Category: Arts

Music & Worship, Writing, Events that apply, anything creative


Coffeehouse signups are here, auditions next week

Coffeehouse will take place in the Underground Coffeeshop, located in the Eubanks Activity Center on campus, Monday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.

Coffeehouse is a time for the campus community to come together and share their talents with one another. Some people sing, others read poetry they have written, and some choose to display artwork on tables for all to observe.

Those who participate also have the option to enjoy a cup of coffee from the Underground Coffeeshop for just $1.

For anyone who would like to share his or her talents with the rest of Johnson’s community, signups will be taking place this week during lunch hours in the Gally Commons.

Another option for signing up is to follow the link posted below:
Those who sign up for coffeehouse will need to participate in auditions, which will be held on Monday, Oct. 29 from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 1 from 7-9 p.m.



Johnson University students needed to serve musically in chapel

JUTN chapel leaders are looking for more students to serve musically and help lead worship during chapel services. Anyone interested in participating can audition, by video, year round.

“We’re open to anything but the main instruments (needed) are acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano or keys, drums, vocals,” said Alison Tomamichel, chapel production teaching assistant.
Worship leaders email participants several weeks in advance and ask if they would like to participate on a certain day. They can then accept or decline the invitation. Students are encouraged to participate as much as possible, however, they will not typically be asked to serve two weeks in a row.
“It’s an awesome experience too, to play in chapel, and it’s a lot of fun getting to play with the band and hang out with them. It’s a lot of fun, serving the Lord.
Students will need to be available for more than just the chapel service in which they participate.
“There’s a practice, of some sort, before the Monday’s sound check, and then Monday you have to go to sound check, which is from 12:30 to about 2:30 usually,” Tomamichel said. “You have to get to chapel, on the days that you play, at 7:45.”
Anyone interested in learning more can email or Audition videos can be emailed to


Tour Choir presents their Spring ensemble

KNOXVILLE — JUTN’s Music Department will host the 12th annual Spring Mini Concert this Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Marble Hall of the Phillips-Welshimer Building.

The purpose of the concert is to showcase what the music department ensembles have been working toward all year. It also provides deserving students the opportunity to perform solo in front of a larger audience.

As opposed to years past, this year’s spring concert will be a mini concert because there is only one active ensemble, Tour Choir, as opposed to the three ensembles that used to perform: Tour Choir, Campus Coir, and Handbell Choir.

Tuesday’s concert will feature two vocal soloists, freshmen students Gabriel La Duke and Caleb Lawen.

La Duke will be performing an aria from Handel’s “Rodelinda.”

Lawen will perform If I Were a Rich Man,” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof.



New JUTN student body president works for greater campus community

KNOXVILLE — Junior Lexi Overcash, the new student body president of JUTN, is hoping to begin her presidency as a part of the Student Government Association by finding new ways to create a better community on campus.

Overcash said the past two student body presidents, Matt Shears and Kaleb Mullins provided a great mold for leadership.

“Under Matt Shears, I got to be part of major events,” Overcash said. “I thought his leadership was excellent across the board.”

Overcash said that Mullins also did a great job and hopes to emulate how actively involved he was in SGA cabinet meetings.

“I respect all of them very highly,” Overcash said. “Under both of them, I couldn’t have asked for better leaders.”

Although some students expressed concern about lack of communication before the most recent SGA election, Overcash said she feels like SGA communicated in every way that they could have.

“We can only do nominations a week or two in advance of when we actually vote, so we did our nominations in our SGA meeting on Wednesday,” Overcash said. “Then, we tried to get the news out right away of who it was, but we really only have two platforms to communicate to students and that is our social media and SGA announcements during chapel.”

Overcash said she recognizes that these two platforms are not working well and that there needs to be a better way to get information to students.

“It’s obvious that communication is a problem and that those two platforms are not working necessarily,” Overcash said. “Currently, we are in the works of creating a new platform of how we are going to address it.”

Overcash said she could not disclose what the new platform was because it is still in the works.

“We are hoping that this new way will allow for us to communicate all announcements and have them all in one place,” Overcash said. “Because there is a communication problem in general on campus, we are really focusing on communication and unity next year to relieve that stress of not having everyone on the same page.”

Overcash said she hopes to answer a great need in her opinion by instrumenting community among all of the organizations on campus.

“As I have been a member of other organizations myself, I have realized that there is a lot of disunity between SGA and the clubs,” Overcash said. “I think that is important because SGA is the representation of the student body to administration.

“If we’re not connected with them we won’t accurately represent them to people higher up,” she added.

Bridging the gap between student organizations and SGA is one of Overcash’s main goals and she said she has already thought of ways to accomplish this goal.

She said she believes one way to do this is by having monthly meetings with all student club or organization leaders to “come together to create a vision.”

“[We want to] be on the same page so then even though we all have different things we are focusing on, our general mission is the same,” she said.

Overcash hopes this will create better unity and passion on campus to allow SGA to be able to serve the student body more effectively.

Overcash said another one of her goals is to gain greater student involvement in events on campus.

“We are trying to create a bigger passion and drive for students to be involved on campus,” Overcash said. “We feel like the student body has just kind of been at like a dull energy level, so we really want to spark that somehow.”

Overcash said she wants campus events to be more family friendly, which has inspired many of SGA’s plans for the upcoming Founder’s Day celebration.

“One of the big things we are doing for Founder’s Day is tie-dye t-shirts for students and campus kids if the their parents sent in their sizes,” Overcash said. “We are also doing a big blow up obstacle course and a Slip N Slide.”

Overcash said she also wanted to create events throughout the day that were not athletics oriented.

“We have kind of realized that a lot of our events are geared towards people of like a certain type,” Overcash said. “Some people do not like the physical sports nature of things, so we wanted to include things to incorporate everyone.”

Overcash said she is open to suggestions from the student body on how SGA can serve them better.

“I am really looking forward to serving the student body next year,” Overcash said. “I think the cabinet that is in place is going to do an excellent job and I look forward to helping guide them next year.”

Students can direct any questions or suggestions they may have to


JUTN Tour Choir evolves into University Choir

KNOXVILLE — The choir that Johnson University Tennessee has known as Tour Choir for the last several years will be replaced with the University Choir this May.

Brent Weaver, the director of the worship program, explained the function of the choir.

“Tour Choir is the traveling choir representative of the University,” Weaver said. “It travels to churches to participate with the church as a worship choir. When we travel to events we sing either concerts or we sing music that is tailored to whatever the event or the conference is.”

Weaver said that the choir has evolved over the years.

“I believe the Johnson Bible College Choir took its first lengthy tour in 1950 traveling to churches in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio during the Bell presidency,” Weaver said. “For most years between 1950 and 1986 the Johnson choir functioned as a concert choir during the fall semester and a touring choir during the spring semester.”

Weaver said that after 1986, Tour Choir continued to grow and change.

“In 1987 the choir starting traveling more frequently on weekends in the fall and spring semesters under the direction of Dr. Jill Allen [Lagerberg],” Weaver said. “Since that time the traveling choir has been identified as the Chamber Choir, Traveling Choir, Gospel Choir and, most recently, Tour Choir.”

Weaver said that because of student’s time restrictions, Tour Choir will be ending at the end of the semester.

“We recognize we needed a choir that had less of a traveling tour component because we had students on the worship ministry program and music education program who had weekend commitments,” Weaver said. “The worship ministry program has students who had internships or those who had weekend ministries with local churches who are unable to travel and that presented a challenge to participate.”

The University Choir that will begin in the fall semester will have less of a travel commitment so the students who travel on the weekends will be able to participate in choir.

Weaver said that lack of adequate transportation for members and equipment is another reason hindering Tour Choir from continuing.

“With changes in insurance regulations, there are few students who are able to drive for us which makes it difficult with a large group,” Weaver said. “The insurance people have also said that we can no longer put a trailer on the back of a passenger van, and for years that is what we have done.

Weaver said the trailer was used to carry everyone’s luggage, equipment, choir risers and instruments.

Weaver plans to implement the University Choir for two or three years to make sure it works.

“The new University Choir is going to have a balanced curriculum between collegiate and classical/traditional music and also worship/gospel music as well,” Weaver said. “If it is not supporting both programs we will need to add ensembles down the road.”

Weaver said he hopes to be able to invite the community to participate in University Choir but he knows that practice times will be an obstacle.

“We are considering, with the University Choir, to find an evening to practice so we can encourage community support,” Weaver said. “I would love for more faculty, staff, or even friends of the University to be involved.”


JUFL campus hosts summer music camp

KNOXVILLE — Johnson University Florida’s School of Communication and Creative Arts is preparing for Resound, a summer music camp and concert tour experience for high school upperclassman.

JUFL Performing Arts Director, Dirk Donahue and Assistant Dean and professor of music, Ruth Reyes, will lead a group of JU alumni in conducting the camp.

Resound runs from July 9-16 on the Florida campus. It coincides with another event called Missions Metropolis.

Reyes gave details on what participants can expect from both events.

“While on campus, students of both camps will eat together, study the Bible together, worship together, play together, then separate into their intensive preparation to go on a concert tour or go on a missions trip,” Reyes said.

Reyes said the the Resound program is modeled after New Creation, JUFL’s auditioned vocal band that represents the University at all major events.

“It is a fun week of intense rehearsals to put together a worship concert and then go on a mini-tour at the end of the week,” Reyes said. “Imagine this unique experience with all the tour grind of set-up, tear-down, and developing friendships with other creative students.”

After a week of hard work, the participants will travel to churches in Central and North Florida to perform a worship concert.

The cost of the camp is $225 and includes meals, housing, programming, and tour travel. The deadline to apply is June 1.

Vocalist and instrumentalist must post a video on YouTube or Vimeo performing a modern praise song.

Incoming juniors and seniors, as well new high school graduates who are vocalists, instrumentalist or in tech production are encouraged to participate.

Apply for Resound here.



Creative Arts Council looks to the future

KNOXVILLE — The Johnson University Creative Arts Council is pushing for a wider representation of different arts and more events in the future.

The Creative Arts Council is the force behind several events that happen on campus, including the Coffee House and dramas, as well as last semester an art show and a lip sync battle.

The groups goal twofold. First they seek to provide an outlet for those with artistic talent on campus. Second, they want to expose the campus community to the arts.

The Arts Councils latest push is for a literary magazine with content submitted by students and printed.

“I think its really important to get the literary magazine going, and the biggest thing foreseeable is helping that grow and helping people become aware of it,” Nicole Brunsman, a member of the Arts Council, said. “It was one of our first dreams other than starting the Arts Council.”

Tammie Weatherly, the sponsor for the Arts Council, agreed and cited trouble getting submissions and a lack of knowledge of its existence as reasons it has not taken off.

“We just need to get momentum going,” she said.

The pair said there are some unknowns in moving forward with the Arts Council.

Because Weatherly and Brunsman are busy with the upcoming spring drama, they don’t have time to plan and facilitate other events at the same time.

Because of this, they hope to bring in some new leadership that can attend to arts outside of the theater, as well as bring in new ideas.

“Part of the problem is we are stuck for ideas right now,” Weatherly said.“I’d love to see us bring in outside artists, musical or other, and have an artist series or a lecture series.”

She said that she would love to see singers or artists be brought in twice a semester, but the lack of venue and funding are roadblocks to currently doing this.

For this semester their plans are to stage the production Fools, to promote the literary magazine and to put on an art show within coffee house like last semester.

Any student interested in submitting writing for the literary magazine can email Brooke Boling at or Regan McSherry at


McKenna Estes’ Equivalent of the Scarred success in New York City

KNOXVILLE — One Johnson University student recently traveled to New York and took center stage as many of her poems were featured in a visual arts exhibition.

McKenna Estes, an English major at Johnson, was featured in an exhibition in downtown New York City that paired works of visual art with poetry from her original collection.

The event took place Oct. 20.

In an e-mail interview, Estes explained how the opportunity came about, describing how her uncle, Grayson Handy, approached her three months ago with the idea. He proposed the idea of having multiple visual artists choose one of her poems and create their own work inspired by the poem.

“After I agreed to the show, Grayson reached out to a variety of artists and asked them if they would like to be involved,” she said. “An overwhelming majority of the artists were eager to participate, and the show developed from there.”

The artists were not given context for what the poems were about other than what they read which Estes said led to great diversity within the event while maintaining that it left, “The only common denominator for the pieces to be the fact that they were all inspired by poems written by me.”

Estes spoke about the process of naming the event The Equivalent of the Scarred, which is the title of her larger collection from which all the poetry for the event was selected.

“The poems have different themes and were written about different experiences in my life, but they all center on the idea of invisible scars — invisible scars from emotionally charged experiences that left their mark on either me or those around me,” she said. “Although these experiences shaped me, and at times emotionally scarred me, they were not things that you could physically see or touch.”

McKenna’s mother, Kelly Estes, Director of Academic Support at Johnson, chimed in on the event.

“As a parent you always think your child is talented, but seeing the response to her work by well-known artists confirmed my thoughts about her work,”she said. “McKenna is very creative and I feel will use her talents to reach people in ways that others may not be able to reach.”

Kelly explained that this talent became obvious very early on in McKenna’s life when her second grade writing teacher encouraged her to explore her gift.

McKenna gave me a writing assignment to read and she had used conversation between characters in her assignment,” she said. “I thought she had copied it from a book or from online.”

McKenna shared why she became interested in writing, and what has made it so important to her during the course of her life.

“The earliest poem in this collection was written when I was 15 years old. My life has been plagued by a lot of painful and difficult experiences, so poetry has always served as my outlet for sorting through those emotions in a safe place. Writing allows me to feel what I need to feel without worrying about other people’s opinions of what my struggle should look like.

I draw inspiration from a variety of mediums, ranging from imagery that I see that causes a certain line to form in my head to a conversation with my best friend to a story that I feel needs to be told, but my one constant is exposing the things that we too often hide and reveling in the uncomfortable.

I have learned throughout my life that within society there is a hesitation to recognize the ways that the most painful experiences from people and permanently alter them. Our culture has a tendency to only ever want to hear the good in people’s lives, distancing us from the things that are not easy. The times that we struggle are often the loneliest and that isolation we feel only exacerbates the situation. The lack of validation for some of the most important things people experience is what drove me to attempt to capture those emotions in a place that people can safely experience them and find support. The majority of the poems are written about my personal struggles, but suffering is a universal language no matter the catalyst. My biggest hope is that people discover pieces of themselves in my poems and that through them they recognize that their own struggles are valid and do not need to be tucked away just for the sake of others’ comfort.”

Despite the depth of her involvement in this event, Estes said that at first she only expected it to be, “an interesting project and a cool way to share my poetry with a community that I may not have reached otherwise.”

But in retrospect Estes described it as one of the best nights of her life.

“The event granted me an understanding that my message and my struggles are shared by others, and my work can be an impactful force upon them,” she said. “The opportunity to feel such a deep connection to complete strangers truly blessed me, and is something I will hold onto forever.”

 Estes plans on continuing her work in some capacity after graduation but maintains that she is unsure of what that will look like.

“It could be through publishing, teaching, or even practicing law,” she said. “I also hope to write multiple types of books, but because I want to ensure that it is never corrupted as an emotional outlet, I never want creative writing to become something on which my livelihood depends.”

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Photos taken by Kelly Estes