He called the audience to its feet, but this time the setting wasn’t Bross Gym.
Sam Hebert, in a T-shirt and jeans, stood at the edge of the ornate stage of the historic Mount Baker Theater with his acoustic guitar. Mic stands and amps, for the two large bands’ following performances, surrounded him.
Grinning, he invited the audience to sing along with him in one of the set’s four original songs. He got them to clap along and garnered whoops for his spoken word riffs. Outside, his first merchandise sold in the hall beside the Kings Kaleidoscope table.
The Seattle-based 10-piece alternative rock band headlined the concert, a benefit for Skookum Kids, an organization aiding healthy transitions into foster care. The online concert ad promised, “Add newcomer, Sam Hebert, and this should be a show to remember!” It was his first show, but he isn’t new to playing before big crowds.
Opening night of “You Can’t Take it With You,” The Master’s University theater team were able to express the fruits of their labor.
“You Can’t Take it With You” is a classic comedy about a dysfunctional family. One of the leads, Alice, is engaged to be married to a young man from a wealthy and altogether ordinary family—at least he is ordinary compared to her family. This engagement brings her joy and trepidation, as she considers the impact her family will make upon her fiance’s family. A disastrous family meeting ends with both sides of the family spending the night in jail, and a broken engagement. Alice packs her things to leave, but is stopped by an interesting exchange between her grandfather and the father of her ex-fiancé. These two men discuss what is really important in life. Not money or success, but life, family and fun. The families reunite, the engagement is reinstated, and the curtain falls.
On April 29 at the final chapel of the school year at The Master’s College, a scientist will wake to find himself alone in space.
The science fiction short film, “DRIFT” was created by students of the college from multiple classes in the film branch of the school’s Communication Department. Scripted by a team taking professor Matt Green’s screenwriting course, the film is the largest and most ambitious production to come from the department since it began offering courses in film more than 15 years ago.
The annual talent show at The Master’s College brought over 600 students together in Bross Gymnasium for a night of laughter and fellowship.
The Monty’s, previously known as Spring Sing, started as a small event about 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest events on campus.
“The Monty’s…has been a longstanding tradition at TMC,” said Pete Bargas, associate dean of student life. “It’s another opportunity for us to collectively relax, laugh at ourselves, and acknowledge that there is much unrecognized talent among us.”
The night consisted of 11 musical acts, broken up by comments from Dylan Grimes, Christopher Sue and Steve Ross, this year’s panel of judges. Haley Veilleux and Ryan Bennett hosted the event, creating an upbeat atmosphere that mimicked an awards show.
Students participated by texting their votes for the best act at the end of the night. First, second and third place acts received cash prizes.
Josiah Owinyo, Mike Jackson, Daniel Nakamura, Stevie Noch, Zach Wullbrandt, Michael O’Brien, Andrew Bush, Sam Hebert and Ben Emberley made up an a cappella group that took home the $300 prize for first place.
The group performed an eight-minute Disney medley, complete with choreography and costumes, which kept the audience laughing and singing along.
“It was fun because we kept having faculty and students coming up to us afterwards and telling us how much they enjoyed our act,” Owinyo said. “I think the Monty’s give people the chance to be known. There are people who have legitimate talent and haven’t had the opportunity to connect with a lot of people.”
Students in attendance echoed Owinyo’s sentiment.
“It brings the campus together. The whole TMC community comes out, so it’s a good opportunity to meet people,” said junior Stephanie Ott.
Timothy Caballero, chairman of the event, credits the Monty’s success to the unity of the campus. His goal was to bring the school together, regardless of dorms and majors, for a night of fun.
“It’s different than a typical Friday night,” said Caballero. “Students don’t have to spend any money or plan in advance. They just show up to make easy memories with their friends.”
In the future, the leadership team hopes to see a greater variety of acts participate in the event.
The smell of popcorn begged TMC students to enter the C. W. Smith lounge on the night of March 17. As they walked in, they witnessed C3 Unity’s display of the semester’s S.O.A.Pbox.
Several days before, a poster in the Lower Cafeteria featured the words “CDub going up on a Tuesday.” Another poster pinned on the student board described the meaning of these words, and provided a date and time of the event. With their artistically unique detail, they provided the students with a glimpse of what it was going to be about.
As soon as the students entered the room, a mixture of dim lighting, Christian rap, and popcorn greeted them. There were many new faces, some the students had never seen. The look of curiosity was evident as many of them walked into an unfamiliar event.
Fifteen minutes before the show, TMC student Sam Hebert quietly sat down and rehearsed his lines. Meanwhile others, like senior Paul Alkhato, awaited their turn to approach the mic. As seen on the event posters days before, some students approached the C3 Unity club with a desire to perform, while Steve Ross, the club staff advisor, asked others.
Before the first performer, C3Unity President David Mendoza explained the meaning behind the acronym S.O.A.P. Coined by TMC Alum Edward Robinson, the words stand for sophistically opinionated artistically passionate. This is exactly what C3Unity desired to put on display that evening as it provided students with a medium to express their creativity through poetic verses.
Comprised of a 20 member team, C3 Unity is a multicultural club that celebrates the diversity of the body of Christ as demonstrated in Colossians 3:11. It meets every Friday at 2 p.m., to plan and coordinate events like the S.O.A.Pbox. Stationed forever with ASB, and supported by Ross, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Advancement, it laboriously strives to promote cross cultural relationships.
“C3 Unity celebrates the barrier breaking power of the gospel… It also celebrates the unity in the body of Christ with a focus on the Christian witness,” Ross said.
This club desires to get the whole school to be a part of events in which the atmosphere might be possibly unknown to many. For example, students like Alkhato, a communication major, were able to express their creativity.
“We’re trying to get new faces to come out. It’s an open club and we want everyone to join,” said C3Unity member, Sarah Hutchinson.
Snapping after each performance, and attention were required as the students munched on their nachos, and watched the first performer approach the mic. Troy Christmas began the night by speaking about the gospel in the sense of our depravity, and was followed by Simeon Washington who shared his personal testimony.
After several acts, there was an intermission, which permitted the students to socialize, eat more free food and purchase a Smiths Smoothie.
The night ended with Nick Bravo, one of the guest speakers who Ross asked to perform. God’s greatness was the focus of the event. Bravo tied it back to the talents we do possess, and the origin of those.
“We tend to worship men that exercise His power,” said Bravo.
It was lines like these that caught Brittany Anderson’s attention that night. A faithful attendee of the S.O.A.P.boxes.
“I love S.O.A.P.boxes because I don’t get to listen to them very often,” she said. “I am always blessed by [them]. I often hear people say S.O.A.P.boxes are boring…but that kinda discourages me. All you have to do is listen to the words the speakers are saying. I wish the whole school would have been here.”
Just like Anderson, C3Unity C3 desires to integrate the student body in a creative way, through its S.O.A.Pbox.
Master’s College Electronic Media majors enrolled in Directing II this semester will release two short films on April 19, with the help of a hired crew of film and television industry professionals.
Directing II is a capstone course that takes Electronic Media students through the entire process of producing a film, from pitching a storyboard to directing on set. At the end of the course, students possess material they can show perspective employers in the area of video production.
Matt Green, professor of Directing II, came to TMC in the fall of 2014 with a desire to give his students real-world experience.
“The whole idea is I want the students to be able to leave here with stuff they can immediately have on their resume,” Green said.
Bob Dickson, professor and Communications Department Chair, is always looking for ways to improve his students’ classroom experience with hands-on learning opportunities.
“That’s one of the things I love about Professor Green,” Dickson said. “His commitment to connecting students to the realities of what it means to be a professional in video production. He’s always thinking of how to bring that reality into the classroom.”
Eight teams of students from Directing II pitched storyboards to Green and Dickson in February.
“We had criteria,” Green explained. “We looked at how professional the presentation was, whether or not we wanted to embrace the subject matter and … whether or not we felt the students that presented it could pull it off.”
Green and Dickson selected two films to produce. Cammy Ylo, a communication major, was among the four directors chosen.
“My co-director is Kelli Clark,” she explained. “We spent about 20 hours preparing our pitch. We had five minutes to go to Professor Dickson and Professor Green and just tell them, ‘This is our story and this is why you should pick us to direct.’”
Ylo and Clark received the scripts for “Murder of Crowe,” their short film, on Feb. 17. Green worked alongside another screenwriter to develop the story. The next steps include auditioning actors from the Screen Actors Guild and scouting locations.
Jeff Caparula and Kimberly Smither, co-directors of “Life of Death,” also received the green light from Green and Dickson. The rest of the class will take crew positions, helping the directors shoot the films over the course of two days with a hired crew. Because both projects involve professional cast and crew members, all students will receive IMBd recognition for their work, and the films will be officially registered in that database.
“Murder of Crowe,” and “Life of Death” are set to premiere in the dorms spring semester, 2015. More details to follow.
Amy Mack is not a paleontologist. The prospect of years going by without a bone to show for it drove her away from her dream job. At the age of 8, she forsook the field and devoted herself to music. She has not deviated from that path since.
While it was Amy’s twin sister, Wendy, who first showed interest in composing, Amy’s enthusiasm soon outstripped Wendy’s. What started as harmonizing with her sister gave way to hours spent in front of a piano, creating. When stuck, Amy would ask Wendy to make up a story which she would build her music around.
“She’s always been really good – always been really passionate about her music… very innovative,” Wendy says. Having been self-taught for most of her life, Amy did not begin to receive formal training until shortly before starting college.
Apart from music, Amy also writes poetry, some of which she then sets to music.
“For as long as I can remember, she’s been writing poetry” Wendy says. “And really good poetry… I remember the Columbia exploded, she wrote a poem about it; 9/11 happened, she wrote a poem about it. Different things, good or bad. Snow fell, she wrote a poem about it.”
Now a senior music composition major at The Master’s College, Amy is still setting stories to music. One of her latest works, based on George MacDonald’s “The Light Princess,” a fairy tale about a princess cursed with weightlessness, will be premiering on Feb. 27 at Grace Baptist Church with another performance being given at The Master’s College on March 6.
George MacDonald (1824-1905) has influenced fantasy authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, E. Nesbit, and C.S. Lewis. The allegorical tale of “The Light Princess” served as inspiration for Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
“It’s an incredibly powerful story,” Amy says.
The response to the piece has been enthusiastic, with the 60 piece orchestra of Grace Baptist Church volunteering to perform it and the other works featured in the concerts. Jay Wegter, an artist, pastor and adjunct Bible professor at The Master’s College, has contributed 10 paintings for “The Light Princess” which will be displayed at the events.
The Light Princess has been called graduate-level work, far exceeding what could be expected of an undergraduate at a liberal arts college. Amy began working on the piece this past April.
“I’ve gotten to see her develop it from the ground up,” says Sarah Wallin Huff. Huff has been teaching music composition at The Master’s College since September of 2012. “…I love it. I absolutely love it. She grew so much in her work.”
Though The Light Princess is the headlining piece, Amy was inspired to put on the concerts by one of her other works entitled Father Forgive Them which is based on Luke 23:34.
“That verse really impacted me,” Amy says. “And the words just started coming and then I had this tune I couldn’t get out of my head no matter what I tried and I realized I needed to write it down… Writing that song, I realized that it felt like God was calling me to use music for Him.”
Amy sees music as more than a means of entertainment. To her, it is a powerful tool for sharing her faith.
“Music reaches past the intellect and touches the heart,” Amy says. “…words can be easily filtered out, but music bypasses all of a person’s filters. So in a sense, I can use music to reach someone who doesn’t want to listen to anything else.”
As politicians and peacekeepers from around the world took their lunch break in the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, they didn’t know what they were in for. Many were in mid-chew when sixty or so Americans stood up and began singing, “I will never be afraid. God is my rock.”
This is just a snapshot from one of the many international tours that The Master’s Chorale has taken over the years. They have also been to Israel (many times), Spain, and England to name a few. But this year they will do two big things they have never done before. For the first time they will be joining with Global Outreach under the label of a summer missions trip travelling for the first time to the Balkans, an area in southeast Europe, specifically Albania and Croatia.
Dr. Lisa LaGeorge, director of Global Outreach for The Master’s College, and Dr. Paul Plew, director of The Master’s Chorale, will be working together to make sure the students are fully equipped for this unique expedition. While Plew trains them to be the best musically that they can be, LaGeorge will be training them in other ways.
“Dr. Plew and I have been talking about this for a few years,” LaGeorge said. “We are becoming more and more convinced that we need to provide the students with additional tools both be more effective on the field when they get there and to utilize the experience for the benefit of the church and the students’ growth when they return.”
Chorale has always been taught that each music performance is a unique platform into people’s lives. The work doesn’t end when the students are done singing. As soon as Plew’s hand drops to begin the piano postlude, the singers step out into the audience to introduce themselves.
Then in each debrief, Plew asks the students about any significant conversations they had. For an international trip, it is even more crucial that the students be prepared to work with the cultural barriers and exhaustion they will face.
That’s where Global Outreach come in.
“We prepare students logistically, spiritually, mentally, and vocationally to travel,” LaGeorge said. “The goal behind our trips is the glorification of God in our vocations and in our interactions with people whether they be here in the states or overseas. So we’ve tried to produce trips that will be significant for the host’s ministry or for the individuals that the students meet. As a side benefit to the gospel going out our students grow in the process.”
This trip is an opportunity for the students that are unable to go on other ministry teams because of Chorale. Sara Owinyo, a senior vocal performance major, was never able to go on a foreign missions trip because of the commitments she had towards Chorale and Majesty, another singing group, in the summer.
But now that Chorale is a GO trip, she has a lot to look forward to. “It’s exciting to hear about all of the opportunities we’re going to have. I’m excited to see how many doors are opened because of music because music is such a relatable thing around the world,” she said.
For some people, this trip may sound like a vacation. After all, they are travelling to a little-known jewel of the earth, and their main line of work will be singing, not building houses, not teaching English to little Albanian children. But it’s much more than that.
“Much of what the chorale does is to sew seeds for the people who are there,” Plew said. “It’s going to be a mouth-dropping situation when we get off the bus and start singing Tap-Tap [a song in Haitian Creole]. They’ve never heard anything like it. Then we sing something they can understand or we sing something about God. If you’re really good, then people will say, ‘Wow, I really have to check that out.’ . . . We’re not building houses. We’re building into people’s lives.”
The music itself is critical, not just the ministry beyond the music.
“Music is a way that we can preach principles of Scripture. It’s a way that we can preach the Word. It’s a way that we can sing something that has beauty, many times way beyond what people have heard and there’s no question: God is a God of beauty. Just creating beauty through instruments—that represents a measure of who God is,” Plew said.
The concerts hosted by the churches are important—that’s where the church people have a chance to make contacts in the community. They are the ones who will continue to pour into the lives of the people of the country long after the chorale is gone.
But those aren’t the only concerts that happen. Chorale often holds spontaneous concerts in shopping malls or other random locations along their way as they did at the United Nations office in Geneva.
The Master’s College has poured a great deal into Albania previous to any plans for the chorale’s trip. The Academic Dean, Dr. John Stead wrote a book about education that is familiar to and read by the educators of Albania. Missions teams have been sent out by Global Outreach to Albania before, specifically sent to help graduates of The Master’s College who work there.
It was a graduate of TMC who invited chorale to come in the first place.
“He said that the time has come. This is the time for the chorale to come,” Plew recalled.
This is another chance for TMC to pour into Albania and into the people who live there. It’s a unique opportunity, a singing group sixty-five strong who can open doors that otherwise might remain untouched. This is why they must be properly prepared, a goal that both Plew and LaGeorge will help to fulfill.
The Master’s College Music Department performed its 31st annual Christmas concert beginning Dec. 4-6. Led by Dr. Paul Plew, the Music Department Chair, Tricia Hulet, Director of Theater Arts, and various staff members, four concerts were accomplished with the help of almost 200 student participants who are currently pursuing a degree in music as well as many volunteers and alumni of the college.
The production was hosted in the MacArthur Center.
Taking over 60 hours for set up alone, the show included an array of decorations and electronics. This included live Christmas trees, fake snow, stage set props for carolers, fog machines, lights and an enormous chandelier. The family friendly atmosphere, and musical professionalism provided aid in cultivating an environment that ushered in the Christmas season through song.
“Every year the concert has changed a little more and more to be better for the patrons and to be a blessing to them. For a lot of people it is what starts their Christmas season, and today at the Matinee we had people who had been coming for over 15 years. One lady was 99 years old. It’s a tradition for many people in this community. The music ministers in a way that just words alone can’t,” said Michael Jackson, Chorale Member.
The concert originally began in upper Rutherford Hall, eventually making its way to the gymnasium in recent years. It continues to be nonprofit as all of the initial proceeds from ticket sales go directly toward production costs.
“This is the sixth concert that I’ve been involved in and this is definitely the most professional looking that we’ve ever done. We brought in outside companies to setup and had them attend the concert which was so great because most of them are unsaved,” said James Phillipps, an alumni of the college.
This year’s production not only resulted in blessing members of the community, but also those who were involved. The Chorale team earned financial support for their future trip to Albania from donation jars scattered through the venue. The team plans to leave on May 9 and return home the 27th of the same month. The team plans to encourage the evangelical church in the Balkan, in countries such as: Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Herzegovina in addition to Albania.
“The purpose of the Chorale is to minister to believers and just to be an encouragement to their hearts. It’s cool that we can reach the community right outside our door and also be able to go overseas and minister to the same type of people 7,000 miles away,” Said Meghan Griffin, a Chorale Member.
Despite the busy schedule that comes upon each full-time student at the end of the semester, this group of college undergrads found a refreshing energy in doing something with a purpose.
“Music is a very powerful thing when involved in it. You can’t wait to do it. You can’t wait to experience the dessert of it all as the energy starts building. You walk into this, with the orchestra, and it begins to take on a life of its own. Every concert got stronger. They did as well as any choir in the world. I really mean that, because they mean it,” Plew said.