Editor’s note: This is an ongoing series meant to highlight student artists in art, music and theater on Union’s campus.
Art – Thomas Griffith
Thomas Griffith, sophomore art and Christian studies double major, created a campus-wide stir his freshman year with an out-of-the-box take on a texture assignment.
“I covered all of the hand sanitizer dispensers on campus with live crickets,” Griffith said. “I got a really good grade on it, even though the administration made me take it down within 30 minutes.”
Joining Union’s Art Department was “a pretty simple decision” for Griffith, who said he discovered the community while visiting his brothers, seniors at Union. The connections he made with people were a perfect fit with his own lifelong interest in art.
Griffith’s favorite medium changes “like every month,” he said, but he currently loves painting.
“I was really bad at it last semester, and I’m still pretty bad at it, but it’s a lot more fun now,” Griffith said.
Griffith is working on four self-portraits in oil paint.
“You have to be willing to put in hours of work outside of class to make work that is worthwhile,” he said. “Art is objective and subjective … Sometimes it’s frustrating when people think a way about your art that you didn’t intend.”
Griffith said his favorite part of being an art student is having all his classes with the same group of friends.
“When we have a big project and have to go to the studio to work on it, they’re already in there too,” Griffith said. “So we get to hang out and make art together. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Music – Andrew Hamaker
Though only minoring in music, senior English major Andrew Hamaker has been the flute section’s second chair in Union’s orchestra since its launch last spring.
“I started [playing the flute] in high school, which is really late for most people,” Hamaker said. “But I was never in band in high school. So I just took private lessons and I came here. Then I started in Symphonic Band and I was like, ‘This is so hard! I’m not used to anything we’re doing!’”
Hamaker said his interest in flute began much earlier, after reading about the instrument in a children’s book and telling his mother he wanted to learn.
“She treasured that up in her heart, because she had always wanted to play flute,” Hamaker said. “And years later, when I’m getting ready to start high school, she comes to me and she’s like, ‘You still want to learn flute?’”
Hamaker’s favorite flute music comes from the modern period: “Anything 20th century is just great.”
Outside of classical music, Hamaker said his two favorite musical styles are probably ‘80s metal and ‘80s British alternative music.
Hamaker plays in Union’s Symphonic Band as well as the orchestra and practices “about as much as the majors are supposed to,” he said, around 14 hours per week.
“I’m finally getting to the point where I can play really interesting music,” Hamaker added. “It’s great getting to where you can actually make music instead of just worrying about getting the notes out …You’re playing purposefully.”
Theater – Bryanna England
Bryanna England, sophomore theater and broadcast journalism double major, said she has loved acting since she was a child.
“It’s just always been a part of me,” England said. “My parents had to be careful what they let me watch when I was little, because I’d act everything out.”
In high school, England competed in forensics, which requires participants to perform a 10-minute interpretation of a book or theater script, playing the parts of all characters without props or costumes.
“It’s raw acting,” England said, adding that forensics prepared her well for theater classes at Union.
England has starred in four Union performances, assistant-directed a one-act play last semester and will choreograph Union’s upcoming children’s play “Cinderella.”
“I love the feel of the lights coming on and knowing there’s an audience there and knowing that they’re there to enjoy you,” England said.
England said if she could play any role, she would choose Wendy in “Peter Pan” or, when she’s older, “Pride & Prejudice” matriarch Mrs. Bennett.