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Faculty shows off for First Week Follies

Friday, September 7, 2007  
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By Kristin Cumbie

As a new year of classes begins, the faculty and staff show the students their lighter side. This marks the 29th year that Oklahoma Christian University has put on First Week Follies.

“The whole idea behind the show is to break down barriers between students and the faculty, staff and administration,” Bob Lashley, director for the events center said.

The original purpose of the show was much different than it is today. In 1978 a social service club approached Lashley with an idea to do a fundraiser for song books to use in chapel.

“The first year, it was mainly just me and a few friends who were alumni,” Lashley said.

The show that was only meant for one year of production has turned into an Oklahoma Christian tradition due to the interest shown by students, faculty and staff.

“Stafford North, who was the Executive Vice President at the time, came to me and said he would be involved if the show continued,” Lashley said.

The show has continued over the years and has involved various people and acts; however, the faculty and staff acts are not the only things that have kept the show going.

“I rely completely on the band to learn the songs,” associate professor of history, Matt McCook said. “I give them the music and get to rehearse with them once before the show.”

This year’s band was made up of musical artists who all perform in their own bands. One of the artists suddenly had to drop out of the performance less than a week before the show. Ryan Groves stepped up, taking the artist’s place and becoming the only student involved in the band this year.

“The band only practices twice,” adjunct faculty member, Penny Eubank said. Her husband, Nelson, has been in the First Week Follies band for many years. “Some years he has directed the band, but this year he is just playing,” Eubank said.

Mrs. Eubank was also a part of the performance this year. She teamed up with North to perform Sunny and Cher; however, this year was not her first performance in the show. She has previously participated by singing in the show with the late Kim Gaither.

“It is sad to sing without her,” Eubank said. “She was almost always in Follies.”

The show is about the faculty and staff being able to have a relationship with the students outside of the classroom.

“The show definitely has an impact,” McCook said. “I can tell a big difference between now and before I did the show.”

Not only do the faculty enjoy letting loose, but the show also creates a great connection with the student body.

“It’s a unique opportunity to see the faculty in a different light,” senior, Taryn Kingery, said. “You actually see the funny side of their personality, [which is] something you don’t get to see in the classroom as much.”

First Week Follies will return for its 30th year anniversary in 2008 with a handful of new ideas to celebrate this long-term tradition.


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