Slam poet aids students

All people have natural storytelling skills as human beings, professional spoken word artist Kane Smego said. On Friday, March 14, Smego taught a free slam poetry workshop and performed with students at Unplugged in the Mind and Hearth. Smego tried to avoid poetry throughout his adolescent years, but became involved in spoken word at age 19 after being invited to an International Poetry Slam by a former high school teacher.

“Poetry is seen as a thing that only exists in books...and is hard to understand,” Smego said.

Through his workshops, Smego erases that misconception and encourages people to tell their stories through words.

Students participating in the workshop were asked to choose an important moment of their lives and write vividly about it in exactly 30 words. Many found that difficult, but afterward Smego asked the students to cut their poems down to 20 words, followed by 10 words and finally six. Through this exercise, students learned that poems can sometimes be most effective when they are concise and the words are carefully chosen.

Junior Sarah Cruz found the exercise to be one of the most valuable parts of the event.

“[The workshop] showed me that poems can become more powerful the less you’ve said,” Cruz said.

Students were then asked to craft poems in the style of spoken word artist G Yamazawa’s piece “10 Things You Should Know About Being an Asian in the South.” Freshman Annika Bratton performed the “10 Things” poem she wrote during the workshop at Unplugged later that night.

Later that evening in the Mind & Hearth, Smego shared several powerful poems chronicling his life with a difficult father, his love for his mother and how the media uses people to market products.

During the performance, Smego also performed several haikus and a humorous poem about time travel. Cruz, sophomore Nicholas Fuller and freshman Hannah Howell performed poems they had written before the workshop and received overwhelmingly positive reactions from the crowd.

“This was my first poetry slam and I was really impressed,” sophomore Annette Peppel said after the performance.

“I’ve recently gained interest in poetry, and this brought me in deeper to the poetry culture,” Cruz said about her performance.

Many of Cruz’s poems discuss hardships she has gone through.

As a professional spoken word artist, Smego sometimes finds it hard to create new material because of his frequent performances. To stay inspired, Smego tries to jot down a line or concept whenever one crosses his mind, and to be prepared for any moment of inspiration.

Sometimes a writer must sit down and break through that dam of writer’s block, Smego said.

Smego encourages students to pursue spoken word, and hopes to aid them by teaching workshops and traveling to schools, as well as prisons and juvenile detention centers, where his workshops teach leadership roles as well as poetry and hip hop.  He believes that if people love what they do, and they are passionate about it and do it very well, they can make their lives out of it.

“If you take two steps forward, God will lead you the rest of the way,” Smego said.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Club Update: Association for Computing Machinery

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is Whitworth’s resident computer science club. The club helps to organize students majoring and minoring in computer science, as well as organizing programs for all students to help them learn computer programming. “ACM’s purpose is to educate and promote computer science in all aspects of life, for everyone,” Bryan Hassel, co-vice president of web development for ACM said.

There are eight people on leadership for ACM. They have a president, two co-vice presidents of web development, an executive vice president, two co-vice presidents of gaming, a treasurer and a secretary.

Hassel led an HTML/CSS workshop last Thursday in the Eric Johnson Science Center.

“Programming really helps you in all disciplines. It gives you a new way to think of and understand the world of technology that we’re living in,” Hassel said.

The club has no regular meeting schedule, but offers numerous workshops and opportunities throughout the year.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Review: Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project Album

For such a youthful musician, banjoist Jayme Stone is fascinated with the past. His latest album, The Lomax Project, is an enthusiastic exploration of the musical history of America. Sourced from the Library of Congress holdings curated by Alan Lomax, who spent his life collecting recordings of traditional American music, Stone’s project contains 19 songs that encompass a wide range of musical styles. From cowboy songs to sea shanties and hymns, Stone’s work brings to life again many songs that have brought people together for generations. The introduction of Stone’s extensive liner notes, a 50-plus page booklet that explores the provenance of each track on the album, calls this a collaborative project, and that is made clear listening to the songs. Stone’s banjo playing is not overpowering, as one might expect on an album by such a prolific banjoist. Though some songs do feature the strong banjo that I expected, that gives way to songs that subvert expectations and explore a truly large spectrum of sound.

The opening track, “Lazy John,” is a further tribute to Lomax, coming from the sole album that he recorded of his own music. The tune is one that would be perfectly placed at a barn dance, and is an upbeat and exciting opening to the album. Singer Margaret Glaspy, who is featured as vocalist on nearly every track, has an infectious and hypnotizing voice. The versatility of her unique style stands out especially on an album where so many different musical styles are encompassed, and is surprisingly suited to the classic folk sound of “Lazy John” as well as the more somber sea shanty “Shenandoah” and the African-inspired Caribbean hymn “I Want to Hear Somebody Pray.”

“Before This Time Another Year” is a bluesy tune updated by the addition of several verses written by Tim O’Brien, who also sings on the track. It is a testament to both O’Brien’s writing and the collaborative power of the musicians that Stone has collected here that the song is such a smooth and introspective exploration of the passing of time that sounds whole and not like it is pieced together from other parts. Had the liner notes not shared O’Brien’s lyrical additions, I would have been hard pressed to know that the song had been changed at all.

Though the album contains many somber and spiritual tracks, there is a clear sense of humor from this group of musicians. On “Maids When You’re Young,” Stone’s light and playful banjo is beautifully complemented by the graceful fiddle melody of Brittany Haas, which lightheartedly accompany lyrics warning women of the hazards of marrying older men, such as “when we went to bed, me being young … he lay like he was dead.”

Overall, the album highlights not only these songs of rich history but also the sundry talents of the musicians that came together to shape this album into a fun trip through the diverse history of American music. As a whole, the album does a great job evoking the lives of those who sung these songs long before Stone or Lomax collected them for a wider audience, but it never feels outdated or like a history lesson. With the accompanying liner notes that lend such interesting context to each track, this album is a must for anyone interested in musical history or Americana.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Club Update: Pre-Law Society

The Pre-Law Society “provides resources and support for students who are interested in going to law school or pursuing a law degree” said freshman and club member Phillip Allevato. The club began meeting last semester. The creation of the club was influenced heavily by professor Julia Stronks, but was brought into fruition by club president Jonathan Kim and vice president Norann Beidas.

The club is comprised of students hoping to pursue law careers, but is open to anyone who has interest in law. There is no defined pre-law track at Whitworth, so the club provides necessary support to those students wanting to head in that direction.

“My favorite part of being in the club is the informational side. I’ve already learned so much,” said Allevato.

Kim, president of the club, is currently in the process of applying for law school and is sharing his step-by-step experience with the other members. He is also interviewing current law students about their experience and sharing that information with the club as well.

Two weeks ago, club members had the opportunity to hear a lecture given by a law professor from Willamette University College of Law.

The club meets every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in the coffee shop. Their next meeting is March 12th.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

These Shining Lives brings historical tragedy to life

Chronicling the heartbreaking true story of Catherine Donohue, one of the “Radium Girls” of the 1920s and 1930s, These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich is running March 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 as Whitworth Theatre’s spring production. These Shining Lives, directed by guest director Susan Hardie, was performed by a small cast consisting of sophomore Alanna Hamilton as Catherine Donohue, junior Molly Daniels, junior Becca Seideman and sophomore Hayley O’Brien as the Catherine’s coworkers, sophomore Weston Whitener as Tom Donohue, Catherine’s husband, and senior Bryan Peterson as Mr. Reed, Catherine’s boss. This cast of six is the smallest for a Mainstage production in a long time, Hamilton said.

[Having a small cast] really encouraged us to get to know each other. The girls especially have to have a really bantery dynamic like they’re just talking, and they have to portray that they’ve been working together for nine years,” Hamilton said. This organic relationship between characters was difficult to achieve at first, Hamilton said, but was convincing throughout the play.

Hamilton, a theater and business double major, started acting in the second grade, and has had several roles in Whitworth Theatre productions during her time as a student here. Last year, she played Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, and for The Drowsy Chaperone last fall, she was a member of the ensemble. However, playing a real historical figure such as Catherine Donohue was a new experience for Hamilton.

“Because she was real, it kind of raises the stakes that you get [the performance] right, that you perform and bring her honor and respect her,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton perfected her performance as Donohue through character analysis and digging into Donohue’s background, with the assistance of guest director Susan Hardie. Hardie often works with the Spokane Civic Theatre, and won a Kaleidoscope award for directing Turn of the Screw in 2011.

Hardie previously directed All My Sons at Whitworth in 2012. By using improv exercises to help the cast learn more about their characters, Hardie proved to be a different style of director than Hamilton and other cast members had experienced before.

“She was very intimate, like a one-on-one style of director. She always really stressed knowing the meaning of the words,” Hamilton said.

The play’s script is very poetic, featuring several monologues by Hamilton and the other cast members. It also has moments of political and personal tension, which add drama and suspense to the performance.

“I really like my ending monologue because even though it’s a sad ending, [the monologue] gives a lot of hope and shines a light,” Hamilton said.

Freshman political science major Anna Burt also enjoyed Hamilton’s ending monologue about time.

“It was really good,” Burt said. Although Burt had not attended a Whitworth Theatre production in the past, she enjoyed These Shining Lives and used words such as “phenomenal” and “outstanding” to describe it.

The Whitworth Theatre production of These Shining Lives continues March 13 and 14 at 7:30 pm in Cowles Auditorium Mainstage.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Writer-in-residence focuses on local stories

Although many do, writers do not need to live in big cities such as New York or San Francisco to be successful. On Thursday, Feb. 24, local author and Whitworth Writer-in-Residence Jess Walter answered questions about his literary beginnings, writing process and childhood in Spokane. As Writer-in-Residence, Walter held several free literary events on campus. The event filled the Robinson Teaching Theatre with English majors, community members and fans of Walter’s work. Each of Walter’s books have been a “radical departure from the last one,” said senior lecturer Thom Caraway, who was facilitating the conversation with Walter.

Walter has written everything from nonfiction to novels to short stories.

Instead of enrolling in a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program like many writers do, Walter started his writing career as a journalist for The Spokesman-Review.

“I took the service entrance into literature,” Walter said.

Walter spent much of his time as a journalist reporting on crime stories, and looking for a story big enough to write a book about, Walter said. During this time, he wrote and attempted to publish many short stories, but was often rejected by the institutions he sent them to.

After years as a journalist, Walter found inspiration that manifested itself in “Ruby Ridge,” a nonfiction crime novel documenting a confrontation between the Weaver family of northern Idaho and the federal government.

The early manuscript of “Ruby Ridge” was rejected multiple times before Walter was contacted by a publisher offering him $30,000 to finish the novel. He agreed to write it without hiring an agent, Walter said.

Following his publishing debut, Walter had several jobs ghostwriting nonfiction crime novels, including one documenting the O.J. Simpson murder trial. However, Walter soon entered the world of fiction novels in 2001 with Over Tumbled Graves.

“I’m usually writing to get the taste of the last thing out of my mouth,” Walter said, about his tendency to genre-hop.

During the interview, Caraway asked about Walter’s decision to stay in Spokane as a writer, when many people choose to leave, and his continual inclusion of Spokane in his writing.

“There’s an entire narrative about Spokane that runs through [my] work,” Walter said.

Several stories are set in Spokane; in others characters travel to Spokane and in others it is mentioned.

Although he used to feel ambivalent toward the Spokane area in general, he now feels a “fierce love” toward the city, and that is at the beginning of a cultural boom, Walter said.

“There’s just this great energy downtown,” Walter said. Art is returning to the city in several ways, including the Spokane International Film Festival, various art gallery spaces and on a more humorous level, non-ironic diners.

Walter believes that there is no “us and them” dichotomy between good and bad people. Because of this, his protagonists are flawed and not always likable, yet relatable. He is interested in the gradation of ethics and morals, and the idea that people imagine they are more different from others than they really are, Walter said.

Students and community members found Walter’s discussion thought-provoking, and many asked perceptive questions during the Q&A session.

“I really liked how open he was about sharing his process of writing, he was down to earth and funny,” said Elizabeth Merriam, a junior English major who attended the lecture.

Walter’s newest novel, “Beautiful Ruins,” was published in 2012 and won many awards, including  New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His books are available at most bookstores around the area.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Musical historian, composer, and banjoist explores American folk tradition in decades-old recordings

Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project seeks to bring the work of noted folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax to a contemporary audience. Stone has extensively researched Lomax’s recordings and created a new album of 19 songs, accompanied by extended liner notes that explore the provenance of each song. With this work, Stone is attempting to bring a piece of early American music history to a new audience, he says.

Lomax worked in the field for over 60 years after beginning his work in 1933 with his father, John Avery Lomax, a folklorist and musician. The father and son team spent years collecting thousands of recordings of music in order to  “expand the holdings of recorded folk music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress (established 1928), gathering thousands of field recordings of folk musicians throughout the American South, Southwest, Midwest and Northeast, as well as in Haiti and the Bahamas,” according to the Association for Cultural Equity.

Lomax’s work is extensive and includes thousands of recordings, photographs, manuscripts and videos, all in all representing almost one “1,000 culture groups from around the world,” according to The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Stone, a Canadian native, is also interested in musical traditions from around the world and has spent two years researching Lomax’s work. Stone worked to collect a variety of songs and share their provenance and importance in the history of the North American musical tradition. Stone worked with 15 musicians on the project and has hailed it as a collaborative effort.

“The work with these particular musicians has been so joyful,” Stone said. “Everyone has been so generous … even when it came to record, we were still rearranging and writing new lyrics … the whole thing has just felt very alive and engaged.”

The album includes sea shanties, hymns and cowboy songs, each with accompanying notes from Stone based on the research of Lomax. Stone is attempting to reinvigorate those pieces of post-war American history to illustrate the influence the  music has had on everything that has come after it.

That is important to Stone now as he explores the roots of the music that is listened to now. Stone hopes to increase appreciation of the provenance and history of each of the songs in this collection.

“A song carries with it the history and story of the people who created it,” Stone said. “When these songs were created, they would bring people together … people were using songs to create togetherness often while they did very intensive manual labor, whether it was aboard a fishing vessel or county road gang, they used songs to keep their spirits afloat.”

With this project, contemporary listeners can experience a significant part of American history. Stone played the Bing Crosby Theater on Feb. 25 as part of his tour in support of The Lomax Project.

Stone’s album, officially titled “The Lomax Project,” will be released on March 3. Information on the album, including a short documentary and videos of selected songs, can be found at www.jaymestone.com.

 

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Acting major cherishes spiritual joy

Madeleine L’Engle, author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” once said that there is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred. Junior theater major Rebecca Seideman exemplifies that ideal. She tries to serve God in all things that she does, especially within her major. She is inspired by the idea of ministry through theater.

“I want to represent God in a good way in the professional acting community,” Seideman said.

Seideman has been involved in theater for seven years. She became interested in theater when she moved to a new state and became enrolled in a huge high school. Her mother was in charge of picking her classes and put her in beginning drama.

“I was absolutely terrified,” Seideman said.

Since then theater has been an integral part of her life. Seideman recently experienced a death in her family and theater helped her to process the tragedy and keep going.

“When you think about how fragile life can be, suddenly nothing else matters but to pursue passion,” Seideman said.

Seideman likes that theater brings together a whole group of people that would otherwise never be in the same room with each other. Theater has given her a new way to look at people and has shown her the importance of empathy—for characters and for people.

“I wish that I had a way to concisely describe how important theater is to me,” Seideman said.

She has lost count of how many shows she has been in, but her involvement with theater goes further than acting.

She is involved in many of senior projects, has participated in the Broadway Unbound dance showcase every year she’s attended Whitworth and had the opportunity to collaborate with directors and designers in New York. She is the stage carpenter, is in the mainstage production, and is co-leading and starring in Cool Whip this spring. She sometimes has rehearsal for upwards of five hours a day.

“I have to keep my sanity and remember what’s important,” Seideman said.

Something else that is very important to Seideman is her involvement with the homeless.

Last summer, Seideman moved to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco, which houses a large homeless population. She said that although it’s a disadvantaged neighborhood, most of the sadness and depravity is in the houses, not on the streets. She worked with the organization City Impact and ran a rescue mission in the district. They coordinated food and services, prayed with people and distributed much-needed items such as clothes.

Junior Rebecca Seideman hopes to use theater to help disadvantaged youth.   Jeanette Vazquez | Photographer

Seideman has many homeless friends and says that the homeless population is misunderstood. She said that they are suffering from a “spiritual starvation.”

“The real problem is addiction and lack of spiritual support,” Seideman said.

Seideman has thought about completely engrossing herself into the homeless population, but has decided that she can better serve them through art.

“There’s something inherently spiritual about art,” Seideman said.

Seideman finds her inspiration in people and the quirky things they do. She has a rule that she is aware when she is anywhere. She watches people to inspire characters.

This summer, Seideman plans to temporarily move to San Francisco to be trained and certified in InterPlay, a technique using stories, movement and voice to unlock wisdom. After her certification, she would like to use that technique to help the disadvantaged youth and homeless population in San Francisco, using InterPlay as a sort of therapy.

After she graduates, she plans to marry her fiancé, whom she met while in San Francisco, and possibly moving to New York to become an Equity actor.

Seideman’s advice to other artists and people is to live for right now, accept help, not be afraid, and most importantly: to laugh.

“Laugh. Just laugh at everything. It makes life more bearable,” Seideman said.

Seideman will perform in the mainstage production, “These Shining Lives,”  opening March 6 in Cowles Auditorium.

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Nashville singer takes Whitworth audiences in stride

The sounds of shimmering guitar, cascading piano and harmonized vocals filled the HUB Multi-Purpose Room last Wednesday night as singer-songwriter Ben Rector delivered an intimate performance of his original music to an enthusiastic Whitworth audience. The concert, sponsored by ASWU, was a detour for Rector, who is currently on a U.S. tour promoting his most recent album, “The Walking in Between.”

Rector, accompanied by the pianist/guitarist from his full band, treated his audience to a nine-song set spanning just over an hour.

The song listing had something for everyone, as the set ranged from the gritty blues of “Follow You” to the Sunday-morning charm of “I Like You” to the haunting loneliness of “Sailboat.”

Captivating his audience, Rector elicited laughter, clapping, cheers and introspective silence from the assembled students, fans and faculty.

Lasting impressions were left on the minds of those who attended, even those unfamiliar with the performer before the live event.

“I love the energy of this guy,” freshman Abe Khieran said after the concert. “He has a unique, unorthodox presence when he is playing. His style is inspirational.”

Performance and showmanship is nothing new for the veteran musician. Rector was born and raised in suburban Oklahoma. After obtaining a university degree, he immersed himself in his craft by moving to the musical metropolis of Nashville, Tennessee. His first album, “Songs That Duke Wrote,” was released in 2008. Since, Rector has released five more full-length studio albums, a live album and an EP of Huey Lewis and the News covers, titled “Newy Lewis and the Hues.”

Despite his seasoned career, the show was Rector’s first visit to Spokane. Fortunately, his maiden voyage to the city unfurled much more pleasantly than he had anticipated.

“Spokane is much more beautiful than I thought it would be,” Rector said after originally being skeptical about the merits of the cold, wintery region. For the singer, the Whitworth show was just one day removed from a stay in Malibu, California.

Pleased by the event’s attendance, Rector further revealed that before the show, he thought that “there were not gonna be enough people to line the front row.” By the time the show began, the MPR was filled, leaving standing room only.

ASWU Activities Coordinator Laurel Cornwell was thrilled by the event’s success.

“I heard about Ben Rector through a student request,” Cornwell said. “I added his name to a survey—containing about 20 artists—that went out to the students. They voted for which performer to bring to campus and Ben Rector won.”

Cornwell was further impressed by the students’ overwhelming enthusiasm for the concert.

“The turnout for this event was great. We had a line forming at the door of people waiting to get in by 7 p.m., an hour before Rector took the stage,” Cornwell said. “The crowd was really responsive, creating a great atmosphere.”

While Rector has achieved and thrived in such a public career, his true charm lies in the sense that his celebrity seems humble and reluctant.

In his song “Ordinary Love,” Rector sings that he “don’t wanna be no star,” and his autobiographical introduction of his website claims that he doesn’t understand “Crazy dance clubs, private jets, expensive alcohol and lots of money.” By portraying himself simply as a man who loves to play music, Rector fascinated and endeared himself to the crowd.

What truly set this performance apart was the remarkable personality and flair that Rector brought to the MPR stage.

On one of his tunes, Rector flawlessly improvised a rhyming verse of lyrics around the audience-suggested theme of “pirates,” much to the appreciation of the Whitworth crowd.

When challenged with a song request from the audience, Rector, while unable to fulfill the request, invited the audience member and his infant son onto the stage for a photo op.

Rector’s band-mate Cody Fry also channeled charisma and presence, stunning concert-goers with his improvised “mouth trumpet” solo that transcended mere vocal noises to create an exciting musical addition.

These whimsical yet well-executed “gems” gave Rector’s performance the extra edge to render it truly remarkable and memorable.

Ben Rector’s album “The Walking in Between” is available on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Denin Koch

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Tanner Walker sees a musical future

Many people have hobbies that they put a lot of time and effort into, whether art, music or sports. But for junior Tanner Walker, playing flute is not just a hobby—it shapes her identity. “It runs my personal life…it’s a big part of my life and part of who I am,” Walker said.

Walker, a flute performance major with the hope of mastering in music, has been playing flute since she was in the sixth grade after being influenced by family members.

“My mom played [flute] and I wanted to be like [her] at the time,” Walker said.

Walker has played other woodwind instruments such as the oboe and piccolo, and once ventured into the realm of brass with the euphonium, Walker said. However, she prefers flute because of its sound and difficulty.

“I find [the flute] really soothing and you get a lot of hard music. I like that a lot; it’s challenging,” Walker said.

During her middle school and high school years, Walker was a member of the Spokane Youth Symphony for five years, played with the Central Valley Marching Band, and was part of her high school’s band and Wind Symphony. She also performed in both solo and ensemble flute competitions every year.

Because of Walker’s involvement with multiple orchestras and symphonies, she has had the opportunity to play many challenging and interesting music pieces.

“The hardest thing I’ve played is probably ‘The Firebird’ by Stravinsky, with the Youth and Spokane Symphony combined,” Walker said.

Since coming to Whitworth, Walker has maintained her involvement in music. She has played in both the Wind Symphony and the Orchestra for three years and Chamber Winds for two years. She has also provided musical accompaniment for all of the choirs.

As a flute player at Whitworth, Walker has had several opportunities to tour with musical groups.

“I’ve gotten to travel a lot. I went to Utah with the Orchestra and California with the Wind Symphony,” Walker said.

This year, she is going with the Whitworth Orchestra on a tour of the East Coast.

Walker plans to continue her involvement in music after she graduates, and is working on getting her masters credentials for music education.

“I’m hoping to play in a symphony later in life and I’ll probably teach private lessons as well,” Walker said.

Playing the flute and performing has helped Walker to be a more confident person overall.

“The performance aspect has helped me get out of my comfort zone. I’m more outgoing since I’ve been a musician, I was shy when I was younger and it’s really helped,” Walker said.

Walker hopes to use her flute performance degree to stay involved in symphonies and teach others how to play her instrument.

“I’m always going to be doing something with music,” Walker said.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Students celebrate diversity with soul music

To commemorate Black History Month this February, Cultural Events Coordinator senior Ashton Skinner, worked with the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club and the Black Student Union to hold a swing dance lesson followed by a Sodexo-catered dinner of soul food and a live concert featuring Grace Love & the True Loves held Saturday, Feb. 21. The event began at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the HUB with a lesson sponsored by the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club and was attended by approximately 16 student dancers and several members of the band. After the dance lesson, a meal of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and pie was served while students waited for the concert to begin.

Tacoma native Grace Love blends soul and funk into music that is described on her Facebook page as “a fusion of human nature mixed in with sprinkles of heartache, and chocolate velvet melodies.” The soul singer is backed by a five-piece band and played for an hour, adding in an encore after an enthusiastic request from the crowd. Love’s set included her new single, “Fire,” as well as a well-received blues-infused cover of “No Diggity.” Love’s enthusiasm, coupled with the smell of soul food, brought in a crowd. What started as 20 students quickly became 40, then 80.

Students kept the dance floor occupied throughout most of the band’s set.

Love also took some time to speak to the audience about Black History Month and encouraged others to speak with her about the connection between soul music and Black History Month.

“The best thing about celebrating something that a lot of people don’t understand is to educate them. Not tell them what they should know, but to educate them,” Love said.

“It’s nice to be a part of something educational and not just, you know, a show type of place … this is fun because we get to bring something culturally cool to the campus … most times, people tie race to soul music and blues music and all different kinds of music, but I think it’s just something that is a feeling, and if you can create that kind of feeling in a group of people who have never experienced it, you’re going to get a reaction that you never experienced,” Love said.

Senior Jade Faletoi also thought the participation in the event was positive.

“I was really hoping that people would come to this, and it seemed like a lot of people came, [which was good] because this is an event that should be happening at Whitworth and people should be coming to this kind of stuff  [because] when you don’t have stuff like this, it kind of sends a message that you don’t belong here, that your culture doesn’t belong here, so diversity events like this especially make people feel at home, and it kind of creates a space for more students to be here,” Faletoi said.

Skinner organized the event with the goal of exposing new cultures to Whitworth students and hoped to create a fun, casual event.

“I think it is going to be a good time for some people to come into Black History Month and celebrate by what they already do, which is share food, share music, have fun,” he said. “I tried to make an event that is right in the HUB so people will just kind of wander in. I hope to get people to come in whether they were planning on it or not. I think it’s important to have events that aren’t so formal, and I think this will be one of those events. This is going to be the kind where people can chill and hang out.”

Grace Love & the True Love’s single “Fire” will be available in April, and can be streamed now through links on the band’s Facebook page.

 

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Dominican Father speaks about the medieval church

As part of the Medieval and Early Modern Lecture Series, Whitworth hosted Father Augustine Thompson to discuss aspects of Christian religious practice during the medieval period on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18. Thompson is a member of the Dominican Order and a leading scholar on St. Francis of Assisi. The event was attended by faculty from several departments, Whitworth students, and several sisters visiting from a local Dominican order. Thompson, a history professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, has been recently working on research into the religious lives of the laity of medieval Italy, including the Dominican Rite, which is the liturgical practice of the Dominican Order. He spoke and took questions before attending a dinner in his honor, attended by several professors and four Whitworth students. Thompson believes that the contemporary idea of medieval Christian worship is inaccurate, and posits that the relationship between the clergy and laity was one of complexity.

Despite modern assumptions that the laity were separated from the clergy in medieval churches, especially in their ability to comprehend the language of worship service, Thompson believes that the laity were more involved than previously understood and actually influenced the way that Christian worship was shaped. There is a common misconception that the decorative stained glass windows seen in many churches both modern and medieval are usually thought to be instruction tools for a largely illiterate lay population, Thompson said.

“How many here have heard the story that images in medieval churches are the Bibles of the illiterate? Yeah, it’s a common thing,” Thompson said. Have you ever gone into a medieval cathedral or even a modern Catholic church with these fancy stained glass windows? When you look at the windows, do you know what they’re about? You have to know the story in order to read it. The people who look at them may be illiterate, but unless they know the story, the pictures are worthless. We should never underestimate how much Bible knowledge people have.”

Anthony Clark, Ph.D and associate professor of Chinese history, was a coordinator of the event.

“One thing that people assume, especially if they look at orthodox or Catholic liturgical traditions today is they see what they envision to be a very distinct hierarchy between clergy and lay, and what Father Augustine is trying to argue is that is a post-reformation Catholic reaction,” Clark said. “So what scholars today realize, I think, who think about liturgy, is that first, it’s not what we thought it was … we see that the clergy and the lay were more cooperative before the reformation.”

Although Thompson’s discussion focused on the relationship between laity and clergy, he also touched on several other aspects of life as a medieval Christian. Senior Joanna Szabo, who attended the event for her British Renaissance class, found “The thing that was most interesting was when [Thompson] was talking about choir music of the period when they found that a lot of the liturgy wasn’t handwritten, but was stenciled so that the music would be exactly the same … it was interesting that before the printing press they found ways of mass printing.”

Bringing events like this to Whitworth helps to expand the common ground of a variety of religious traditions.

“Someone else said this after Father Augustine’s talk, Catholics and Protestants tend to forget that we have a common heritage … [but] if we just walk back in history, we Protestants and we Catholics, we’re going to end up in the same church with the same people. So in this era where we’re trying to be ecumenical, speakers like him actually, I think, bring us together if we’re paying attention, less than they demonstrate our differences,” Clark said of the importance of these events at Whitworth.

“[This event] had really interesting information that I wouldn’t have otherwise had access too … that’s what liberal arts is, doing things outside of one track,” Szabo said.

Thompson’s books are available on Amazon.com, and the recording of his speech will be made available on Whitworth’s website.

 

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Shearer makes Ferguson concrete to students

Tobin Miller Shearer, African-American Studies director at the University of Montana, presented the lecture, “Why Ferguson Matters to Whitworth: the Importance of Black History to Us All” last Tuesday in the Robinson Teaching Theatre. “The connection between Ferguson and Whitworth is made by the problem of kindness,” Shearer said.

In the aftermath of Ferguson and other racial crises, Shearer said that there is a need for white Christians like himself and a majority of the student body at Whitworth to reexamine the ways they deal with racial situations.

Shearer began the lecture by presenting a long list of unarmed black men killed by police, including Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin.

“The long list represents the all-too-familiar history of racial crisis in this country,” Shearer said.

He contrasted the list with a very short list of the criteria needed to be a Fresh Air Fund host. The Fresh Air Fund program takes kids, mostly ethnic minorities, from the city and allows them to spend about two weeks in the country with a host family. The criteria to be a host is simply that they are kind.

Shearer said that although the program means well, the kindness presents more problems than it solves.

“The short list represents the limited breadth of response to those crises,”  Shearer said.

Shearer said that the kindness white families show toward those children only reinforces the power dynamic. By taking the children out of a “harmful” environment and putting them into a “positive” environment, they reinforce that the white hosts are superior while participants are inferior. Their kindness is also limited. There is an age limit and a time limit, as well as the fact that the program is one way, not an equal exchange.

He said that the way Christians commonly approach any negative racial situation is with “the hammer of kindness” as the only tool in their toolkit. Shearer advocates that instead of just focusing on kindness and relational diversity during racial crises that individuals should focus of the problem while not in crisis.

Junior Ruth Wabula was pleased with the presentation and the effect it had on her. “I like the way he put the whole notion of kindness. He presented it in such a way that it didn’t make people defensive,” Wabula said

Shearer said that the most common question he is asked by Christians wanting to make a change is, “How can our congregation or college become more racially integrated?” He said that is the wrong question.

“I think that the question, ‘How can a white congregation or college become integrated?’ is ultimately unproductive and leads to the same traps of kindness and crisis that I have already described,” Shearer said. “Instead, I think the more appropriate question is to ask, ‘How can white congregations and colleges equip their members to resist racism when crisis is not unfolding?’”

Shearer offered advice on how to make a difference.

“Open yourselves to deeper examination of how Christians can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Recognizing that we have a history of being part of the problem is the first step,” Shearer said.

Junior Marianne Sfeir was also glad that Shearer gave the presentation.

“This is something that we’ve been needing to hear. It challenges our paradigm of what it means to be socially responsible and civically engaged Christians,” Sfeir said.

Shearer ended his lecture by giving the audience some more tools for their toolboxes.

“I long to see institutions like Whitworth become places that equip their students and that are themselves equipped to respond to racial crisis with the pliers of racial analysis, the vice-grips of spiritual discipline, the rip saw of action and the ratchet set of Black history,” Shearer said.

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Oakland’s films return to Whitworth screens

Growing up, Professor Leonard Oakland was not allowed to watch movies because of his family’s fundamentalist Christian worldview. Throughout high school and college, he gave up going to films because of these beliefs. “[Going to movies] was part of the code of forbidden conduct: don’t smoke, drink, dance, gamble or go to movies,” Oakland said, about his college experience.

However, Oakland gradually began to lose faith that those rules were relevant for Christians to follow and started going to the movies as a grad student at UC Berkeley. He attended movies at least three times a week and became especially interested in foreign, independent and classic films, Oakland said.

“The great foreign films of the late 1950s and the early 1960s were emerging, and we were seeing them in Berkeley or in other major cities,” Oakland said.

When Oakland came to Whitworth in 1966, the 4-1-4 schedule that Whitworth uses with two semesters and Jan Term in the middle, was in an “experimental” stage, Oakland said. Professors were not allowed to teach any requirements for the first Jan Term, so Oakland created a class called “The Art Film as Literature,” which combined his love of movies with his discipline, literature.

Oakland still teaches film classes in Jan term, and occasionally offers an evening class on the subject. His love of film led him to some involvement in filmmaking, such as his performance as “Jeopardy Contestant #3” in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump.” He also assisted with the writing of “Bull Durham,” a successful baseball movie directed by Oakland’s friend Ron Shelton.

Seven years ago, when Oakland’s teaching contract went from 100 percent to 50 percent, he attended a celebration acknowledging his years at Whitworth.

“I was asked over some months before that, ‘What kind of legacy would I like to leave behind me at Whitworth?’” Oakland said.

After discussing several options of things Oakland cared passionately about with a committee, they eventually settled on film. After raising some funds, Oakland and Whitworth decided that the money could be used for an annual film festival, and the Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival was born.

The festival consists of one American independent film, one documentary and one foreign film, corresponding to three film classes he created, and then three more well-known or older films later in the evening.

A committee of several people, including Oakland, meet before the school year and decide on worthy films to show and determine whether or not each year’s festival has a theme.

“This year we have the theme of forgiveness that runs through our movies,” Oakland said.

The theme is centered around the second movie in the festival, a documentary titled “Forgiveness,” which played on Feb. 21. The filmmaker, Woodrow Wilson Scholar Helen Whitney, was on campus for several days, where she spoke in various classes and ran a Q&A session after the film.

“Forgiveness” brings up tough question such as, “When is it right to forgive?” The film is not directed from a Christian perspective, but covers how religion and personal belief affect in what capacity one can forgive.

“The word ‘forgiveness’ evokes mystery and power…[it] goes way beyond the culture you grew up in, or the religion that shaped you,” Whitney said during the after-film Q&A session. Whitney described the film as “searingly personal” to make, as it follows the stories of many people who have either been wronged or have committed wrongs.

Each person interviewed for the documentary had a different definition of forgiveness and atonement, which begged audience members to analyze their personal definitions of these words.

“It made me think about my own view [of forgiveness]. It was good to see examples of where other people come from,” junior Lindsey Page said, in response to viewing the film.

The first film shown in the festival was “Wildlike,” a film about being reconciled with your past done in partnership with the Spokane International Film Festival. The next film, showing on March 7, is “Calvary,” a powerful Irish film.

Each of these movies, along with the 10 p.m. showings of familiar classics “Unforgiven” and “Princess Bride,” deal with themes of forgiveness in their own way, and provide a sense of unity for the festival.

One of Oakland’s goals for the festival is to expose students to films they might not otherwise have seen, and promote lesser-known films.

“These are powerful film experiences and they expand our students’ filmgoing experience beyond the ordinary Hollywood films,” Oakland said.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Poets share best of bad love poetry

Kari Johnson | Photographer       On Friday the 13th, the eve of Valentine’s Day, the English department club Westminster Round hosted Bad Love Poetry, an event created to irreverently celebrate the holiday and the best of the worst love poetry that can be culled from the Internet as well as past diaries of Whitworth students.

Junior Molly Rupp is treasurer of Westminster Round. The event was fun because of the collective cynicism—Bad Love Poetry is a non-traditional way to celebrate using a familiar form, Rupp said.

Junior Nick Avery, vice president of Westminster Round, served as the host. He opened the event with a reading of Kristen Stewart’s “My Heart is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole,” and encouraged audience members to get up and read poems of their choosing. The club also provided poems for volunteers to read.

The lightness of the event was reflected in the enthusiasm of both audience members and participants, many of who laughed their way through recitations.

The event was run open-mic style, allowing any willing participant to take the stage and read. Of the 40 or so attendees, around 10 students volunteered to entertain the crowd with poems mostly found on Google and read off of smartphones.

Senior Hannah Cruze  shared “The Socially Awkward Love Poem” found online, while senior Kyler Lacey took to the stage between poems to encourage audience participation and tell jokes. He also read from his own original work about two things he loves very much—cars and girls.

Other poems read included “The Worst Love Poem That Fails to Use the Word Lame” by Aimee Salter, “The Worst Love Poem Using the Word Lame” by Andrea Heinecke, “A Twilight Saga Poem, For Twihards Only” and “Nora, the Maid of Killarney” by William Topaz McGonagall.

Kari Johnson | Photographer

Junior Dana Stull also shared original work. Stull and junior Audrey Strohm read excerpts from Stull’s journal, written while Stull was at Lutheran confirmation camp during eighth grade. Stull’s work included both poetry and prose excerpts, including this untitled piece:

Steven Potter is wearing a cute sweatshirt without a shirt underneath. Hallelujah!

An annual event, Bad Love Poetry is an opportunity for students to meet, laugh, and share in some great bad poetry.

 

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Alumnus lectures on the philosophies of happiness

Whitworth alumnus Stephen T. Davis presented the lecture “Happiness in Life: Epictetus and Christianity” last Thursday night in the Robinson Teaching Theatre. The audience of students, faculty and community members listened close as Davis said that the secret to happiness lies not in ambition and achievement, but in changing the way one’s mind reacts to the external world.

Junior Anneliese Immel was deep in thought after the presentation.

“The philosophy of happiness that he presented—as a shift in the way of thinking—was not surprising to me,” Immel said. “What was surprising is that I know and believe in the concept, but I don’t live my life that way.”

“Everybody wants to be happy,” Davis said.

Davis is a professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in California, and a Whitworth alumnus. He majored in philosophy and history at Whitworth, and later received both the distinguished alumnus award and an honorary doctorate from Whitworth.

“If you follow the usual theory of how to be happy, happiness runs through your fingers like water,” Davis said.

Davis says that the modern equation for happiness has to do with trying to fulfill as many wants and desires as possible while trying to avoid as many undesirable things as possible, in the hope that this will make bring happiness. He says that the fallacy of this recipe is that it assumes that people will be satisfied when they achieve their wants and desires.

“Human desire is insatiable,” Davis said.

Davis says that as one achieves a goal that he or she thought would bring happiness, one instantly begins thinking of the next goal that will bring happiness, but happiness never comes.

Davis gave a brief history of the philosopher Epictetus and provided the premise of his philosophy. He said that Epictetus believed that the internal world inside the mind can be moral or immoral and that it is the only thing a person can control. He said that the external world, the things that happen are fated, beyond control, and are neither moral nor immoral.

Davis iterated that the bulk of Epictetus’s philosophy is stoicism. A stoic trains oneself to live a life of reason and accept the world as it is and as it comes. Those who think that stoicism and achievement are mutually exclusive are wrong, he said.

A stoic can work to achieve an external goal, such as getting into the Stanford MBA program, if three conditions are set. They must realize that internal goals are more important than external goals, that external goals will not make you happy, and that you should not allow failure to achieve an external goal to disturb your internal goal of tranquility.

Davis disagrees with Epictetus on two levels. First, he believes that there should be more distinction between how much people are in control or not in control of situations. Second, he disagrees with Epictetus’s approach to loss and suffering.

Epictetus says that death along with everything else, isn’t bad because it has no moral and that you shouldn’t mourn the death of a loved one, because it is out of your control. Consequently, Epictetus says that you should pretend to mourn another’s loss, but not actually mourn, because another’s sorrow is of no concern to you. Davis disagrees and argues that some things in the external world do have morals and are truly bad.

Davis said that Epictetus’s philosophy of stoicism relates to Christianity, but that they have basic differences. Stoicism values self-sufficiency and personal happiness, assumes that the external world is morally neutral, and doesn’t require a social ethic.

On the contrary, Christianity values doing things through God and community and honoring God in one’s life, believes that there are morally good and morally bad occurrences, and requires a social ethic.

Davis said that even though the Bible has little to say about happiness, that the Christian value of joy, which is arguably more important, is presented often.

Despite these differences, Davis believes that with adhering to Christianity placed first, before stoicism, that stoicism can be a useful tool for Christians.

President Beck Taylor attended the lecture and was pleased with the results.

“This was a good example of integrating faith and learning,” Taylor said. “It’s great to see him (Davis) embodying Whitworth as an alum.”

In summation, Davis said, “So far as joy in life is concerned, stoic philosophy is good, but Christianity is better.”

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Brooke Grissom answers her artistic calling in dance

The word hodgepodge is defined as a mixture of different things. For senior Brooke Grissom, hodgepodge is not so much a word as it is a chosen way of life. Hannah Palmer | Photographer

Grissom’s hodgepodge refers to her unique mix of majors. She is double-majoring in kinesiology and art with a concentration in spatial design and is a theater-dance minor. The tie between these different areas of study lies in her passion for all, and ability to find connections between them.

“Dance is the bridge between art and kinesiology,” Grissom said.

Dance is Grissom’s first passion. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old and uses it as a way to process and express her thoughts, feelings, struggles and experiences. The ability to process things through an artistic process is integral to her life and, as with many artists, the inspiration for expression is essential.

“I find inspiration through music,” Grissom said. “The posture of the song drives the movement.”

For Grissom, dance involves a lot of art, but art itself became a passion for her during college. She had taken an art class in high school and had enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until coming to Whitworth that she realized it was something she wanted to pursue.

She was able to not only to find the connection between all of her passions, but to develop and hone her study of art until it matched what she wanted to do. Her interest in interior design and architecture prompted her concentration of spatial design.

She is intrigued by the aspect of human ecology involved in spatial design. It interests her to see what space provides for humans and what it does to human interaction.

Grissom believes that art is important to everyone because it speaks to an unconscious side of ourselves and allows us to express “literally anything without regard for holding back.”

In her desire to express herself as an artist, she has faced significant struggles.

“The art major in general is a constant identity crisis,” Grissom said.

For people pursuing art and dance as well as other creative avenues, an identity crisis is not the only concern.

Three years ago when she first began college, Grissom sustained a back injury caused by doing cross country and track. She was unable to participate in activities that involved large amounts of physical movement for a year.

“Having to be sedentary for a year showed me what a gift dancing is,” Grissom said.

Grissom is grateful for her ability to dance, but she is also grateful for the people who have supported her artistry. Her family has been a great support throughout her dancing career, she said.

“A lot of parents sway children away from art of any kind,” Grissom said. “But my parents always vocalized that I could pursue whatever I wanted to.”

One way that Grissom pursues her art is through her work with Partners Through Art, which is a non-profit organization started by Karla Parbon, the director of dance minors at Whitworth. It aims to partner with other non-profits to help them utilize art for their cause. Many of the non-profits are a voice for social justice issues.

Working with Parbon helped her to develop as a dancer and a choreographer. It also helped her to integrate her faith into her dancing, which is one of the most important aspects of her artistry. A large part of her artistic journey was the realization that faith and dance could go together and become something powerful. Coming to Whitworth was vital to that realization.

Hannah Palmer | Photographer

“Whitworth is a unique place,” Grissom said. “Being here has shown me that faith can be a foundation for every part of my life.”

In the future, Grissom wishes to keep dancing and choreographing and pursuing art through continuing her education in the field. She also wants to continue working with non-profits that are a voice for social justice.

To anyone who is pursuing art or dance or even just looking to express themselves through a creative avenue, Grissom gives this piece of advice: “Let go of what you’re not, embrace what you are, and allow that to be a motivation in your work regardless of what others might think.”

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Students intern at eminent Smithsonian Institution

While most Whitworth students spent Jan Term on campus or enjoying the break between long semesters, five Whitworth Honors students traveled to Washington, D.C., to intern for the Smithsonian Institution. Doug Sugano, Ph.D, who visited the interns during the term, highlighted the unique partnership between Whitworth and the Smithsonian.

“It’s really prestigious for Whitworth to have a special internship agreement with the Smithsonian in that only two other universities in the U.S. have the same sort of partnership,” Sugano said. “…Any student in the U.S. can apply to do internships at the Smithsonian, but they have to go through the larger Smithsonian process which is fine and works well, but there are probably tens of thousands of students who apply for hundreds of opportunities. With this particular program we have with the Smithsonian, we choose five interns who automatically get the positions. Even the best schools in the U.S. don’t send five.”

The internship program is facilitated by a partnership between Whitworth and the Smithsonian Institution that was created through the work of Janet Houk, Whitworth’s archivist. Two years ago Houk wrote a grant to go visit the Smithsonian and during that time met with administrators to set up this special program for Whitworth students, Sugano said.

To be considered for selection, students must provide two recommendations and write an essay. The essay must illustrate how the experience will enhance their career and educational goals, as well as list which areas the student is interested in working in. These interests are then used to help place the students that are selected. During the three-week internship, the students stayed with Whitworth alumni currently living in the Washington D.C. area.

This year, the five students from Whitworth came from a variety of majors and years. Senior Spanish and cross-cultural studies major Hannah Norris and junior English major Katie Cunningham worked in the Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage. Art history major Stacey Moo worked with the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Asian Art Museum, while senior Thomas Hull worked with the Smithsonian’s Heirloom Garden. Junior Madison Garner worked with The Smithsonian Associates.

Each student was able to participate in a project related to the interests listed in their application essay.

“The thing that surprised me most was how much they trusted me to choose my own topic…” Cunningham said of the experience. “I really felt like my project was self-driven, and because they respected me enough to do that, I gained a greater sense of confidence and created something that helped me grow academically and as a person.”

Her project, a web-based exploration of mixed race identity including oral histories taken from several interviews, will be live on the website of the Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage next fall.

Norris, who worked in the same department but on a different project, also had a positive experience, and felt that her connection to Whitworth helped her to have a memorable experience.

“[My] unique education from Whitworth let me be on the same page as [the Smithsonian staff] on a lot of things,” and added that her hosts, former Whitworth students, were incredibly generous, and “experiencing their hospitality made me want to also give back in the future, maybe also to Whitworth students,” Norris said.

Four of the five participants (Garner is currently studying abroad in Australia) briefly presented on their experiences, and all spoke highly of their experiences. All said that they felt that they were put into situations where their talents and interests were respected and encouraged.

Hull, when asked if he would recommend that other Whitworth students participate in the program, said, “Absolutely. I would, and the one important thing I would add about that is that it is not an internship for history majors … the

Smithsonian institution encompasses museums, human and public relations—it encompasses any field we have studied, and this is an opportunity for any major.”

That focus on interdisciplinary work, Hull said, has remained with him as one of the most important aspects of this program.

The program is currently open to students in Whitworth’s Honors program,  and Sugano encouraged eligible students to apply.

“For a university student, this is probably one of the best resume builders you can have. This is something on a resume that every employer will notice and talk about,” Sugano said.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Gospel choir explodes into a new year of musical worship

Tanner Scholten | Photographer Students and community members alike filled the Seeley G. Mudd Chapel on Feb. 13 for a multicultural celebration of singing, dancing and worshiping. Gospel Explosion, now in its 18th year, was started by Coordinator for Ministry and Multicultural Affairs Stephaine Nobles-Beans.

Nobles-Beans, who is better known around campus as “Mama Beans,” started the event to “bring the local community and Whitworth community together for a time of fellowship, praise, and worship.”

Gospel Explosion began with a prayer from Nobles-Beans and several high-energy worship songs. Then, Whitworth’s own Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir sang “Soon and Very Soon” and “Wade,” a gospel favorite.

The Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir is in its eighth year, led by junior Elizabeth Porter. A speech and communications major, Porter has been involved in the choir since her freshman year, after hearing about it from a former Act Six Scholar.

The choir was originally started by an Act Six Scholar who wanted connect with local congregations and expose the Whitworth campus to a new kind of worship, Porter said.

Porter was involved in choir programs in high school, but for the most part her music experience comes from gospel choir, which she has led for the last two years.

“For me, my freshman year, it was a safe haven,” Porter said. For Porter, gospel choir is a place she can feel most comfortable, have fun, laugh and look forward to every week.

The gospel choir in the past has traveled to Washington State University to sing, and periodically partners with local churches such as Holy Family and Calvary Chapel. They also sometimes sing in chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays and attend other gospel events, Porter said.

The choir members come from a variety of backgrounds, and many have not had any previous musical training or experience. There is no musical requirement to join gospel choir, only a desire to worship.

“I’m big on working with people who don’t have a musical background; they’re there for the right reason,” Porter said.

Porter is unsure whether she will continue music after she graduates, but she wants to pass leadership of gospel choir down to a student who is dedicated and passionate about worship.

“It brings people together,” Porter said.

Tanner Scholten | Photographer

After Whitworth’s choir performed several individuals danced, sang, and recited poetry. Groups from around the area, such as the Spokane Community Gospel Choir and a worship band that sang in both English and Spanish, also performed.

Freshman Andrew Peacock was one of the many Whitworth students who attended the event and had a positive experience.

“It was really cool to see a community that I thought was underrepresented come out and shine,” Peacock said.

Peacock had been to a gospel worship event before, and enjoyed the sense of authenticity he felt during gospel worship.

“There was nothing that people were holding back,” Peacock said.

Nobles-Beans is enthusiastic about the event and is expecting it to be even larger next year.

“It continues to grow; it’s never been small. The crowds get larger and larger,” Nobles-Beans said.

The Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir meets and rehearses Sunday nights from 6:30-8 in the chapel.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Review: Francisco the Man

Francisco the Man is not afraid to kick out the jams. And on a rainy Saturday night on Dec. 6 at The Bartlett in downtown Spokane, that is exactly what they did. The four-piece indie rock band is on their first tour down the west coast after releasing their first full length album, “Loose Ends.” Their jangly garage rock with a hint of reverb and shoegaze influences filled the small room at The Bartlett. That is to say: it was loud. Really loud.

The night started off with The Static Overtones, the opening band for the evening. From Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the band is a mix of garage rock and blues.

After the opening set, Francisco the Man came out swinging. Almost without warning, the band was on stage starting the set. No introductions, no sound checks, just straight into the music. The band played songs mostly from their debut album, which were not only danceable pop songs, but also contained enough rock that you kind of wanted to headbang.

The band is also not afraid to shed lyrics for pieces of songs. There would be long instrumental stretches that showed off the talent of the musicians and the amount of rehearsal that goes into any live show. Francisco the Man emphasized an interesting blend of the lead singer, the rhythm guitar player, Scotty Cantino and the lead guitarist, Brock Woolsey.

The final song of the show, titled “In My Dreams,” ended with a long instrumental break. Within that instrumental section, the bassist Nestor Romero played some finger tapping high notes that sounded more like they were coming out of a synthesizer then a bass guitar.

You can find out more about Francisco the Man here.

 

Jacob Millay

Staff Writer