Want to see a Broadway show for only $20? While that may be a stretch in New York City, but Mercer students can go to The Grand Opera House this afternoon or evening for Sister Act Produced by none other than the star of the feature film, Whoopie Goldberg herself, and with music written by the eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken, this musical promises to be a “Ridiculously fun," according to The New York Times. There are only two performances in the Macon leg of the tour- a matinee performance this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. and an evening performance at 8 p.m. Tickets, which regularly run between $45- $66, are discounted to $20 purchase Student Rush Tickets for children ages 5 to 18 and college students with valid student I.D. from any college or university. One ticket may be purchased per eligible student in person at The Grand Opera House, by phone at 478-301-5470. Student Rush Rates will also be offered when the box office opens an hour and a half prior to the show, and online using the promo code “STUDENTRUSH” (in all caps), from 12:01 a.m. until 4 p.m. on performance days. Valid student I.D. must be presented at the box office when picking up tickets. Students ages 18 & up must also provide a valid email address to complete their purchase Mercer students with a student I.D. The plot of Sister Act is centered around a lounge singer by the name of Deloris Van Cartier who is trying to make a name for herself as a glamorous entertainer. Cartier's whole world gets turned upside down when she witnesses a murder and is placed in the witness protection program in the last place anyone would ever look for her…a convent! If you’re a fan of the movie, you can expect the musical to follow the general storyline, but the musical version is much more than simply a re-creation of the feature film. For a truly unique Sunday afternoon or evening escapade, join the over 6 million audience members across the globe for Butler Lexus Broadway Series’ production of the “Divine Musical Comedy” that is Sister Act.
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Smoke pours out over the stage, the sound of drums and the swell of music fills the room as men in glistening armor march in a carefully choreographed formation; a man, a king, cries out in anguish at the catastrophic chain of events that have befallen his kingdom. Incidents ensue that create a divide between himself and the people he loves the most, and shatter his vision of order and justice. The time is roughly between the late fifth to early sixth century C.E. The place? The castle of Camelot. The man before us? None other than King Arthur. Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot” whisks us away to this magical, far off land where knights in shining armor are the status quo and chivalry, far from being dead, is at the height of its popularity. Although this particular version begins in media res at the dissolution of the kingdom as a consequence of Sir Lancelot du Lac and Queen Guinevere’s treasonous romantic relations, after the opening tableau, we are quickly transported back to a much happier time: King Arthur’s wedding day. We see not only his apprehension at getting married, leaving his boyish playfulness and Merlin’s guidance behind to fulfill his obligations as a husband and a King, but also qualms on Guinevere’s part at leaving a normal life and “the simple joys of maidenhood” behind in order to become the Queen. Through a chance encounter, the two meet without realizing that they are betrothed to one another, fall in love pretty much at first sight, get married and seem to be on the path to a medieval happily ever after. Enter Sir Lancelot du Lac, the manifestation of physical perfection who, because of his never-ending quest for virtue and self-cultivation, has never been defeated in battle. Although he is initially seen as a boorish prude, he quickly proves himself invaluable to King Arthur as a friend and advisor—and to Queen Guinevere as well as the object of her affection. In spite of their newfound feelings for one another, Lancelot and Guinevere manage to keep their romance in check until Arthur’s illegitimate son and the villain of the musical, Mordred, sets up a trap, which causes the adulterous nature of their relationship to come to light and brings us full-circle to the battlefield where the musical begins. I came to this production with the expectation of seeing a Broadway-quality show with talented actors and actresses, magnificent music and visually stunning costumes and scenery in the familiar setting of The Grand Opera House. What I was not expecting, however, was how relevant the subject matter would be to the college-aged population. The character of Merlin, with his encouragement of critical thinking, seemed to embody the principles of a liberal arts education. Lancelot, with his questioning and adaptation of his values and worldview, was highly reminiscent of what most of us likely experienced freshman year. Arthur, with his struggling to find a balance between his responsibilities as a king and a leader of his people, and his human instincts seemed parallel to making the transition from adolescence into full-fledged adulthood. “Camelot”at The Grand Opera House provided a glimpse into the “one brief shining moment” that was the height of King Arthur’s reign while at the same time addressing questions and issues that have affected human beings throughout the course of history and that are still relevant to audiences of all ages today.
It is a big and busy world out there beyond the shores of the red, white, and blue. When you are involved with your studies in undergrad, medical school, law school or some other program, it can be easy to miss what is going on. When you do catch a bit of news, it can be upsetting—and I’m not talking about Apple making your iPhone 6 with a bigger screen. Journalists have been beheaded on the Internet by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist group that is plunging Syria and Iraq back into a state of chaos. Putin seems to be threatening World War III over Ukraine. A deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread worldwide if left unchecked. We still have armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The list can go on and on. Listing these problems out makes me think that it would be easy for all of us to bury our noses in our books, secure in the knowledge that we live in America—the greatest country in the history of the human race. However, it is vital that we as students at Mercer University do no such thing. All of us are potential leaders of tomorrow. As a third year student at the law school, I am often reminded that both the governor and the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court are Mercer Law graduates. Regardless of which school you are in, you can be a leader in your community, a leader in this state or even a leader of this nation. But suppose you become a leader... what exactly will you do? How will you lead? Will you offer a vision of America’s role in world? I have heard my own friends sound off with answers on how America should respond to these crises abroad and America’s proper place of leadership in the international community. Those views range from isolationist (something like “the rest of the world is not our problem,” “we are too broke” and “we should not be the world’s police”) to humanitarian engagement (generally expressed as “with great power comes great responsibility”) and everything inbetween. I can find some merit in almost any argument... that is what law school does to you. However, the most powerful answer comes in the form of a question, one I ask myself everyday: What does the action that I am about to take say about me to everyone else? Asking myself that question is meant not only to help me avoid embarrassing myself on a daily basis but also to help me become the best version of myself. In life, the things that we do define who we are. It is no different when America takes action—and when America takes action abroad, it says something about each and every one of us to the rest of the world. How can it not if America and its government are truly “of the people, by the people and for the people?” National security concerns, relations with our allies, humanitarian concerns and budgetary restraints will always constrain the actions that our leaders take on our behalf… but before we send our drones overhead to target a building that has suspected ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists, before we send troops back into Iraq, before we pass more economic sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea from Ukraine and before we send in the CDC and military personnel to assist with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we should all ask ourselves what doing each of those actions says about us as a people. We should ask what not doing each of those actions says about us as a people. The answers should make us proud. They may not always make us proud, but in that case, the answers should make us aspire to come up with solutions that will make us proud in the future because we learned from mistakes of the past. All of us still in the halls of Mercer—we need to start demanding answers to those questions, preparing to answer them ourselves. Making this simple decision calculus a part of who we all are will ensure that America is the leader that it should be today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
Shortly before the entry of United States into the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the nation and spoke of a peace without victory, the titular phrase of the speech. In his speech, he said, “only peace with equals may last”; the alternative is a peace through submission, and such “peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand.” The most well-known quote of the speech is integral to my understanding of global responsibility. President Wilson said, “Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure peace, or only for a new balance of power? … There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace.” This is certainly not the genesis of theories about global peace through integration, but the circumstance of the speech enlightens us to the actual consequence of a failure to achieve that community. Despite efforts to avert it, the war for Europe did become a global war. Later, because we failed to successfully integrate Germany into global community on an equal footing with similar powers, the world would again explode into the chaos of global war in the 1940s. President Wilson’s words rang true and have proven true time and time again. There can be no lasting peace unless you are willing to bring your enemies and those excluded from the global order by circumstance into the fold. I agree with this aspect of the theory, but I somewhat diverge with President Wilson on the way in which we breach this peace. I believe that, regardless of how powerful a state is, it cannot solely bring another country into the global community. That has to be achieved by interaction of societies. States balance powers, but societies build communities. The people build communities. Right now, I’m spending a year in Thailand teaching English. I don’t mean to self-aggrandize; I’m well aware that my novice teaching skills aren’t preventing another World War. Nonetheless, small actions can have huge impacts. Thailand is in the process of integrating into ASEAN, a Southeast Asian multilateral commission that could one day resemble the model of the European Union. To compensate for the vast range of languages spoken in South East Asia, English will be the official language of conducting ASEAN affairs. This puts Thailand at a disadvantage with its neighbors. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation to never be colonized, so English is far less prevalent here. Building an English literate society has become a top priority to secure the geopolitical and economic status of Thailand among its neighbors. The regions security depends on Thailand becoming a part of this community, not just a counterweight to its ascent. Native English speakers from the all nations are welcomed to teach grammar, to refine pronunciation and to get Thais accustomed to a global world. Thailand’s forward progress isn’t about making them more Western, just more modern. Opening up to a global community is integral to this process. Thailand’s story is just one example of how global responsibility has shifted to the realm of the individual. Other examples abound. Terrorism often presents itself as the last option for those who have no recourse by which to respond to their situation. Consequently, the integration of isolated societies into the global community means a lessening in the likelihood that such horrendous acts seem like viable solutions. That integration is much more effectively achieved by moving the society forward than by imposing force on the government. Are you threatened by the actions of Hamas? Present Palestinians with a viable alternative. Buying Palestinian olive oil will do more to quell the region than any occupation ever will. Even in somewhere as mysterious to Americans as Iran, a youthful society drags its leaders towards integrating with the world (albeit in small steps). In India and Northern Africa, micro-loans seek to revolutionize the way that economic mobility is ordered in states. This process depends on the actions of the global community. The world in which we live is growing increasingly small. With this new sized world, we will see that global responsibility will be more about the role of the supra-society rather the supra-state. Global responsibility is about individuals building global communities.
If you’ve never heard of slide guitar, and you happen to be a fan of blue-eyed soul, delta blues, roadhouse rock, southern boogie, Texas swing and gospel, then heading over to the Cox Capitol Theatre on Saturday, April 5, to listen to the smooth guitar stylings of Lee Roy Parnell is the perfect introduction to the genre. Slide guitar, for those who don’t know, is a guitar-playing technique that involves sliding an object along the guitar strings to achieve particular pitches and vibrating length. Parnell utilizes the method of guitar playing to achieve a true bluesy ambience to his music. “Lee Roy Parnell is part of a long line of Texas roots-music eclectics and is among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat. An ace guitarist, as well as a distinctive singer and hit songwriter, his music runs the gamut of diversity,” said Lisa McClendon, executive director of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, “Macon is extremely fortunate to bring such a talented musician to the Cox Theatre. He’s a real treat. He’s one of the best blues guitarists you’ll hear.” McClendon is not alone in this assessment of Parnell’s unique talent. Virtually as soon as he began his career as a blues and slide guitarist, Parnell achieved success. He was signed with Polygram Music and had a featured spot at The Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tenn., shortly after he decided to make the move 27 years ago. After two years with Polygram, he made the move to Arista Records under the direction of Tim Dubois. His debut album was recorded in none other than the musical mecca, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, with Barry Beckett of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section as the producer. Parnell then moved on to sign with Vanguard and Universal South, and is currently working on what will be his first independently released album, as well as his very own music publishing company, Dean Parnell Music. This concert, which is one of four events being held to benefit The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, will feature not only Lee Roy Parnell, but the up-and-coming country music singer-songwriter Adam Hood. Students can expect to hear from both Hood and Parnell a wide range of songs that come together to form a truly distinctive and comprehensive Southern sound. The doors open at 7 p.m. with musical performances starting at 8 p.m. General admission tickets range from $25 to $37.50 and can be purchased online at www.coxcapitoltheatre.com. If you’re looking for a luxury listening experience, VIP Premiere table seating is also available with prices ranging from $500 to $1000 per table. For more information regarding this event, including ticket details and table purchases, please call The Allman Brothers Band at The Big House at 478-741-5551, and dial ext. 1.
If you haven’t seen Katie Elliot running around the music building, always with a smile on her face, you’ve probably heard her signature booming laugh. She’s one of those rare people who will take the time to stop and say hello, even if she’s in a hurry. If you’re not fortunate enough to have made her acquaintance, you’ll probably recognize her from one of her stellar performances with the Mercer Opera. Elliot is currently a senior, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in voice with a minor in theatre. A Macon native, she was first attracted to Mercer when she started taking voice lessons during her senior year of high school and her voice teacher, a Mercer alumna, encouraged her to audition. Although music has always been a significant part of Elliot’s life, her involvement in marching band and musical theater during high school were what really solidified her passion for the performing arts. “They helped me connect my leadership skills and musical talent, and showed me that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Elliot. Elliot is inspired by her friends and their successes in the arts, and seeing them push themselves to achieve their goals motivates her to work even harder to reach her own. Her greatest role model is her voice teacher, Marie Roberts. “She is the best thing that ever happened to me at Mercer. Roberts is not only an incredible voice teacher, she is also a wonderful mentor and guide in all aspects of life. I could not be more thankful that I could be a part of her studio,” said Elliot During her opera career at Mercer, Elliot has brought a wide range of characters to life through her performances in the various Mercer Opera productions. Her favorite role to date was the Third Lady in the recent production of “The Magic Flute.” Elliot is committed to exploring and developing the characters that she portrays, and has a very meticulous approach with regard to this aspect of her performance. “The first step for me is research. I try to find information about the composer and/or playwright and their other works. I then read a synopsis of the show to get a feel for what happens and where my character fits in. I read the script, and if the show is a musical or opera I try and find a recording or video of it,” said Elliot. “It’s very important for me to read the script before listening or watching anything so that I can think of my character on my own without being influenced by another performance. I then ask myself: What motivates the character? Who exactly are they? Are they similar to myself in any way? The rest usually happens in rehearsal with the director.” Elliot’s senior recital will be held on Monday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m., and she will also be singing in Mercer Opera’s one act productions from April 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. and April 6 at 2:30 p.m. All of these performances will take place in Fickling Hall at the McCorkle Music Building and are open to the public. This is one Mercer artist you definitely don’t want to miss.
“The Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers in Macon, Ga., are ramping up efforts to help the [Martin] family who were impacted by the tragic fire at their home this past weekend on Mimosa Drive,” said Tammy Lucich, the media contact for The Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers and the Martin family. On Feb. 28 a fire devastated the family home of long-time Mellow Mushroom employee Adam Martin. Besides destroying everything but the clothes on the backs of the Martin family, the fire also caused the death of on of the Martin children—a 3-year-old girl named A’von. There are opportunities for the community to lend a hand through donating monetary gifts online or locally via various CertusBanks throughout the Macon area under the name of “The Martin Family.” Household and clothing items can be brought to the Mellow Mushroom store in Macon at 5425 Bowman Rd., and monetary donations can be contributed at http://youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor-/putting-the-pieces-back-together/145021. Mellow Mushroom of Macon, as well as the Mellow Mushroom Headquarters in Atlanta, is also doing their part to contribute to help the cause of their employee. In Macon on March 11 a fundraiser was held in which 20 percent of all purchases made at the Bowman Road branch between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. were given directly to the family. The event was successful and raised a significant amount of money for the Martin family. During the event, there was also a collection area for clothing and household item donations, which will continue to be in place for the next several weeks. The collection area’s donation center accepts various clothes, shoes, toys, gift cards, money, furniture and miscellaneous items. The owner of the Macon branch, David Spivey, is currently serving as the personal liaison to the immediate family members of the Martin family. Not only has the Martin family lost all of their possessions, but Spivey thinks it goes beyond that. “Mr. Martin has been a dedicated employee for over six years,” Spivey said. “We want to do anything and everything we can to provide items to help support this family and allow them to rebuild their lives.” The Mellow Mushroom Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., will also be contributing significantly to help the Martin family recover by making a donation of $1,000 to the family. A few of the locations where the Martin family shops locally are at Top 2 Bottom, Burlington Coat Factory and Fashion Metro. For anyone who would like to purchase or donate clothing items, the information for each of the family members is listed to the right. For more information regarding the Martin family, contact Mellow Mushroom at (478)-254-6789.