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0 Friday, December 07, 2012

Vanderzee releases much anticipated CD

by Guest Writer

Written by: Alexandria White

What was once a creative thought of a student will become reality this evening with a CD release party.

Several people helped senior musician Brett Vanderzee along the way, including his close friend, senior Timothy Giddens.

“We’re pretty great friends,” Giddens said.  “We also both respect each other’s opinions, so sometimes I’ll give him some critiques or ideas that [could] help him with his creative process. I also designed the album.”

Giddens said he is blessed to be friends with Vanderzee and all of his family and friends are rooting for him.

“It’s a fantastic album and I’m real proud of what he came up with,” Giddens said.  “I just see great things happening because of this album and can’t wait to see where it takes him.  He’s really grown as a songwriter and a musician and it’s evident on this album.”

Of all of his supporters, Vanderzee said that his wife, Laura, has been one of his biggest supporters, and she is also making vocal appearances on the album.

According to Vanderzee, the album is a look at 10 different characters from the Bible. On the album he is “trying to address the realities of their stories and take an honest look at their lives and their struggles.”

“For Christians I think this will be an album that will bring these stories to life,” Vanderzee said.  “For non-believers I hope it opens up their minds to the power in these stories and these characters and I hope it makes them interested in reading the rest of the book.”

According to Vice President of Academic Affairs and previous Director of Honors Scott LaMascus Vanderzee’s idea to develop lyrics into an album came along at the right time for their Honors Catalysts Grants—a new tool for taking undergraduate research and pre-professional involvement to a higher level.

“Like many other faculty at OC, I have simply tried to respond with helpfulness when Brett has approached me with a request, an idea or a problem he is trying to work out,” LaMascus said.  “Because he is an Honors English major, it has been fun to see the results of his activities, but it would be a full-time job to keep up with his energy and talent.”

In the spring of 2011, Vanderzee was in LaMascus’ American Literature Survey class when they read a T.S. Eliot poem titled “Journey of the Magi,” which inspired his album title.

“It is just fun to see where students go with the ideas we discuss in class,” LaMascus said.  “Brett has found his own ability to think inside these Biblical narratives as a creative space.  I’ve always liked watching students use literary texts as points of departure into their own creations as one of many appropriate engagements with literature.”

The “Journey of the Magi” is told from the perspective of one of the three wise men and what they experienced once they found the Messiah.  There was one particular line that stood out to Vanderzee.

“The line in there is ‘three trees on the low sky,’” Vanderzee said.  “It’s the second stanza and there’s a lot of Christological imagery in there and so that line just stuck out to me and after I read that I said, ‘That has to be the title.’”

According to Rebecca Briley, an associate professor of English, Vanderzee was a part of her creative writing class when she got the chance to witness Vanderzee’s talents. According to her, he was “greatness.”

“He came out with one [song] that is my favorite on the album, ‘Rehab,’” Briley said.  “He performed it in the class and it was one of those moments when you just knew that this was something that was special. I’ve had some talented students in the past; I felt like they were going to do something.  But this was one time that I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like it when he played that song for us.”

According to Briley, “He wants to do what the Lord wants him to do.”

“He has such a Christian spirit; such a big loving Christ-filled heart,” Briley said.  “Everything about him, you can see the Lord working in him, because that’s what he wants.”

For some, the possibility that fame could be a part of their lives could be the dream of a lifetime, but Briley said that is not the case for Vanderzee.

“Whether it happens or not you can see that’s secondary to Brett,” Briley said.

Roger Jaeger will be the opening act at the release party.

“He’s an artist from Tulsa and a really good friend of mine and he’s going to be really good,” Vanderzee said.

The release party will be Dec. 7 in the Ken and Lindy Adams Recital Hall and will start at 7 p.m.

“There will be food, CDs will be on sale and it’s going to be a party,” Vanderzee said. “It’s going to be really fun and I hope it will be meaningful.”

Photo by: Henoc Kivuye


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