Hosts commit to countless hours, enjoy experience

Hosts commit to countless hours, enjoy experience

September 27, 2017

Homecoming is rapidly approaching. And with homecoming comes football, tailgates, parties and Tiger Tunes.

The members of each Tunes show have just completed their first two weeks of practice, but one group has been putting in long hours since before the semester even began: the hosts and hostesses.

Although this group is the equivalent of OBU celebrities, they stay relatively behind the scenes until the big night. After all, they have many hours of rehearsal on top of studying and other obligations. So, let’s take the opportunity to meet the hosts.

Sophomore Dylan Blackwood (top left), sophomore Cedar Valdez (top right), junior Beaux Schmidt (bottom left) and sophomore Aaron George (bottom right), are the 2017 hosts of Tiger Tunes. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Rosenthal)

Dylan Blackwood is a sophomore musical theatre major from Walnut Ridge, Ark. This is his first year participating in Tiger Tunes.

“I just watched last year and was blown away, and I’m so ecstatic about getting to host this year,” Blackwood said. “I just really love what Tunes stands for. I love that it helps raise money for student scholarships, but I also love that it helps the social clubs grow closer and bond with one another.”

Blackwood has wanted to try out for host since last year.

“When I came to OBU, I only had a vague idea of what Tiger Tunes was,” Blackwood said. “My voice teacher from back home, Sherrill Moffett, was a host in 2005. She kind of explained to me what it was, and I still didn’t get it. But once I saw my friends host last year, that’s when I knew that I had to do it. It looked like so much fun, and it really is the most fun I’ve ever had.”

So far, it has lived up to his expectations.

“I just really enjoy learning new music and performing it. I also love the group that I get to work with. They’re all so talented and so generous and kind. And I also live with two of them, so it’s been nice to get to know them a whole lot more,” Blackwood said.

Of course, being a host has also come with some challenges.

“It’s so much fun, but it is very exhausting,” Blackwood said. “I love it so much, though, that it really doesn’t matter how tired I am.”

Blackwood wants to perform professionally, so Tunes has served as a great opportunity to grow as a singer.

“Pop music is not really my singing style, so it’s really helped me grow my voice in that style,” Blackwood said. “I am so grateful for this opportunity, it’s been the best time of my life!”

Aaron George is a sophomore accounting major from Rogers, Ark. He is involved with Kappa Chi and OSF.

“I like enjoying a diverse group of people that all have each other’s backs,” Blackwood said. “I also like serving the campus and attracting potential students to Ouachita.”

Part of the reason George loves OBU so much is the sense of community.

“I like that you can’t walk building to building without seeing someone you know,” George said.

He was in the Campus Ministries show last year.

“My favorite thing about Tunes is how silly it is,” George said. “I like crazy costumes, and singing and dancing, and sometimes making a fool of myself, but all for the purpose of student scholarships.”

Being a host has grown George in several ways.

“It’s certainly grown me in a performance aspect. I’ve never been one to be on stage and in the limelight, so this has grown me in being willing to step out of my comfort zone,” George said.

Flexibility is key for him.

“You have to be very flexible because we’re basically just at the will of OSF, and at the will of whatever Tunes needs of us, whether that be rehearsals or being somewhere at a certain time for photos,” George said. “But I like being able to represent Ouachita, because I enjoy keeping Ouachita’s good name and being an extension of OBU, and setting a good example.”

Beaux Schmidt is a junior from Wylie, Texas, majoring in music industry. Tiger Tunes has always been an important part of his life.

“Tunes is a big tradition for my family. We’ve gone every year we can since I can remember,” Schmidt said. “I love seeing the alumni come back and root for their clubs and get so involved. I just think that really shows OBU’s impact in people’s lives.”

Schmidt has wanted to be a host for most of his life as well.

“My dad was a host in 1990, so I always thought about it,” Schmidt said. “However, I really just didn’t want to be known as just a guy who plays guitar and can kind of sing. So, I wanted to be seen as a singer and actually get better as one.”

So far, Schmidt has gotten his wish to learn to sing better.

“I’ve learned the importance of staying vocally healthy, and it’s pushed me to keep my drive going. No matter how badly I’d rather watch Netflix, I have to keep pushing and get work done,” Schmidt said.

Like George, Schmidt is a member of Kappa Chi.

“I love the bond I’ve created with a lot of those guys,” Schmidt said.

He is also in OBU’s jazz band and concert choir, and plays the guitar.

“I am the lead guitarist at The Church at Rock Creek in Little Rock,” Schmidt said. “I also try to gig around when I can.”

Cedar Valdez, the final host, is a sophomore musical theatre major from Rogers, Ark. He performs in Ouachita Singers and Sounds, works in Mabee Fine Arts Building’s music library and is involved in Kappa Chi.

“The guys in this club are my brothers and are an awesome part of my life. I always feel super encouraged and challenged by these guys,” Valdez said.

One of Valdez’s favorite things about OBU is all the various “amount of opportunities to expand outside of your major.”

“At least two of the hosts and hostesses this year aren’t music majors and this experience definitely wouldn’t be the same without them,” Valdez said. “My favorite thing about Tunes is watching people I never thought I’d see on stage get up there and have so much fun!”

For a musical theatre major, being a host comes with its own set of difficulties.

“It’s hard keeping in good health. From hosting, to Sounds and Singers, to recital rehearsals, to opera rehearsals, I’m constantly using my voice. It’s a struggle to keep it in good shape so I’ll still have it for the performances. But so far, so good,” Valdez said.

Valdez hopes to perform professionally one day, and then work at and run a children’s theatre.

“My confidence as an individual performer has grown being in this small group of 8 performers. Because there’s so few of us, each of us is required to be extremely confident in our abilities and knowledge of our pieces, and as a result of that each of our voices get showcased in a very cool way,” Valdez said. “We all have been working super hard on this show and so have the clubs. Please come show your support and watch this awesome Tiger Tunes that we are so, so excited to share with you!”

Tiger Tunes performances will be held October 5 and 6 at 7:30, and October 7 at 5:00 and 8:30 in JPAC.

By Morgan Howard, staff writer

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