Beyond Existence & Gospel Explosion:

On April 17, the Main Gym was bursting with sound as Beyond Existence and Gospel Explosion, co-sponsored by the Student Activities Board and the Black Student League, took the stage.

There were three main acts: Reilly, The Ambassador and The Wrecking. This was The Ambassador’s first time on campus, but both Reilly and The Wrecking appeared at Eastern in 2009.

In-between the main acts, there were several student group performances, including Precious Movements and Into the Light.
All of the money raised at the event, approximately $500, was donated to the Salvation Army’s Haiti Fund.

The Call in Camden

With the campus deep into finals mode, many students find themselves looking for things to do or to get off campus for a few hours, anything that will allow them to be away from Eastern, and exams, for just a little bit.

Well, there’s good news: if you aren’t studying tonight, go check out “The Call: A Christian Hip-Hop Experience” at Rutgers University in Camden.
“The Call” is exactly what it sounds like. On April 28 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. six different hip-hop artists and bands will take the stage at Gordon Theater. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., admission and parking is free and there will even be free giveaways.

Beginning with local artists Pointmen and Fresh Fire Productions, “The Call” features a hefty amount of hip-hop in quick succession. The three main artists – Trip Lee, Everyday Process and Sho Baraka – along with DJ Official all have similar musical tastes with a borderline rap/hip-hop style that sounds like a mixture between Kayne West and Lil’ Wayne.
Trip Lee is described on his MySpace page as having a sound like “God glorifying hip-hop with a southern flavor.” It is no surprise that he is qualified as such since he was born in Dallas, Texas. However, Lee now lives in Philadelphia and has produced two solo albums, “If They Only Knew” and “20/20.” He is currently working on his third album, “Between Two Worlds” with Reach Records.

Another artist for Reach Records, Sho Baraka released his sophomore album last month, entitled “Lions and Liars.” Born in Canada but raised in California, Baraka has worked closely with Lee and the other two artists of Reach Records, Tedashii and Lecrae, on several compilation CDs.

One of those compilation CDs is “EnterMission,” set to be released this December, and Philadelphia native DJ Official is DJ-ing for all of the songs on the CD. With twenty artists on the CD – including Lee and Baraka – DJ Official’s latest CD should prove to be a great addition to any hip-hop lover’s collection if the sample on iTunes is any indication.
Everyday Process from Cross Movement Records has one album out, “Outtadisworld,” which is a follow-up to their premiere album, “Everyday Process: The Process of Illumination & Elimination.” The two- member band is from Chester, Pa., and the members have gone beyond their struggles to preach the gospel through song.

This is exactly what this concert hopes to do: preach the gospel of Christ through an avenue that many would not expect.

For more information about “The Call,” go to www.facebook.com/ruinvolved.

Best of the best: Musicians show talent at concert

 These are the best of the best,” chair of the music department Ron Matthews said proudly as he looked back to the musicians on stage during his opening announcement. It was the second night of the Spring Music Festival in McInnis, and the auditorium was over half full, ready to hear the pieces of music that EU students have been preparing all semester long.

During the intermission, sophomore Kristen Davies said, “I can really tell they’ve been working hard.”

The Spring Music Festival took place over a span of three days. April 23 and 24 saw the various Eastern music groups on the McInnis Stage, while the Flute Ensemble finished with their own concert on April 25 in Fowler Hall.

From the Jazz Ensemble and University Choir to the MIDI Ensemble and Angels of Harmony, the Spring Music Festival showcased the many talent musicians of Eastern.

The two-night concert showcased not only music students, but also members of the community. According to first-year Amy Peck, the director of the St. Davids Orchestra Society, David Bryant, invites musicians near Eastern to perform with the students.

Peck was excited to play “Bacchanale,” composed by Camille Saint-Saens. She expected that piece to be the best, and it was.

Some students were in multiple groups, performing on more than one night. “My voice is pretty tired,” senior Aubrey Wagner said.

Wagner sang with Turning Point on April 24 and performed a solo on April 25 in Fowler Hall. She also played flute with the Flute Ensemble that Sunday night.

The festival was an indication of the hours of practice musicians must put forth to succeed, making them, in their directors’ eyes, “the best of the best.”

Dancers take center stage:

 At a school as small as Eastern, it is always a pleasant surprise to find big talent. In no place was this truer than at the dance department’s 20th anniversary show.

Students, professors and alumni alike sparkled in this year’s performances, earning them this critic’s embarrassingly unrestrained applause.

The night started off with a point number that could only be described as the outward expression of tip-top talent. The next piece, choreographed by ‘07 alumna Kara Schmidt possessed a sort of strange beauty that was easy to appreciate.

In Kelsey Brennan’s “Separately Together,” junior Heather Mahurin was the one to watch. Her physical expression was captivating and powerful.

“Paresthesias,” the piece to follow, was hauntingly original. The five girls to grace the stage were beautifully eerie. Dressed in white and hair loosed about their shoulders, the girls appeared to be a blend between china dolls and apparitions.

This ethereal vision was quickly dissolved however by senior Jenna Eugenides’ “My Weakness (Is You).” A presentation of the powerful fragility of the human heart, the piece was both stunningly choreographed and executed.

This quality did not waver as the seven dancers in Stephanie King’s “The Recovery” consumed the stage. The piece possessed a jungle-esque vibe, and the stage glowed with energy as the room was filled with an intoxicating blend of sensuousness, power and vulnerability. The dancers of this piece are to be commended for their powerful performance.

After that, the night got sweeter with a performance by two beloved members of the Eastern community. Husband and wife teamed up for “That Most Pleasant Tyrant of Emotions” in which professor of music David Bryant attempted to compose a piece of music while professor Janine Bryant expressed herself through dance. The piece was charming, coquettish and sweetly irresistible.

Other highlights of the night included the work in progress “And the Church Said… Amen.” Choreographed by Saleana Pettaway, the work was fresh and quirky and everything a finale piece should be.

All of the dancers and choreographers are to be commended for this tremendous show. If this is the kind of quality, originality, energy, grace and precision that has come out of Eastern in the last twenty years, we can only imagine what will happen in the next twenty. The show certainly lived up to its name and was indeed terrific.

Twenty years later, and they’re still dancing

Twenty years can fly by pretty quickly—especially when you’re light on your feet.

The dance department will be hosting its 20th anniversary show, “Terrific Twenty,” from  April 16 to 18. The event will include special performances by faculty and alumni in addition to the current student dancers.

For the first time, five of the six dance faculty members will be performing together in a reincarnation of a previously performed dance, “After the Tripodium.”

While some of the professors are still active in dancing, others, like Dr. Joselli Deans, will be stepping back onto the stage for the first time in years.

Deans said she is not nervous about dancing, but she is more concerned about the piece she is choreographing, “Simple Joys,” which will be the first full pointe piece ever performed on Eastern’s stage.

“It’s a big milestone for the development of the program,” Deans said of the intricate piece, which will feature live music.

The dance is dedicated to the people of Haiti and the way they use the simple joys of life to help them get through the horrors of the Jan. 12 earthquake. Deans has family who live in Haiti, and she felt that choreographing such a significant dance to honor them was a fitting tribute.

“I already had conceived the piece before, but the earthquake kind of focused it for me,” Deans said. She designed the piece “to celebrate the simple joys we often overlook” in our daily lives.

Four alumni will also be returning to the stage with choreographed pieces for the anniversary show.

Kara Schmidt, who graduated from Eastern in 2007 and is currently attending the Martha Graham school in New York, is bringing a full cast from her school to perform her dance.
In addition to the featured choreographers, other alumni dancers are coming back to perform some of the pieces.

Junior Heather Mahurin said that the anniversary show is a great opportunity for current students to connect with alumni and see what they are doing with their lives after Eastern.
Mahurin is one of nine student choreographers featured in the show, with her modern piece, “Work Hard. Play Hard.”

“The piece depicts the struggle between deciding when to work and when to play,” Mahurin said. Some of her dancers will be in “work mode” while others will be in “play mode.” By the end of the piece, some will be pulled into the “play mode,” while others are simply happy with what they were doing.

“It’s pretty applicable to my life,” Mahurin said. “Finding that balance is pretty crucial to any college student’s life.”

In addition to the dance performances, the dance department, Dance Guild and Sacred Dance Group will each be sponsoring a reception following every show.

On April 17, there will be a three-hour alumni and current student reception beginning at 2 p.m. that will include a Fiesta Latina led by Dr. Anne O’Malley Castellanos and the Global Dance Forms Course as well as an alumni roundtable.

The 16-piece show will feature about an hour’s worth of actual dance and should run about an hour-and-a-half long with breaks between dances and the intermission. Deans said this show will be “a little bit more polished and a little shorter” than the last anniversary event, “Fabulous Fifteen.” 

 

Tickets are $5 with an Eastern identification card and $10 for general admission, with shows running at 8 p.m. on April 16 and 17 and 3 p.m. on April 18.

University Choir sings before going to Europe

In preparation for their upcoming trip to Europe, the University Choir members going on the trip will be performing a concert on April 25.

Starting at 4 p.m., the concert will include the choir’s entire repertoire from the program planned for the trip.

The concert will be held at the United Methodist Church in Wayne. No admission will be charged but there will be a free-will offering.

According to Richard Frost, music department professor and conductor of the University Choir, the concert is intended to be a preview of the trip, which will include stops in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The trip will also open the Choir up more to the public community.

“Our goals are simple—to be the best we can be with what God has given us and to communicate as effectively as we can the musical and textual elements of each piece so that our listeners are profoundly impacted,” Frost said.

During the trip, which will be from May 10 to 21, the Choir will travel from city to city and perform five concerts in 10 days.

The trip will cost nearly $3,000 per person, which will cover food, flights, hotels and sight-seeing tours, including a trip to achurch in Liepzig where Bach played and Mozart’s house in Salzburg.

The Choir is doing this trip for the first time in five years, and, although it is expensive, Frost expects that the experience will be well worth the cost.

“Hearing a good choir is something that can be very uplifting and can change people emotionally,” he said.

For those who like “The Hangover,” “Hot Tub Time Machine” is the perfect temperature

When commercials for “Hot Tub Time Machine” began circulating, the movie came off as a poor, uninspired imitator of the “Frat Pack” formula that has kept Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen and all of their buddies perpetually in theaters for the past several years.

And considering that Will Ferrell only gets it right about 50 percent of the time, copycats face risky odds. But, in its first weekend in theaters, “Hot Tub Time Machine” was a surprise hit, earning praise from critics and the number three spot on the Box Office charts.
So what is all the hype about?

The movie begins slowly and predictably, with all the familiar character types. You’ve got Adam (John Cusack), whose girlfriend just dumped him; Lou (Rob Corddry), the party animal; and Nick (Craig Robinson), the whipped married dude, all of whom are suffering, in their various ways, from mid-life disappointment.

These three lifelong buddies are joined by Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam’s “Second Life”-loving nephew and this movie’s token nerd.

Jacob joins the gang on a weekend trip to a ski resort that served as their stomping grounds when they were younger and life was one big party.

With the help of a malfunctioning hot tub and some Russian Redbull, the men suddenly find themselves young again and at that same never-ending party. It is the year 1986, which means bright pastel colors, leg warmers and “Jessie’s Girl.”

Somewhere around this point, the jokes start coming rapid-fire and the vast majority of them hit the mark.

The tired and trite gives way to lots of laugh-out-loud moments, punctuated by the main cast’s hilarious dialogue. As in “The Hangover,” there is no true leading man in this movie, but all the contributors fit together well.

Though his role is small and his performance simple, Cusack seems to strangely hold “Hot Tub Time Machine” together, while parodying a few of his own films from the ‘80s.

Duke’s poise is surprising in his first major role on the big screen, especially in his banter with the characteristically outrageous and over-the-top Corddry.

But Robinson is the biggest stand out. He’s always shown perfect delivery and comedic timing on “The Office” as Daryl, the warehouse manager, and “Hot Tub Time Machine” provides a welcome opportunity for him to bring those sensibilities to a larger role.

By its end, “Hot Tub Time Machine” provokes a surprising amount of questions:
Are the vows of marriage still binding on a man who has traveled to the past before those vows were made?

Has abandonment in all of his fraternal relationships caused Lou’s degeneracy, or has his degeneracy forced all his friends to abandon him?

Are homosexuality and heaps of f-words really the funniest things America can think of?
But this is a farcical comedy, and nobody is really interested in answers. The point is to enjoy the questions and the hilarity that surrounds them.

If you are a fan of “Anchorman,” “The Hangover” and all the gratuitous nudity, profanity, alcohol and drug-use that comes with the territory, “Hot Tub Time Machine” will provide plenty of laughs.

 

 

“Hot Tub Time Machine”
Director: Steve Pink
Release date: March 26
Rating: R
Main cast members: John Cusack as Adam, Ron Corddey as Lou, Craig Robinson as Nick Webber and Clark Duke as Jacob

The successful seventh

The debate surrounding music department chairperson Ron Matthews’ real favorite  hymn was finally put to rest at the 7th Annual Music Gala on April 11.

“You told me that ‘How Great Thou Art’ was your favorite hymn,” music department co-chairperson David Bryant said.

“No… ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’,” Matthews said.

The two proceeded to play a piano duel of epic proportions, each playing the song that they believed to be Matthews’ actual favorite. The duel ranged from the combative playing of both songs at the same time to the incorporation of banjo themes.

“We go out of our way to have fun,” Bryant said. “It’s just a great night.”

In addition to this memorable duet, the University Choir performed several pieces of its own, including “O Sifuni Mungu,” an African-themed song complete with accompanying percussion.

“The great thing about this show is just how well the University Choir performs,” Matthews said. “Seven years ago, we started this show and there were no music majors. It is great to see what God has done here.”

Furthering the broad spectrum of talent from the music department’s faculty, vocal professors Christine DeVault, Carole Latimer and Rebecca Whitlow performed songs ranging from opera to “This Little Light O’ Mine.”

The Eastern University Piano Quartet—made up of Matthews, Bryant, piano and harp professor Duncan Stearns and piano professor James Correnti—played several pieces.
“It’s so cool to see our professors performing with such passion,” first-year Emily Lynn said. “It’s why we look up to them. They’ve reached incredible goals, and it’s inspiring for us to see their work.”

The Caritas Piano Trio of Matthews, violin and viola professor Leah Kim and cello professor and EU Strings leader Ron Lipscomb, performed as well.

The show took on a more intimate feel as the selective Turning Point choir took the stage.
Unfortunately, David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, was not able to attend as he is currently in China.

But Kim’s absence did not deter those in attendance from thoroughly enjoying themselves. One member of the audience said that they enjoy seeing the relationship that Eastern and Church of the Saviour have developed over the years.

“Of all the concerts that the music department puts on, this is the one I look forward to the most,” senior Jason Aduddell said. “I plan to continue coming to the gala even after I graduate.”

Final Fantasy faithfuls to be disappointed with “FFXIII”

Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise may be disappointed by its newest installment, “Final Fantasy XIII.”

This game takes place in a fantasy universe on a planet known as Pulse and the city which floats over it, called Cocoon.

The environments of Cocoon and Pulse are beautifully designed, as are the character models. The voice acting is also excellent, which helps to draw the player into the story.

By far, the best aspect of this game is the new battle system, known as the paradigm system which is a cross between typical Final Fantasy menu system fighting and FFXII real-time combat.

The player only controls one character but chooses the classes of the entire party. The combination of classes creates unique paradigms that have different abilities. Knowing when to switch the paradigm from attacking or defending to healing is the key to success.

This game encourages the player to use combination attacks to weaken the opponent. When enough combination damage has been applied to the enemy, it becomes staggered and is susceptible to increased damage and new attacks. The new battle system keeps the player actively involved in each fight.

However, there are some serious flaws that will leave the die-hard gamer disappointed.
The biggest problem is that the game is incredibly linear. Not only is the story line straightforward, but the environments only allow one path to be followed.

The game opens up toward the end, but a player will spend the better part of the time following a straight line.

This means no visiting towns, talking with non-playable characters or traveling from shop to shop to find the right equipment. The only shopping that can be done is at save points, though the shops are hardly necessary with virtually no money in the game.

With such a linear game, a lot of pressure is put on the story line. Though the story is interesting and the surrounding universe is impressive, the story is often too predictable. Even when  it isn’t, the characters can become annoyingly one-dimensional.

For example, one of the characters, Hope, spends half of the game wallowing in despair, unable to see any hope in his situation. This kind of character development and obvious irony drags the story down.

This game is a disappointment because it is not the vast, interactive and unpredictable game that fans have come to expect from the Final Fantasy series.

However, the game is worth playing through once. The unique world, with all of its complicated history and beautiful design, and the battle system are certainly worth the time and money.

Just don’t play this game looking for a FFVII experience – you won’t find it.

A Kingly Banquet

King’s Mill, this year’s Spring Banquet location, is a rustic, family owned-and-operated mill filled with beautiful banquet halls.

Spring Banquet will take place in two of the major ballrooms with an extra space for an acoustic presentation by previous Dia del Este performers Jenny and Tyler. In addition to the room with Jenny and Tyler’s concert, one of the ballrooms will be specifically reserved for dancing with a D.J. mixing tracks.

Outside, there is a large, man-made waterfall where a photographer will be present for the first two hours of the banquet. These pictures can be purchased later from a Web site which will be identified during the Banquet.

This year, 350 people are expected to attend. There will be plenty of food to go around, including an ice cream sundae bar, a chocolate fountain and a cake buffet, in addition to the traditional meal.

In comparison to last year, the ticket prices are reduced and the commute is shorter. Some students wondered if this meant that the quality of the banquet would suffer.

When asked to compare last year’s banquet to the upcoming event, sophomore Kayla Woodford said, “It already started out better because the prices are lower.”

“You can’t really fairly compare the two banquets,” sophomore Caitlin Jones said. “I feel as though they are going to have really different feels to them.”

According to the senior Brittani Hales, SAB’s Entertainment Coordinator, “Truthfully, if you miss this event and hear other people talk about it, you’re going to wish you came.”