Joyful noise anticipated on Hampton U. Founder's Day

By Shatika Rembert

Rylan A. Harris, a senior English Arts major from Philadelphia, said, "The Hampton Choirs has such a rich history, making the choir just as old as the University itself. The Hampton Choirs sings a variety of spirituals and hymn arrangements that were written by loyal Hamptonians for Hampton University." The Gospel Choir sings spirituals, but with a more contemporary feel.

Harris has been serving as Tenor I in the University Choir, Gospel Choir (His Chosen Sounds), and Concert Choir his entire time attending Hampton. Before he became student director for the choir, he said he "had to sign in, pick an audition time, show up, and sing the prepared piece of your choice. I learned very quickly that there was no time for nervousness; just stand up there and give it all you have."

Harris became inspired to join the choir when he first heard them senior year in high school.

"My fondest Founder's Day choir memory was my freshman year. We sang Moses Hogan's arrangement of 'Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,' and boy did we have fun. It must have been over 200 voices on that stage in Ogden, and I still remember the adrenaline rushing."

Harris feels that the choir is "a family and that will never change. Being a part of the choirs opened so many doors for me and there's not anything I wouldn't do for Hampton Choirs – not a thing I wouldn't do."

Taylor Robinson, a sophomore psychology major from Aurora, Ill., has also participated in choir since freshman year. She said, "I decided to join because music is a big part of my life, and I wanted to get involved with things that I love." Robinson, second soprano, serves as the secretary for His Chosen Sounds Gospel Choir and sang for Founder's Day last year. "It's always a great experience. University Choir and Gospel Choir get to come together to practice and perform," said Robinson.

One of the Founder's Day practices began with singing in Ogden Hall. The director motioned the choir to go up the balcony to sing in order to practice projecting their voices to all areas of the auditorium. As soon as they began to sing, the chairs began to vibrate with the tenors' base and the ladies' harmonies all in sync.

Deanna G. Walker, a senior five-year MBA from Richmond, Va., celebrates her birthday on Founder's Day. When she wakes up to go perform she appreciates the importance of Founder's Day, even though she would prefer not to wake up early on her birthday. Walker manages to balance her social life with choir by making a schedule of choir practice, which is always the same time unless it's Founder's Day or some other enormous event.

"We practice twice a week," said Walker, "and practice more since it's Founder's Day, especially Saturday."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Can HU’s Lady Pirates take their game to the next level?

By David Woods

According to recent pre-season polls Hampton University's Lady Pirates have already been picked to win the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference championship for the fifth time in the last five years.

One question the Lady Pirates face is will they go undefeated in their conference once again?

Last season Hampton led the nation in scoring defense (47.8 points per game) and was third in field-goal percentage defense (.320) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.243).

Keiara Avant jumped from role player as an underclassman to Player of the Year as a senior.

Along with being the season's favorite Lady Pirates' Alyssa Bennett and Nicole Hamilton -- who played for Hampton and Phoebus high schools, respectively -- were named to the preseason all-conference squad. Hamilton (11.9 points per game, 179 assists) and Alyssa Bennett (10.1 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game) are a good foundation.

According to the Daily Press, Hamilton though not a natural guard, played the position all last season and exceeded every ones expectations. Bennett may be the MEAC's most gifted player and ably checks point guards to power forwards.

This past season the Lady Pirates went 28-6. Hampton went unbeaten in MEAC play in 2012-13, a program first and just the fifth time in MEAC history a women's program went unbeaten in conference play. Hampton is also the second women's program in MEAC history to go unbeaten in conference play and win the conference tournament in the same season.

The 2012-13 season also saw the Lady Pirates go 3-3 against schools from so-called "BCS conferences" – while the rest of the MEAC was 1-24.

Hampton beat such schools as Louisiana State University and Mississippi State, and the Lady Pirates set a program Division I record with a 19-game winning streak from Jan. 2 through March 16.

The Lady Pirates have dominated the MEAC Conference for the last four years, but what can take them to the next level? The last five seasons they dominate in conference play and play solid outside of their conference. With this string of success they have attracted the attention of major conference college programs such as LSU, [Southeastern Conference] Kansas State, [Big 12 Conference] and Southern Mississippi [Conference USA]. Last season the Lady Pirates defeated LSU, giving them their second straight home win over an SEC school, as Hampton defeated Florida in 2010. With the string of success each year they face the same issue, the seeding they get in the NCAA Tournament, for the fourth consecutive season straight the MEAC Champions where given seeds ranking from 13th through 16th, meaning they had to play teams such as Duke last spring, Stanford in 2012, Kentucky in 2011, and Duke in 2010. The Lady Pirates are (0-4) against Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

According to Daily Press Sports writer Dave Fairbanks, "Hampton is doing just about everything possible to improve its chances of getting a higher seed in the NCAA. They play a handful of teams from marquee conferences every year. The problem is that the MEAC is rated so low that even if a team runs the table in the league and has a handful of wins against big conference teams – as HU did last season – it's still pretty much a lock to be a 15 or 16 seed."

After the committee gets past the top 10 or 12 seeds, it doesn't spend the same amount of time and or energy evaluating lower-seeded teams. The NCAA doesn't spend the same time and energy evaluating lower-seeded teams like HU, often they just move a lower seeded team up or down a spot for convenience' sake. Hampton would almost do better to leave the MEAC Conference and join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference or the Mid-American Conference.

Another plausible solution for the Lady Pirates getting a higher seed would be playing bigger schools like Duke or North Carolina during the regular season, but are these big names school's willing play the Lady Pirates knowing that could take a loss to a team that is seen as inexperienced?

Last season after the first-round NCAA tournament game, Duke Coach Joanne McCallie said "Hampton is a great team. They are very athletic, very skilled and they play hard. I think this was a good game for us and a good test for us. Also, this game will be good to challenge us for further games. They had great ball pressure and we had to do some things that we hadn't done in the past couple of games. I think this will really help us grow and prepare us for our next game."

Schools aren't afraid to schedule Hampton, said David Six, the Lady Pirates head coach "We will play anybody, but we won't schedule just road games against marquee teams, like many MEAC teams do."

According to the coaching staff, HU likes to play home-and-home. Is this stance helping the Lady Pirates or putting them in even a worse predicament? Programs like LSU and Kansas State have both agreed to home-and-homes with the Lady Pirates.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Backstage shuffle before Hampton U. homecoming concert

By Jennifer Hunt and Evan Winston

Hampton University's homecoming celebration hit a speed bump after the headliner for Thursday's homecoming concert, "The Royal Show Out," canceled at the last minute, according to school officials.

This year, students voted for Memphis-based rapper Yo Gotti to entertain at homecoming festivities. However, he backed out.

"That was on his end, and it had nothing to do with the university," said Anzell Harrell, assistant director of student activities. "The common courtesy would have been to drop out long before the week of our homecoming concert. We had to pick up, move on, and try to rectify the situation. I think we have some artists that the students will like."

In Yo Gotti's place, Atlanta hip-hop artists Rich Homie Quan and Migos were slated to perform.

Rich Homie Quan and Migos are known for their summer hits, "Some Type of Way," and "Versace."

"We're just looking forward to a great rest of the week," said Harrell. "I'd like to see a good student turnout and have them enjoy the concert."

Some students who were interviewed preferred the new lineup over Yo Gotti. Other students alleged that Hampton University does not invite well-known artists for homecoming.

"I don't care about our lineup; I wish we had put our money into one good artist rather than two no names," said Darius Johnson, a senior biology major from Atlanta.

"I feel like I'm going to a concert that I can listen to on my iPod," said senior Jarrod Neal, a biology major from Newport News, Va.

Brandon Theo Dorsey, a junior broadcast journalism major from Houston, said he looked forward to at least one of the acts: "I'm not too high on Rich Homie Quan, but Migos is one of the hypest artists out there. He has the best bangers, and is the epitome of turning up, which is what homecoming is all about."

While the concert turnout is expected to rise, the hype and interest remains at a low with some of the student body, especially Onyx 9 member who have seen the lineup go from artists such as Rick Ross and Wale in 2010, and Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and Miguel in 2011, to artists who some students label as one-hit wonders.

The concert venue is the Hampton University Convocation Center. The performance begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $12 for students and $22 for the general public.

The writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. bio club spreads love for Valentine's Day

By Ashley Bozeman

"Hey do you have a valentine this year?" Crystal Smitherman yelled across the lunch table to a male student.

"No I don't actually" said the student as he walked over to the table.

"Well I'm sure there is some girl out there that would love a rose from you, I promise it'll make her day!" said Smitherman, a sophomore Biology major.

The male student pondered the thought for a moment then said, "Yeah, your right actually! I'll take one. I think I've got an idea."

Love is in the air and its already that time of year again, Valentine's Day. The campus has been buzzing with excitement for Thursday the 14th through in-person conversations and social media such as Twitter since the start of the month.

Many campus organizations have taken advantage of buzz and have created events and fundraisers catering specifically to students and couples on campus.

Hampton University's biology club implemented a new fundraiser this season. The club organized a rose gram delivery service that will deliver roses and a personalized note to the person of your choice on Valentine's Day. The club is selling roses for $2.50 for one rose, $12 for half a dozen, $20 for a dozen and $75 for four dozen roses. Students have the option of picking up the roses themselves or to have them be delivered anywhere on campus on Valentine's Day. According to Kai Bracey, club president and a junior, "We typically meet twice a month on Monday's at 6 p.m. We work on creating a more united biology department among faculty and students. We focus on academic excellence and fellowship. We have been focused on fund raising for our department and so that we can send a gift to the Sandy Hook Elementary School." In December, 20 children and six adults at the Connecticut school were fatally shot by a 20-year-old wielding rapid-fire guns.

Here, the Biology club has Valentine's Day competition. The Hampton University Choir is selling "singing-grams" this week and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc is having a "Dating Game" Thursday night. Other fundraisers will also take place throughout the week.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Holly Tree Inn lot converted into parking spaces

By Brittany S. Brown

Hampton University has undergone a great series of transformations, ranging from new buildings, to new programs and modern technology. This week a dirt lot behind the Holly Tree Inn and across the street from the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications was converted into a parking lot for a handful of vehicles.

Before the conversion, students and faculty members have walked about the area, kicking rocks and occasionally dragging gravel along the lines of their footwear.

Kanesha Brown, a senior architecture major from Hartford, Conn., describes it as "one of the most convenient transformations" she's witnessed in all of her years at Hampton.

"My feet would look like I came from the Flintstones' era. I hated those rocks," she said. "My shoes would always carry lots of dust when I would pass by that area."

Janaia Smith, a junior nursing major from Seattle, recalls the time she would occasionally walk by. "When I stayed in McGrew [Towers], I would always take the same routes to class [and it] seemed as though that parking lot wasn't being taken care of. Now it looks more clean and put together."

"The lot looks really nice. said Omari Miles, a freshman, sports management major from Newtown, Conn. "I usually don't walk that way very often, but in comparison to the last time I saw it, it looks so much better."

Mark Hall, a freshman business management major from Northern Virginia, said he would walk with his friends who stayed in Holmes Hall: "We would always stumble over those rocks. One time, I even tripped. I'm so glad to see that the area is all fixed up. This is a really good look for Hampton."

Holly Tree Inn, a campus dormitory and faculty dining room, has been known to attract visitors and tourists for its unique appeal as well as its delicious down-home meals. Now, visitors are free to park in appropriate spaces specifically designed for vehicles, and getting their cars muddy is no longer a factor.

Scripps Howard faculty members are in the same boat. Along with students, there is literally a common ground for the faculty to comfortably walk over.

The newly remodeled parking lot serves as one of the many ventures to the transformation of Hampton University.

The writer is a junior in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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