Alumni Come Home to 'Excellence and Passion'
WILMORE, Ky. — A pumpkin slams into the dirt on the intramural field after having sailed more than 100 feet through the air. The crowd applauds, and the trebuchet operators load another pumpkin into the sling of their 20-foot-tall replica of a medieval siege weapon.
This is Homecoming 2013 at Asbury University — an opportunity for family and friends to come together and enjoy concerts, several sports events, the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen and, even, flying pumpkins.
The highlight of the weekend came on Saturday night with the presentation of the Homecoming Court. The Court was presented during the halftime break of the Asbury men’s soccer team’s match with Georgetown College. One male and one female were selected from the freshman, sophomore and junior classes, and four males and four females were selected to represent the senior class.
Representing the Anchored Class of 2017 were Megan Barrett and Jeremy Davidson. Representing the Ransomed Class of 2016 were Paula Diaz and Jorge Castorena. Representing the Unshakable Class of 2015 were Christina Kuo and Bryce Ury. Representing the Illuminated Class of 2014 were Jennifer Silver and Kyle Bailey, Lucy Allen and Brady Parks, Rachel Halm and Matt Chisolm, and Mackenzie Burke and Caleb Wheat.
After all members of the Homecoming Court had been announced, Asbury President Sandra Gray crowned the new King, Brady Parks, and, in a perfect tie, two Queens, Lucy Allen and Jennifer Silver.
“It’s a really humbling experience,” Parks said. “It just shows that people just really care about me. It’s not a popularity contest — I’m representing friends who should be here, and who put me here to represent them.
Jennifer Silver said she was amazed by the tie, and honored to share the position of Queen with Lucy Allen, her best friend.
“It’s really awesome to know that not just the seniors voted for us, but the sophomores and the juniors did as well, and that they wanted us to represent them as the student body,” she said. “Being able to do it with my best friend seems like it shouldn’t have happened, but it did!”
The weekend began with a long-standing musical tradition of Homecoming, a concert on Friday night featured the Concert Band, the Chorale and the Collegium Musicum Handbell Trio.
Ray Fontana ’77, who attended the concert, says he was impressed with the overall quality.
“It shows what Asbury is,” he said. “The excellence, and the passion, and the feeling behind it, and the work that went into it — that’s your drive. It’s not a dollar thing, and it’s not a glory thing. It’s using your gifts.
Music professor and orchestra conductor Dr. Ron Holz has taught at Asbury for 33 years, and will be retiring in the spring. He says that his fondest memories of Homecoming are two-fold: first, seeing students reach what he calls the “first peak” in the fall semester, and second, seeing old friends and acquaintances at concerts.
“You never know who’s going to show up,” he said. “Like tonight, there was the father of a person singing in the chorale who used to be in one of my groups, so there’s that kind of connection to the past, and then all the memories flood back, sentimental or otherwise. I think that’s a meaningful connection to the whole Asbury experience.”
Holz says that the camaraderie experienced by an ensemble grows out of practicing, traveling, and performing together.
“It would be the same thing, to some extent, as a sports team that likes to get back together,” he said. “But maybe even experienced differently, because sometimes with an ensemble, you can plumb the depths of some very rich, emotive, meaningful things, and those stay with you a long time.”
In addition to concerts, community members had the opportunity to experience another highlight of Homecoming weekend — the N3rd Trebuchet Launch, held on Saturday afternoon at the intramural fields.
“People are attracted to it just because it’s ridiculous,” said Taylor Dekker, RA of Trustees Third Main (N3rd). “It’s this big, giant wooden contraption, and it’s just fun to shoot pumpkins and see them explode when they hit the ground.”
Homecoming officially concluded Sunday morning with a worship service in Hughes Auditorium, the historic location in which several revivals have broken out throughout Asbury’s history and a meaningful place to many of the institution’s alumni. The service was lead by alumni who lived on “Zoo Hall” (the main section of Johnson Residence Hall’s third floor), which observed its 40th year as a distinct group this year.
--by Joel Sams '15