granted permission to go into our host mom’s kitchen. There we began putting different things together. Then our host mom Charlotte came in and began to add her own seasonings to the spoon.” The two both agree that Alison’s face was unforgettable as she devoured the spoonful of mustard and wheat germ, amongst other things. Alison prefers not to comment.

Lauralyn Belden, December graduate of 2018, has been newly appointed to Assistant Director Intern. This will be her first time as a staff member. However, she is still just as excited to be going on tour once more. The ensembles will also be accompanied by Music Department Director, Jennifer Cunningham. She becomes the trip mom by keeping the tour on schedule and keeping everyone laughing. Director of Ensembles, Dr. Jonathan Stewart appears excited as always. He emphasizes with a smile on his face the use of gusto within his ensemble. One can clearly see he is giddy for tour. Several freshmen agree that tour is going to be exciting and worth the anticipation and intense preparation.

Every year, Dr. Stewart takes the students in the music department on a tour, but this trip is the biggest one they have done in several years. Because of that, students are responsible for raising $200 apiece. To aid their fundraising, the music department will be selling merchandise and doing “Singing Valentines.” For your fashionable tastes, the “tour couture” can be found in various sizes in OKWU school colors of grey and navy blue. Short-sleeved t-shirts begin at $13, long-sleeved t-shirts begin at $18, sweaters begin at $22, and hoodies begin at $30.

Megan England, OKWU’s Media Relations Coordinator, graciously helped with the Music Program’s new decibel meter design featured across all merchandise options. What better way to look fancy whilst supporting your favorite Christian university’s music department? 40% of the base price of every clothing item will go directly toward an ensemble member’s funding. Each ensemble member is responsible for raising $200.00. Merchandise orders can be submitted to Dr. Stewart at

If your fashionable tastes are not satisfied by the new couture merchandise, there are options for love offerings for the members of the ensemble groups. Most importantly, however, you can show your support through prayer. Pray that the ensemble members have good, healthy rehearsals and solo practice times, safe travels on the road, and that their funding goal is met. If you’re close enough to a touring city, please feel free to come show your support in person. There is no greater fun for a performer than to see a familiar, and loving face in the audience.

Also, be on the look-out for Singing Valentines. Members of the OKWU Chorale and Relentless will be available to help you show your love and admiration for your sweetheart. They will be performing love songs around the OKWU, Bartlesville, and Dewey areas this Valentine’s Day to various loved ones. Prices for the groups to come sing range from $15-35, with an additional cost for a long-stemmed rose. To ensure delivery, contact Professor Jennifer Cunningham before 5 PM on February 13th at 918-335-6889 or Who knows? Perhaps you might receive one yourself.