Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HU Announces 2011-2012 Musical Arts Society Season

HU Announces 2011-2012 Musical Arts Society Season

The Hampton University Musical Arts Society has announced its 2011-2012 events featuring the Urban Souls Dance Company, Handel’s “Messiah” Sing-a-Long and Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes. All performances will be held in Hampton University’s historic Ogden Hall, widely known for being one of the premier acoustic settings on the East Coast.
Urban Souls Dance Company

Urban Souls Dance Company, Nov. 11, 2011 at 8 p.m.
Based in Houston, Texas, the Urban Souls Dance Company believes in bridging gaps between the worlds of urban life and dance theater. Dedicated to the preservation and creation of historical and contemporary dances, Urban Souls celebrates cultural themes that educate and entertain.  This dance troupe provides audiences with more than just a dance performance, but a passionate “dance experience that will inspire and energize audiences.”
Admission is $30 general, $15 for students. Tickets are available online throughticketmaster.com, or call the HU Convocation Center box office at (757) 728-6800, Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call (757) 728-6508 for more information on attending a master class with Urban Souls Dance Company.
Handel's Messiah
HU Choirs & Orchestra present Handel’s “Messiah” Sing-A-Long, Dec. 4, 2011 at 4 p.m
Celebrate the season with a “Sing-A-Long” to George Frederic Handel’s timeless holiday classic.  This timeless musical holiday classic has become a traditional event in the Hampton Roads community.  HU’s Department of Music, University Choirs and Orchestra invite audiences to join along with featured artists Shelia J. Maye, soprano; Suzanne Oberdorfer, mezzo-soprano; Michael Myers, tenor; and Walter Swann, baritone.
Admission for this annual event is free; donations are appreciated.
Lonnie Smith
Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes April 6, 2012, at 8 p.m.
Richmond-native Lonnie Liston Smith is one of contemporary music's most versatile musicians, fusing jazz, soul and funk music together.  In a career that began in the 1970s, he has played alongside leaders such as Miles Davis and Pharoah Sanders before founding his own band, the Cosmic Echoes.
Admission is $25 general, $15 students.  Tickets are available online throughticketmaster.com, or call the HU Convocation Center box office at
(757) 728-6800, Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information on the Hampton University Musical Arts Society visit http://mas.hamptonu.edu.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HU alum’s booking agency plans Homecoming concerts

Tenisha Percell' 03 stands with Rick Ross after the HU Homecoming Concert 2010

HU alum’s booking agency plans Homecoming concerts
Thousands of screaming students packed in the Hampton University Convocation Center, performers giving their all and leaving their hearts on stage after performing, concert-goers still buzzing about performances years after the show.  These are the elements that are always present at HU’s homecoming concerts, and are a result of the business of Hampton alumna, Tenisha Percell ‘03.
A former entertainment editor of The Hampton Script, Percell turned her passion into profit when she founded “The Skool Boye Agency,” which she describes as “the most successful college-booking agency in the world.” The Skool Boye Agency specializes in the entertainment and product needs of the college market, and particularly plays a major role in the HBCU community.
The company started as an idea that Percell pitched to the Student Activities Office at HU, but now represents more than 200 schools across the country. As a student, in the agency’s humble beginnings, Percell helped bring Charlie Baltimore to HU for the school’s rendition of “Making the Band” in 2003.  The Agency has also been nationally recognized for its achievements, and had an article published in September 2009 in Black Enterprise about its successes.
Selecting the right artists for a concert for students with diverse musical interests can be tricky. To help choose the best artists for campus culture, The Skool Boye Agency conducts research. They provide surveys and polls to students to figure out which artists the majority of the school wants to perform. The agency then books these artists, and handles everything from managing to promotion.
Percell attributes most of the agency’s success to the training she received at her Home by the Sea. HU’s Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Barbara Inman said, “The Skool Boye Agency has really taken the Hampton University Homecoming concert to the next level.”
Purcell has advice for current students looking to pursue a similar path. She earned her HU degree in Media Management.
 “Start doing what you want to do now,” she said.  “Find mentors and internships, and stay involved in a lot of activities.”
Students are anxiously awaiting the homecoming concert for this year and buzz about the performers has been a top topic on campus. What can students expect this year? This year’s homecoming concert features Travis Porter, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Porter and Miguel.
According to Percell, “Students can expect to have a lot of fun, and will see a lot of dancing and will hear a lot of yelling.”
For more information on The Skool Boye Agency, visit http://www.skoolboye.com.

-Morgan  Gusby

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Miss Hampton University Coronation - “Fly Me To The Moon”

Miss HU 2011-2012 and her Homecoming Court.

Miss HU 2011-2012, Eyden Thomas, is crowned. 
The Miss Hampton University Coronation, “Fly Me To The Moon,” is 7 p.m., Oct. 19, in Ogden Hall. This traditional ceremony recognizes the “Mr.” and “Miss” from various campus organizations, and showcases the official crowing of Miss Hampton University who, this year, is Eyden Thomas, a senior sociology major from Charlotte, N.C.

Thomas won the title earlier this month. Her platform, “Empowering A Generation: Promoting Literacy Among the Hampton Roads Community” is dear to her heart.  She aspires to work as an educational advocate for underprivileged students.

On her experience with the pageant, Thomas said, “The girls were great … I truly made six new friends.”

Thomas is honored to have the title of Miss Hampton University 2011-2012, though she hasn’t quite settled in to the reality of it all.

“Everything is still very surreal at this point. Everyone says that after coronation it will finally set in,” said Thomas.

Admission to the ceremony is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow in the Student Center Ballroom. For more information about this event or other homecoming festivities, visit http://homecoming.hamptonu.edu or contact the HU Office of Student Activities at 757.727.5691.

-Stephanie Arterbery

Monday, October 17, 2011

Contestants and their coaches taking a break from rehearsal to smile for the camera. Chelsea Balentine (First Hampton Idol winner and vocal coach), Arquilla Burks, Zainab Mustapha, Malcom Scott, Apollo Simon (Vocal coach), and Jordan Johnson

Hampton Idol” kicks off HU Homecoming Week
Although Hampton University has a strong culture for music, there are many underground musicians that go unnoticed. In 2009, HU’s Student Leadership Program created Hampton Idol, a singing and rapping contest devoted to recognizing some of the school’s hidden talent.
In the beginning of the first Hampton Idol competition, contestants performed in the Student Center atrium for the first round of auditions, and went through a closed audition before making it to the show. Contestants were informed that they made it past the auditions, and worked with musicians to get arrangements and performances together. After two short weeks of rehearsals, it was show time.                    
Hundreds of students, including myself, packed Ogden Hall to witness the first Hampton Idol. The atmosphere oozed with positive vibes, and the stage showcased major talent. The show consisted of two parts; one portion was dedicated to singers, and the other portion was dedicated to rappers. Contestants got a chance to perform one song of their choice for the first round, then, celebrity judges eliminated three contestants from each part. The remaining two contestants got a chance to go head to head in the final round and received critiques from the judges. Amazing vocalist and senior, Chelsea Balentine was named the Hampton Idol winner for the singing portion. Quirky and well- known rap group Earth Gang emerged as the Hampton Idol winner for the rap portion.
Last year was the second showcase of Hampton Idol, and the performances were bigger and better. Singing group Emphasis wowed the crowd with a theatrical interpretation of the Bruno Mars hit “Billionaire,” and seduced Hamptonian women with a dance break during Destiny’s Child song “Cater to You.” Emphasis is an all male group composed of four juniors and one senior. Sophomore rapper Chemist enticed the crowd with his smooth rhymes during his performance. Emphasis and Chemist emerged as the two Hampton Idol winners for 2010.
The competition this year contains some heavy hitters in the singing category, including the go-go band’s lead singer Zainab Mustapha, and well-known campus singers, Jordan Johnson and Scotte Johnson.  The rappers this year include some previous contestants, and all have slick rhymes and punch lines, but must work the crowd well in order to win.
Students are anxiously waiting to see what talent HU has to offer this year. The competition is scheduled for 7p.m.  Oct. 17. in Ogden Hall and kicks off homecoming week. Tickets are on sale for $3 and are selling out fast.
As the competition approaches, contestants are working hard to put the finishing touches on their performances. Pre-judging this year’s show, I predict the contestants will make it hard for the judges.  Keep up with the HU blog site for the announcement of the 2011 Hampton Idol winners.

-Morgan Gusby

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back by Popular Demand! Dreamgirls back in full force

Back by Popular Demand! Dreamgirls back in full force

Dr. Karen Turner Ward, director of Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls, this popular movie and stage play, garnered rave reviews by the Hampton University community. Students and staff have flocked to the sold-out shows last March put on by the Hampton Players and Company and were thrilled that it would be brought back Oct. 12-16 as an encore production.  

This is not the first encore production that has been done by the Hampton Players. Recently, the original musical, “A Love To Call My Own” was brought back after an overwhelming box office response. After selling out of all 12 performances last year, Dreamgirls is back for those who were unable to see it or want the opportunity to see it again.

Under the direction of Dr. Karen Ward and the work of the Hampton Players, this year’s production of Dreamgirls will be sure to deliver just as it has previously. For one week, audiences will continue to be amazed by the scenes and costumes of the show. There were over 250 complete costume changes last year and this year’s production will include even more, along with some additional breathtaking pieces.
Ward, chair of the department of Fine and Performing Arts, is very pleased that the production had such a great reception. With the new additions and dynamics for the show, it is sure to keep one entertained.

The spectacle of the show was one of the highlights of Dreamgirls last year and we have added even more spectacle elements this year including special effects and pyrotechnics that will have our audiences wondering, “How did they do that?” said Ward.

This production would not be anything without its cast. They are the true essence for a show. Past and present cast members for Dreamgirls have enjoyed their experience and the bonds that developed. Ashley Garcia, who is a freshman this year, has enjoyed working with the other cast members and her experience with the play.  Garcia chose to audition because she thought it would be a great way to get involved and she is interested in entertainment. She also has never been in a play before and thought it would be something new. Even with this being her first year in the play, she has been able to transition.

“The cast is very disciplined and serious about their roles,” said Garcia. “They are exciting to be around and have been very helpful.”

Past and present cast member, Jade Banks, has enjoyed her experience as well.

“I have met a lot of different people and it has been a really good experience,” said Banks. She also has enjoyed getting to know the freshman cast members and showing them the ropes. This will be Bank’s second year in the production playing the role of Deena. When asked about her role,
“It has been very challenging but rewarding,” said Banks. “It is a lot of big shoes to fill…Sheryl Lee Ralph, who played the role on Broadway and Beyonce’ Knowles, who played the role in the movie.”

The production will be held in the Armstrong Hall Little Theatre.  It will run from Oct. 12-16 and begin at 8 p.m. and matinees (Saturday and Sunday) beginning at 3 pm. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students/seniors.  HU students are free.

If you missed it the first time, you definitely want to catch it the second time around!  For tickets call (757) 727-5236 and for questions or information regarding the production, contact Dr. Karen Turner Ward-  (757) 727-5402/5416.

                                                                               - Stephanie Arterbery 

Friday, October 7, 2011

HU Choir members perform at the Kennedy Center

HU Choir members perform at the 
Kennedy Center
Christen Wilson, a member of Hampton University’s Concert and University Choirs, was a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by the 105 Voices of History

           Two Hampton University students were chosen to participate in the 105 Voices of History HBCU National Concert Choir. Shaun Simmons, a second-year voice major from Philadelphia, Pa., and Christen Wilson, a third-year voice major from Jacksonville, Fla., were selected from among HU students to participate. The National Concert Choir’s performance was held on Sept. 18 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
            Wilson, a member of Hampton University’s Concert and University Choirs, was a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by the 105 Voices of History.
            “Being a part of the 105 Voices of History was an unforgettable experience,” said Wilson. “Performing at the Kennedy Center was an honor I never thought I’d have the opportunity to experience.” He was awarded on stage during the concert choir’s performance at the Kennedy Center.
The 105 Voices of History is an HBCU national initiative managed by Partners Achieving Success, an organization created to promote diversity in America’s national venues and to link students’ skills across industries. It was established in 2008 to function as the foremost purveyor of young, emerging African-American leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and resource developers in the country. Performing arts are used as platforms to showcase talent, while seminars and workshops provide rising leaders with leadership, diversity, and entrepreneurial training along with health education and financial literacy education.
            HU has had a strong presence in the 105 Voice of History since its origin. In 2008, Hampton University Director of Choirs Royzell Dillard served as a regional conductor for the 105 Voices of History, helping put together the first Kennedy Center Concert. Three HU students, Elana Moore, Paris Rutledge, and Lauren Davis-Stroud; sang in the first choir, and Elana Moore emerged as the first Voice- a representative of the entire organization. From the spring of 2009 through the current season, Dillard has served as the national choir director.
            Dillard, Simmons, and Wilson attended the five-day leadership conference that began on Sept. 13 and took the dynamic trio from the Kennedy Center to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The final performance on Sept. 18 included a guest appearance by world-renowned songstress and actress Jennifer Holiday.
            “The 105 Voices of History Experience was one to remember because of the constant rehearsals and workshops that made me a better person,” said Simmons. “It was a great opportunity to network with students from across the country.”  

                                                                                             - Morgan Gusby