Tag

theatre

Beginnings and Endings

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3A5A9049As the school season draws to a close, many students are preparing for a summer break, filled with internships, travel, and adventure before coming back to JBU in the fall.

For some students, however, this is not just the end of a semester, but the end of a life season.

As the years go by, the JBU Music and Theatre Department is obligated to say goodbye to students who are preparing themselves to graduate. It is with mutual joy for our graduates’ success and sorrow for the department’s loss JBUMT bids these incredible students farewell.

We have asked a small collection JBUMT graduating seniors for a word of wisdom to share with other current JBUMT students, incoming students, and prospective JBUMT students.

They responded with the following:

“Something I want to pass on — something I have learned through my experiences in the music department at JBU: Never let the fear of failure hold you back from building relationships with someone who intimidates you [or confuses you], learning new things that you may or may not end up enjoying or being successful at, or becoming better at things you think you’ve already mastered. At the end of the day, the choices that are the most difficult or risky or uncomfortable are the ones you will look back on and never regret.” – Jenna | Music Education

“Singing is my talent; I’m using it for God’s glory. What is your talent and who’s glory are you using it for?” – Seth | Vocal Performance

“If I were to say something to incoming and current students, it would be this: While you’re here, BE here.  Be with the people, take advantage of spontaneous fun and invest.  Embrace challenges, whether academically or personally, and be thankful for the humbling experiences that the Lord uses to sharpen you.  It is an incredible journey!” – Olivia | Public Relations, Drama

“Enjoy every single second in college, and take advantages of being in college, JBU. Do everything you want while you are here so you don’t regret after you graduate. College friends last forever so don’t lose them” – Jo | Worship Arts

“Go for everything. Audition for things you think you’ll fail at, take classes you think you’ll hate, talk to people you think you’ll annoy. You might have been right, but regret is worse than failure. Also, wash your socks & call your mom. She misses you.” – Kaitlyn | Cathedral Choir member, 2014 Best Actress in a Musical, 2015 Best Actress in a Play

John Brown University Music and Theatre Department graduates, we thank you for leaving a legacy. May the Lord ever bless you and keep you, and may His face shine upon you.

A Call to the Lionhearted

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BeBrave

A blank page is a beautiful thing, don’t you think?

It’s fresh, opportunistic, and challenging. It’s a space that’s capable of becoming anything.

Okay, maybe a blank page doesn’t always seem so exciting–at least, not to me. But, it’s my suspicion that I’m not alone in ever having felt intimidated by a blank page.

Does a blank page, with its blinking cursor or its empty blue lines, look overwhelming to you?

Does it look like the song that you’ve held in your mind for years but never transcribed? Does it look like the paper that you have to write by tomorrow, but feel incapable of finishing? Does the intimidating blankness look like all the things you’ve wanted to write and accomplish, but have never felt capable enough to complete, or even start?

No ability. No talent. Mediocre.

Perhaps your self-criticism swirls endlessly in your mind, and all the while that cursor blinks at you–no words on its left side, no ideas on its right side.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Perhaps you echo it with words confirming your self-doubt.

“I can’t.” “I can’t.” “I can’t.”

And perhaps, by simply looking at that blank page, you become increasingly aware that you’re not good enough.

You’re not capable enough.

You are worthless. 

And, isn’t it that continual rejection that we fear? We fear seeing our own inadequacies on paper, in black and white. We sit in that fear, marinate in it, and do anything to escape it, including sliding the mouse to the “X” at the top corner of the page, shutting down the computer program, crumpling up the paper, and avoiding the notion to write anything at all.

Do you want to know something strange? Every successful songwriter, novelist, playwright, or poet that I have ever studied has had trouble writing. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it really doesn’t seem strange at all that most writers struggle with writing.

You see, I’ve found that writing is more about courage than ability. You might think that you are incapable of writing that song, lyric, script, or novel.

But I think you’re wrong.

It is my sincere conviction that you do, in fact, have the ability to write–and not just write, but create–beautiful things.

William Wordsworth once said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

Allow your heart to overflow onto the words of your blank page. They don’t have to be well-constructed words; they must only be authentic words. 

You see, we all have very important stories, memories, and experiences to share–stories that come so naturally to our minds and hearts that they feel as simple as breathing. And this, dear friend, is where you must begin–have the courage to breathe in and breathe out the things of your heart.

One of my favorite moments in the children’s novel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is when Aslan, the mighty and gentle ruler of Narnia says to Susan, “You have listened to fears, child. Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?”

You have listened to fears, child.

Be unafraid. Be vulnerable enough to expose yourself to failure and rejection in the exchange of speaking things that simply must be heard.

And may the things that we speak be uttered in praise to the Lord.

It is time to inhale the breath He has given to you, and let it make you brave, once more.

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
Pour out our praise to You, only

Pick up your guitar.
Place your fingers on the keys.
Put your pen to the paper.

Breathe in, and be brave.

 

– Chelsea

“Great Are You Lord” – All Sons and Daughters
© 2012 Integrity’s Alleluia! Music

Pride and Prejudice

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Today, I got a sneak peak at the preparations for the upcoming JBU drama production, Pride and Prejudice. I also had the chance to ask some of the actors a few questions about their experience in the show so far. Watching the novel come to life on stage made me extremely excited to see the final product. Already, the production is brimming with life, wit, and charm. The cast has dedicated themselves to portray their characters with all the color that Jane Austen intended, and their work is paying off.

Joel, cast as Mr. Collins, told me about the process of bringing his on-stage character to life: “My favorite part of preparing for the show is probably figuring out which of my lines have great potential for comedy, and using different body language than I normally would.” Every small detail is important. Joel has spent a long time refining the “postures, motions, and facial expressions that distinguish this character from others I have portrayed.” Today I could see that each actor was striving for their own set of emotions and expressions that make their characters unique. Alec, who is playing Mr. Darcy, explained his character: “He is not a character you can judge from the outside alone, and I think that applies to many people in the world.”

The play is definitely taking shape, but there is still much work to be done. With less than two weeks until production, Kaitlyn, who is playing the role of Mrs. Bennet, understands the pressure of limited time. “Right now we’re trying to cram as many lines as we can into our heads,” she told me. Memorizing lines is a challenge in any play, and Pride and Prejudice is no exception. Joel explained that the dialogue for this show contains “difficult and wordy language that we no longer use,” which makes memorization even more difficult. The show places demands on the backstage crew as well. Joel also told me, “There will be no black-outs or scene changes that occur without lines. The lighting crew has a great task set before them, and it will be fantastic to watch.”

Despite the challenges of the production, the cast is enjoying themselves. In addition to the usual fun that accompanies acting on stage, Kaitlyn told me, “We’ve also discovered the joy of rapping in our British accents. Such fun!” Putting together a show like Pride and Prejudice requires a cast that is willing to band close together, and that closeness often creates lasting friendships. “At JBU specifically, the hearts of the cast are always what make the production so enjoyable and memorable,” Alec told me. Kaitlyn agreed: “I’ve been in shows with a lot of these people before and they’ve become some of my best friends.”

The biggest takeaway of the day? This show is going to be great. Alec called the script “a very fun and entertaining version of the novel.” Combine a great script with a great cast, a great crew, and a great director (Jan Lauderdale), and you have the recipe for a fantastic show.

In the words of everyone I interviewed, “You don’t want to miss this show!”  In fact, click here, and buy your tickets now!

~Steven

Steven is a Junior, majoring in Music Education. He is one of two student conductors for the JBU Cathedral Choir, the Concertmaster for the JBU Chamber Orchestra, and a talented actor in many JBU stage productions.

Choosing To Be Known

By | Music, Theatre | One Comment

I discover a lot of life when I listen and watch from the background. Given a choice, I grab a quiet spot on the perimeter of a room and just observe.

I get a front-row seat to every story in the room—a guy delivers a pick-up line that falls flat; a little girl sneaks cookie after cookie into her little purse while her mom talks intently with a friend.

Occasionally, I’ll even catch eyes with another person like me. We’ll exchange quiet nods, and never need to say a word.  We understand each other.

Wallflowers like myself can be hard to know. Sure, it’s great to avoid the risks of being noticed.  Nobody laughs when I stumble over a rug on my way to the drink table, and nobody comments on my pitch when I’m singing in the shower.  Nobody can judge the person they don’t see or hear.

But if I’m really honest, there are days when I look back and wish I’d mustered the courage to be seen.

I’m proud of our department’s outstanding people and excellent academic record. Much like me, JBU MT (Music & Theatre) has flown under the radar—not many people know what we do, how we do it, and why.  And while we may have avoided the judgement that comes with the spotlight, we have also missed out on the beauty of being known.

Today, we choose to step forward and be seen.  Today, we choose to be known.

On these pages you’ll find reflections, discoveries, and stories from students, faculty and alumni.  In everything, you’ll find evidence of our passions for music, theatre, worship, liberal arts, and the Kingdom of God.  You’ll also find a lot of honesty, some laughs and maybe even a few tears.

So, join us.  Ask questions.  Walk a day in our shoes.

And we can choose to be known together.

~ Jen Edwards

Jen Edwards is the Head of the Department of Music & Theatre at John Brown University.