Monthly Archives: February 2014

SBU presents ‘The Spoon River Project’ March 13-15

Southwest Baptist University will present “The Spoon River Project,” a joint production between SBU Theatre and the SBU Music Department, March 13-15.

Front row (l to r): Tanner Boots, Lindsay Gingrich, Makenzie Watterson Back row (l to r): Becca Bell, Garrett Maxey, Caleb Holden

Front row (l to r): Tanner Boots, Lindsay Gingrich, Makenzie Watterson
Back row (l to r): Becca Bell, Garrett Maxey, Caleb Holden

Based on “The Spoon River Anthology,” a collection of poems first published by Edgar Lee Masters in 1915, this “play with music” adaptation was written by Tom Andolora. The play contains popular songs from the 19th century including “Hard Times,” “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” “In the Gloaming,” and “When You and I Were Young.”

A cast of six men and six women share the stories of dozens of characters buried in the cemetery in the fictional town of Spoon River, Ill., bringing to light secrets the rest of the town never knew.

“The students are stepping up to the challenge of playing three or more characters each. It’s a wonderful exercise for them as actors,” said Dr. Elissa Sartwell, director of SBU Theatre and assistant professor of theatre.

Many of the residents of Spoon River experienced great tragedy and heartbreak. But the play reveals that sometimes people’s secrets weren’t as secret as they thought they were.

“Everybody has secrets. In ‘The Spoon River Project’ we see some of these secrets come to light. We have to be honest with one another if we have any hope of forming a community,” Sartwell said.

Sartwell shared that the show will be staged in a thrust formation, meaning that the audience will be seated on the stage floor surrounding the actors. Because of this set-up, tickets are limited to 65 per performance.

“The Spoon River Project” is directed by Sartwell with music direction by Jane Munson-Berg, assistant professor of music, and conducted by Andrew Campbell, associate professor of music. Scenic and lighting design is led by Jonathan Wehmeyer, instructor of theatre. Costume design was done by Sartwell and choreography was done by Jeff Allen Young, recent SBU graduate.

The play is approximately 90 minutes in length. Performances will be in the Davis-Newport Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13 – Saturday, March 15 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for alumni, senior citizens and students of other schools; and $3 for SBU students. Due to limited seating, advance ticket purchase is encouraged. You can purchase tickets at the Box Office in the Jester Learning and Performance Center or by calling (417) 328-1691.

SBU to host Mr. and Miss Southwest competition

Southwest Baptist University will be hosting its annual Mr. and Miss Southwest pageant at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7 in Pike Auditorium.

Mr. and Miss Southwest candidates Back row (l to r): Kyle Hollmann, Noah Burton, Arthur Harmon, Antion McBee Front row (l to r): Beth Luckel, Sarah Doell, Trinity Griffin, Lauran Gilstrap

Mr. and Miss Southwest candidates
Back row (l to r): Kyle Hollmann, Noah Burton, Arthur Harmon, Antion McBee
Front row (l to r): Beth Luckel, Sarah Doell, Trinity Griffin, Lauran Gilstrap

Candidates are selected from the junior class by faculty and staff. The pageant will feature the eight candidates as they compete for the titles of Mr. and Miss Southwest. The competition includes a video introduction of the candidates, a talent presentation and a question-answer session. The audience will then vote via text messaging to determine the winner.

The tradition of “Miss Southwest” dates back to the 1930s; “Mr. Southwest” was added in 1963.

This year’s candidates are Noah Burton of Noblesville, Ind.; Sarah Doell of Pacific, Mo.; Lauran Gilstrap of Blue Springs, Mo.; Trinity Griffin of Belleville, Ill.; Arthur Harmon of Potosi, Mo.; Kyle Hollmann of Ozark, Mo.; Beth Luckel of Colorado Springs, Co.; and Antion McBee of St. Louis, Mo.

The pageant is being held during Bearcat Days, a two-day visit event for admitted students considering attending SBU in the fall.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Tony Kriz, Christian author and speaker, at SBU March 3

Christian author and speaker Tony Kriz will speak in the 10 a.m. chapel service and again at 7 p.m.  Monday, March 3, in Pike Auditorium at Southwest Baptist University.

Kriz served with a variety of international organizations including Campus Crusade for Christ for 12 years, the majority of that time in Eastern Europe: living with Muslims in Albania and serving the war-torn former Yugoslavia. He also chaplained for several years on the campus of Reed College in Portland, some of the exploits of which are described in Donald Miller’s best-selling book “Blue Like Jazz.” He received a degree in historical rhetoric from Oregon State University and a master of divinity with an intercultural emphasis from Multnomah Biblical Seminary.

Kriz recently received his doctorate in spiritual formation from George Fox University in Newberg, Ore. He regularly teaches classes including The Theology of Culture, Communicating the Gospel in a Postmodern Age and Relational Apologetics. He is a frequent speaker at retreats, churches and college campuses across the country.

Most recently, Kriz has been featured in the new film, “Lord Save Us From Your Followers.” He lives with his wife Aimee and their three sons (Malachi, 7; Hudson, 5; and Tristan, 4) in Portland, Ore. Together they have been foundational participants of several spiritual communities that serve the disillusioned, artistic and dramatically post-Christian population of East Portland.

The public is welcome to attend both sessions. More information about Tony Kriz, including promo videos for his book “Neighbors and Wisemen” is available at For more information about chapel services at SBU, contact Kurt Caddy, director of University Ministries, at (417) 328-1902 or

Dr. Jeffery Waters to present saxophone recital

The Southwest Baptist University Department of Music will present a faculty saxophone recital featuring Dr. Jeffery Waters, professor of music and dean of the Geneva Casebolt College of Music, Arts and Letters, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 in the Meyer Recital Hall.

The recital will feature Waters as soloist on alto saxophone and soprano saxophone. He will be accompanied on piano by Melinda Smashey Jones, associate professor of music.

The program includes Alessandro Marcello’s “Concerto in C Minor,” originally for oboe, as transcribed for soprano saxophone. Waters will also perform his own adaptation of Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs,” featuring the soprano saxophone. Paul Bonneau’s “Caprice en forme de Valse” and Walter Hartley’s “Duo” will highlight two works from the classic repertoire for the alto saxophone. The recital will conclude with Jean Matitia’s “Devil’s Rag.”

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the SBU Music Office at (417) 328-1644.

SBU commencement May 24 in Bolivar, May 22 in Springfield

Southwest Baptist University will host commencement May 24 for all graduates except those receiving degrees from the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences, who will graduate May 22 in Springfield.

The Bolivar ceremony is at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24, and will be outdoors on the Merrilll Burnidge Memorial Forum, south of Mabee Chapel. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center.

The Springfield ceremony is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22, and will be held in the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 3111 E. Battlefield Road, Springfield.

For more information about the Bolivar commencement, please contact the Provost’s Office at (417) 328-1601. For more information about the Springfield commencement, please call (417) 820-2069.

SBU Speaking Bearcats win MAFA state championship

For the second consecutive year the Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats are the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities (MAFA) state champions in Overall Team Sweepstakes.

Back row (l to r): Jessica Palen, Maggie Thomas, Reed Dressler, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, Micah Jordan; Front row (l to r): Kati Clair, Julie Strubinger, Leah Cleek, Lydia Swisher, Meg Burns

Back row (l to r): Jessica Palen, Maggie Thomas, Reed Dressler, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, Micah Jordan; Front row (l to r): Kati Clair, Julie Strubinger, Leah Cleek, Lydia Swisher, Meg Burns

The team finished first in overall sweepstakes, first in individual events sweepstakes and tied for first in debate sweepstakes with Truman State University. The tie was broken on the number of breaks into elimination rounds resulting in a second place finish in debate sweepstakes for SBU.

In parliamentary debate, Nik Fischer and Reed Dressler reached the quarterfinals.

In public forum debate, the Speaking Bearcats advanced each of their teams to elimination rounds. The team of Jessica Palen and Leah Cleek finished as quarterfinalists. Meg Burns and Will Wheeler were semifinalists. Kati Clair and Lydia Swisher reached the finals and won second place in public forum debate. However, since the team that beat them in the final round was from out of state, Clair and Swisher were the highest advancing public forum debate team from Missouri earning the title of state champions.

The SBU Speaking Bearcats also performed well in speech events. Nik Fischer placed second in communication analysis, third in informative speaking, second in extemporaneous speaking, fourth place in after dinner speaking, and was the first place finisher and state champion in both oratory and impromptu speaking. Fischer capped off his success with his first place finish in pentathalon, an event recognizing high-performing competitors participating in five or more events.

Burns placed third in oratory, second in prose, fourth in informative speaking, and was the first place finisher in communication analysis. Burns has won the communication analysis event for three straight years. She finished third in the pentathalon.

Julie Strubinger was a semifinalist in impromptu speaking and finished in fifth place in communication analysis.

Dressler finished in sixth place in oratory and was awarded the title of “Top Novice” in the event.

In just his third tournament with the team, Wheeler earned sixth place in extemporaneous speaking.

Micah Jordan finished in sixth place in communication analysis.

Clair was “next out” in after dinner speaking, finishing just one point short of reaching the finals in that event.

Swisher finished in fourth place in program of oral interpretation. She also finished first in informative speaking to earn the titles of “Top Novice” and state champion in that event.

Maggie Thomas earned second place in oratory. The MAFA state tournament is a qualifying event for the Interstate Oratorical competition, a competition that has been held for 150 continuous years. With first and second place finishes in this event, both Fischer and Thomas will represent SBU and the state of Missouri at this competition to be held April 25-26 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

The SBU Speaking Bearcats team will spend the next few weeks preparing for the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, which will take place March 19-23 in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information about the SBU forensics program, please contact Dr. David Bailey at

Bulgarian pianist to perform at SBU

The Southwest Baptist University Department of Music is presenting a guest artist piano recital at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Meyer Recital Hall. The recital features award-winning pianist Ilia Radoslavov, who will perform piano solos including a sonata by Beethoven, “Improvisation” by Vladigerov and “Pictures at an Exposition” by Mussorgsky.

Radoslavov is a native of Bulgaria and has appeared in numerous solo and chamber performances in prestigious venues across the United States, Europe and South Africa. He was the gold medalist in the 2009 Seattle International Piano Competition and has also received many other recognitions and awards.

Dr. Radoslavov is currently on faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University and previously served on faculty at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Truman State University.

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the SBU music office at (417) 328-1644.

Spoken word artists to minister at SBU Feb. 17, 24

Chris Webb and MissTerious Janette…ikz (pronounced mysterious genetics) will be using a variety of gifts to minister at Southwest Baptist University. Webb will be on campus Monday, Feb. 17, and Janette…ikz will be on campus Monday, Feb. 24. Both will speak in the 10 a.m. chapel service. Janette…ikz also will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Pike Auditorium. All events are open to the public.

Both artists are with 33 Three Records. According to its website, “33 Three Records is committed to pursuing excellence with a Kingdom purpose. Providing a home for unique artists who are stretching the boundaries of contemporary sounds.”

Webb realized at a young age that he was blessed with a passion and gift for art. He began performing plays and poems around his city, and as God expanded his skill-set, his horizons began to expand as well.

In high school, he began performing plays on a national level at theater festivals and camps across the country. Webb also began seeing his gift start to “make room” for him in the area of poetry as well. He began finding opportunities to minister through poems on more-elevated platforms including BET, MTV, Showtime, and Adelphia cable, and also in front of many prominent entertainers including Harry Belafonte, Clay Aiken, Tye Tribbett, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Guillaume, Don Cheadle, Bill Cosby and many others.

Webb also entered poetry competitions, competing for three years at the “Brave New Voices” International youth poetry Slam, finally becoming an international finalist in 2007, and gaining the title of fourth in the world. After graduating from the Cleveland School of the Arts he went on to the California Institute of the Arts for acting, graduating with his B.A. in Acting in 2011 after a myriad of training, travel, commercials and made-for-TV movies.

Janette…ikz uses an array of talents that span from poetic expression, singing, rapping and dancing to even playing multiple instruments. She also leads worship at her church.

She has performed internationally and also had the opportunity of performing alongside international personalities including Chris Tomlin, Toby Mac, Francis Chan, Lecrae, Donnie McClurkin, Kierra Sheard, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin and more.

For more information about chapel services at SBU, contact Kurt Caddy, director of University Ministries, at (417) 328-1902 or

SBU student wins research award

Trevor Parrish ’13, from Blue Springs, Mo., received the Top Undergraduate Paper Award for the 25th annual Sooners Communication Conference. His paper is entitled, “Fantasy Memes: The Digital Conversation” and will be presented during the conference at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., March 7-8.

Parrish graduated from Southwest Baptist University in December 2013 with a degree in management and communication.

Current SBU seniors, Chris Ahrens from St. Louis, Mo., and Chelsea (Buffington) Mosher, from Dauphin, Pa., will also be presenting their research at the conference. Ahrens will present “Examining Christian Rhetoric on Gay Rights.” Mosher’s paper is entitled, “Late-Night Comedy Shows and the Elaboration Likelihood Model.”

The Sooners Communication Conference is hosted by the Communication Graduate Student Association at the University of Oklahoma. The conference brings together faculty and students from colleges and universities throughout the nation to discuss theory and research in communication and allows students to refine their work for future presentations and publications.

For more information, contact Dr. Brett Miller at (417) 328-1696 or

Speaking Bearcats compete in Border Wars tournament

The SBU Speaking Bearcats forensics team returned to competition in the Border Wars tournament in Salina, Kan., Jan. 31-Feb. 2. The tournament featured competitors from 14 different universities throughout the South and Midwest regions.

The SBU Forensics team: (l to r) Lydia Swisher, Becca Godsey (coach), Julie Strubinger, Reed Dressler, Kati Clair, Meg Burns, Maggie Thomas, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, Micah Jordan

The SBU Forensics team: (l to r) Lydia Swisher, Becca Godsey (coach), Julie Strubinger, Reed Dressler, Kati Clair, Meg Burns, Maggie Thomas, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, Micah Jordan

The SBU team took third place in overall sweepstakes, fourth place in debate sweepstakes and third place in individual event sweepstakes.

The Speaking Bearcats were represented in the finals of each of the two divisions of parliamentary debate. Kati Clair and Lydia Swisher won second place in the novice division and Nik Fischer and Reed Dressler were tournament champions in the open (varsity) division.

Swisher was declared the third best speaker in novice parliamentary debate. Fischer won fourth place speaker in open parliamentary debate.

The team had strong results in individual events. Julie Strubinger placed fifth in after dinner speaking, sixth place in communication analysis and sixth place in persuasive speaking.

In addition to her parliamentary debate success, Swisher also placed second in informative speaking and was the top novice in that event.

Clair added points to the team total by finishing with sixth place in after dinner speaking.

Dressler won fourth place in extemporaneous speaking and performed well in several other events. His success earned him second place in pentathalon, an event acknowledging competitors who compete in five or more speech events.

Combined with his first place debate finish, Fischer also won first place in impromptu speaking and extemporaneous speaking. He also finished with second place in persuasion.

Meg Burns won first place in informative speaking, third place in prose interpretation, fourth place in communication analysis and fifth place in persuasion.

The Speaking Bearcats will build on this success as they prepare for the Missouri Association of Forensics Activities State Championship tournament Feb. 14-15 in Warrensburg, Mo.

For more information about SBU Forensics, please contact Dr. David Bailey, director of forensics, at