Wesley changes tempo with out-of-state bands

February 17, 2011

by Kelly Belton, NEWS EDITOR

Students met at the Wesley Foundation Friday night for an evening of several musical guests including three bands from Tennessee and another from North Louisiana.

Abigail Blythe, Sephra Osburn and One Big Owl traveled from Murfreesboro, Tenn., to be part of the show while Handshakes and Other Stuff drove from Monroe.

Andy Shows, coordinator of Wesley events, said plans for the concert were set in motion right before the start of 2011. He said they had not had an official band come play in more than a year.

“All these guys are my buddies that I have known for a couple of years,” he said.

The Tennessee natives met Shows at Middle Tennessee State University and made connections with the Wesley in Ruston.

Blythe said returning to Ruston was a great experience and almost resembled a reunion.

“We tend to call it our second home, so we really love when we get to visit,” she said. “I was already coming to visit, so I just kind of got thrown into the show.”

All the bands played original music, though Blythe performed a cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises.”

Alex Bohl, front man for Handshakes and Other Stuff, has a part-time band and began performing as a Tech student at the Wesley.

“I come back to visit friends and am involved with student recruiting at CenturyLink,” he said. “This is a group I’m comfortable with and can try new things. I was coming for fun, but we came back to play together.”

Bohl made his mark on the audience with his Tech-based stand-up comedy routine before his band started playing. David Emfinger, a senior sociology major, said this was a highlight of the night.

“I go to Wesley events all the time,” he said. “I’m part of the Wesley Foundation, so I love going to the events they put on.”

Emfinger said this concert was different from other events the Wesley hosts.

“Most musical events the Wesley hosts are open mic nights, but for this they got musically-trained bands,” he said. “I think that made a difference.”

The musical highlight of the night, according to Emfinger, was the final song of the evening by One Big Owl called “Master Explosion.”

“It was a really unusual sounding song,” he said.

Emfinger said there are not many venues in Ruston for quality music, so it was good to hear something different.

Both Emfinger and Shows said part of the mission for the concert was to simply unite people.

“The mission of this event is to bring people together, so they can get to know each other and build a bigger sense of community,” Shows said.

The bands that performed were not worship bands but are just Christians who are in bands. Shows said people do not have to be preaching from the Bible to preach.

Emfinger said the inviting atmosphere of the Wesley helps them achieve that goal.

“Part of what we try to do is connect people to God and to each other,” Emfinger said. “I think that was accomplished Friday night. I met a few people I had never talked to before.”

E-mail comments to keb029@latech.edu.