Mount Hood

End if the Term Concert

Written by: Gretchen Sims

Despite the term coming to an end and finals rapidly approaching, students involved in various forms of music are preparing for more than dreary tests and extensive essays. Every term, Western’s many music ensembles put on performances and, regardless of the extra stress of finals, pour their hearts out in an accumulative display of hard work, skill and talent. Checkout these upcoming concerts.   

Jazz Ensembles Concert

Where: Rice Auditorium 

When: Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by: Adam Harris

Wind Ensemble Concert

Where: Rice Auditorium

When: Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by: Dr. Kevin Walczyk

Western Oregon Voices Concert

Where: Smith Music Hall

When: Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by: Dr. Claire Hudkins

To reserve or purchase tickets for any or all of these performances, visit Western students may attend for free with their student ID. General admission is $10, seniors and veterans are $5 and non-Western students are only charged $1. 

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Review: “Disenchanted”

Written by:  Mirella Barrera-Betancourt

Content warning: this article contains spoilers

“Disenchanted” was released on Disney Plus Friday, Nov. 18, fifteen years after the release of the first film that took the world by storm.

In this sequel to the original film, “Enchanted,” Amy Adams returns as Giselle, the princess from a magical land turned regular New York City resident, as she and her growing family begin anew in the suburban town of Monroeville. 

Frustrated that her happily ever after has proven to be more difficult to find than she expected, Giselle turns to the magic of her home, Andalasia, accidentally throwing the real world and Andalasia off balance.

Having grown up with the first “Enchanted” film, I had high expectations for the sequel. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was ten years old, begging my mother to buy the “Enchanted” DVD so that I could rewatch it as many times as I pleased.

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed. 

While Amy Adams is as talented and enchanting as ever — in fact, at times, the sole element keeping the film afloat —“Disenchanted” severely lacks the magic that made the first film so timeless and remarkable. It seemed the writers of the sequel attempted to cater too much to the younger generation, rather than the generation, who are now adults, that had fallen in love with the classic film 15 years ago.

Although this movie is a shadow of the first film, there were one or two particularly memorable moments — beginning with the songs. 

It was delightfully surprising to hear Idina Menzel’s singing voice again in, what became my favorite track of the film, “Love Power.”

While the cast is noticeably much older, it is certainly not the element that takes away from the magic of the film, but rather makes the film feel more realistic through demonstrating just how much time has passed since the release of the first film.

Though, I have to give credit where credit is due. The film emphasized the relationship of family over romance, presenting a beautiful message that individuals of any age could take with them: be grateful for what you have.

Overall, both films were great as their own separate entities, just not together.


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Holiday Happenings

Written by: Jude Bokovoy

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – try a few of these activities to create some cheer. Whether one is religious, nonreligious, a homebody or adventurous, there is always a way to celebrate the holidays.

Ice skating — Very similar to roller skating, ice skating can be a great way to spend time with family, friends or even a date. Portland’s Lloyd Center is a great skate spot. Best of all, they have a beautiful gigantic Christmas tree right in the middle of the rink. For events, hours and pricing visit their website at 

Decorate a gingerbread house — What better way to spend an evening with loved ones than by creating an intricate treat to display? There are many different themes, structures and candy selections that can be used to customize one’s house. 

Secret Santa — This is a great activity and reason for new and old friends to get together. Secret Santa’s are easy to arrange if one sets a budget, sends out the results via the app Santa’s Secret Keeper and has everyone name some gift ideas they would enjoy. Turn it into a longer celebration by having a meal together and watching a festive movie.

Christmas lights in Keizer — Each year the Keizer Police Department hosts a food drive in an extremely lit up neighborhood. Nearly every house in each cul-de-sac is decorated with lights, inflatable decorations, music, nativity scenes and so much more. This neighborhood is marked with a street sign that reads “Holiday Lights” and is guided by lit up police snowmen signs.

Shop for decorations — It is very easy to get overwhelmed with all the decorations and stores to choose from when looking to make one’s home jolly. Hobby Lobby in Salem and Albany is full of amazing decorations, trees, pillows and much more for 20-60% off. But once the Thanksgiving feast is devoured, so are their shelves.

Holiday movies — One of the easiest ways to unwind and get into the holiday spirit is by watching a nostalgic holiday movie. Some festive options include “Elf,” “Home Alone,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Christmas Story.”

Find a Christmas tree — Whether it’s in the forest, at a tree farm or in a store, the perfect Christmas tree is waiting to be picked. To ensure the best outcome, measure the height and width of the place a tree will be placed in one’s home before buying.

Make snowflakes — Paper snowflakes are just the thing to spruce up any environment. Since they’re easy to create, require minimal supplies and look like real snowflakes, this craft is truly one of a kind. 

Deck the halls — The time has finally come to completely remodel one’s home into a winter wonderland. Some key elements to keep in mind are planning a consistent color scheme so decorations don’t clash, making sure everyone in the household likes the decor and most importantly, having fun while decorating. 

Christmas Eve service —- For some, Jesus is the reason for the season. A good way to celebrate and feel more connected to a church community is by attending a Christmas Eve service.

Make a winter dessert — Sweet treats fill one’s home with great smells, allow one to share with others and create something to look forward to until they’re all eaten up. Follow this recipe for Winter Forest Cupcakes — they won’t disappoint. 


Start to finish:

Yields: 24 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups water

½ cup vegetable oil

30 mini waffle cone ends (amount may vary depending on decorative preference. These can be found at Trader Joes or Grocery Outlet)

1 cup white frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

10 drops green food coloring

Start by preheating the oven to 325℉. Combine cupcake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, then fill with mixture till ⅔ full. Bake for 15–20 minutes, then leave out to cool. Using a piping bag and a round tip, create a swirl with white frosting leaving an empty border. Place the desired amount of cone ends with the point facing up. Divide the remaining white frosting into as many different bowls as one would like shades of green. Add drops of green and blue food coloring to each bowl until desired shades are acquired. Frost each cone using a small star tip tool, creating spikes that represent a douglas fur tree. If only using one piping bag for each shade of green, start by completing the trees in the lightest shade then transition to the darkest. To finish, dust each cupcake with powdered sugar to create a tasty, snowy scene. 

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Holiday Article

Written by: Nicholas Sarysz

While holiday festivities are something many look forward to, not everyone feels enthusiastic about them, nor should they have to. After all, it’s usually no fun being vigorously told “Merry Christmas” by boomers who assume your personal holiday traditions are the same, waiting for the same greeting in response.

Family gatherings, along with the traditional facade that all is merry and bright, can be a dreadful combination that many understandably avoid.

There are holiday activities for those who are social and excited, but what about those that want to avoid all the commotion? There are still plenty of alternative activities, which include, but are not limited to, gaming, binge-watching, learning a new hobby or skill and enjoying seasonal delicacies.

Playing video games, despite being a popular year-round activity, can get much more exciting during the holidays. It’s a fully indoor activity, which is crucial given the dreary winter weather. Many platforms have in-game events, as well as special unlocks, challenges and collectibles to commemorate the holidays. For multiplayer games, lobbies fill up quicker and competition is bountiful as many businesses are closed and students are home from school. 

For gamers hoping to try something new, sales extend far further than just Black Friday. Many major platforms, notably Steam, have a holiday sale deep into December.

The high volume of sales in the gaming industry doesn’t stop behind the screen, as many tabletop and card games hold different events during the winter as well. These types of games usually require more time to understand and can get expensive depending on how someone likes to play, which makes winter a great time to dive into something new.

Those who don’t want to spend as much time gaming can utilize their free time to catch up on that list of shows and podcasts that homework always interferes with. After all, everyone might as well use their best friend’s-third-cousin’s Netflix password they asked for two years ago.

The solitude that comes with winter is also one of the best times to pick up a completely new hobby. 

Some popular indoor hobbies include reading, plant care, organization and exercise. While you can do your own research for a new hobby, many locally run stores in the surrounding area would appreciate the support and can be very helpful in getting started.

If one is looking to be more productive during the winter, it may be a good time to try and pick up a new skill. Some skills one can learn during their free time include learning another language, cooking, sewing and computer coding.

For those that want to do nothing — which is understandable for a long winter break — the holidays can provide that break. Plus, they come with seasonal food and drinks that can be enjoyed in seclusion as much as they can be enjoyed with others. This is especially true for those with a sweet tooth, as the season is filled with gingerbread, sugar cookies, hot chocolate and much more.

While the holidays themselves may not be everyone’s favorite, there is always something to enjoy… even if that happens to be avoiding anything to do with the holidays.

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Black Panther Immortalized by Marvel

Written by:Gretchen Sims

Content Warning: contains spoilers

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” broke box offices this weekend with a tear jerking tribute to late actor, Chadwick Boseman. 

The latest edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe tells the story of a kingdom torn apart by the loss of their beloved King — the Black Panther. Lost in a futile attempt to prevent other countries from gaining access to their precious Vibranium, the people of Wakanda encounter trial after trial in an effort to preserve peace.  

Facing significant changes in leadership and growing instability, it is up to the remaining, yet broken people, to put on a bold face and push through hardships, despite still mourning their late king. 

This film rivaled the newest Doctor Strange for some of the best cinematography of all time. With beautiful graphics, CGI and color, the quality of this film extended past what the human eye should be able to see — as if the producers had been able to unlock the power of vibranium itself to produce these intense visuals.

Letitia Wright —starring as Shuri, the sister of the late King T’Challa of Wakanda— struggles with the loss of her brother. As her mother is also taken from her, Shuri faces anger and seeks vengeance against her mother’s murderer. 

Shuri emerges as the new Black Panther —the savior of Wakanda— and finds comfort amidst her suffering just in time to protect her people.

This beautiful movie played on the real-life emotions of the actors to produce one of the most inspiring motion pictures of the MCU. There was not one dry eye in the audience as the heartbreak of losing a loved one was present throughout the entire film. 

As Shuri fights her desire to burn down the world in response to losing her whole family, audience members were able to put themselves in her place. Not one person could deny the validity of her anger. It is rare that movies accurately portray all the stages of grief, yet Marvel was able to achieve it with the newest edition to the Black Panther franchise. 

Despite the massive amount of heart wrenching moments, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was full of quick-witted humor and real human connection — something movies often fail to accurately portray.

The boldness to show raw emotions with a strong female lead will set an example for many more movies to come. 


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Humanity and Emotion

Written by:Gretchen Sims

Wednesday, Nov. 9 was the opening day of the newest edition to the Cannon Art Gallery, “the audacity of identity + color.” The featured artist —Julio Aleman— is based out of Portland, Oregon. Aleman uses oil paints to highlight the intricacies of human skin to  evoke  powerful emotions associated with it. 

Aleman’s art combines hyperrealism with two-dimensional pops of color   to signify parts of  cultures and backgrounds that are true to his models.

The featured works are  absolutely stunning. The painted faces peer out at passersby and the subjects —often people Aleman knows personally— appear ready to tell their stories. 

The passion and emotion that is conveyed by Aleman seems impossible— many viewers were in disbelief that these were not photographs.

Aleman began painting seriously when he was a senior in high school, but art has always been an important part of  his life.

“Art really is whatever you want it to be, it is like expressing yourself and I feel like I’m totally against ideas that constrict art to some like rulebook or like some pretentious like conversation or idea that isn’t accessible to everybody,” said Aleman. 

“I really strongly believe that people are artists and they don’t even realize it because they make art in so many other different ways that aren’t typically recognized as art.” 

The turnout to Aleman’s artist talk was incredible, and for good reason. Aleman had great advice to extend to aspiring artists, paired with  inspiring stories. Aleman encouraged students to never give up or conform in areas where they stand out. 

“I’ve been making art since I was like five. The story that I recall was like being in like Sunday School and like with all these little kids, you know, I was a little kid… and we were told like the assignment was to draw a picture of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus and I was like doing my thing and drawing and I realized that everybody was up already, they were done, and I look around and on everybody’s desk is like a big circle and a small circle. And so, I don’t know why, I like crumpled mine up,” said Aleman. 

Western Art Galleries continue to provide excellent examples for aspiring artists to aspire toward in their future careers. 

To check out “the audacity of identity + color” visit the Cannon Art Gallery 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Dec. 9. 

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Western Theater Presents: She Kills Monsters

Written by:Gretchen Sims

Content Warning: contains spoilers

From Nov. 16 – 19, Western Oregon University Theatre Department presented their fall season straight play, “She Kills Monsters.”

 “She Kills Monsters” — written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Jeb Burris — starred Lexy Bolsinger as Tilly Evans and Katie Newsbury as Agnes Evans. The rest of the cast included Cole Richardson, Jeneba Diane King, Jacob Fritts, Emily Paoli, Cody Reece, Sergio Palomar, Brayden Allen, Tessa Douangaphaivong, Loki Cockrill, Paige Murphy, Lucy Garcia, Alyssa Parr, Ally Warner, Mere Butler, Savannah King and Seth Miller. 

The play follows mid-twenties English teacher Agnes Evans as she grieves the loss of her younger sister Tilly. Tilly, a well-versed and prevalent Dungeon Master, was a foreign creature to the considerably average Agnes. After the passing of her sister in a horrific car crash, Agnes enlists another nerd, Chuck, played by Richardson, to help her decipher the home-spun module — a homemade and custom-built game of Dungeon and Dragons — her sister left behind.

Through exploring the game created by Tilly, and led by talented and geeky Dungeon Master Chuck, Agnes is able to uncover unknown details of her sister’s personality and existence. These discoveries allow Agnes to gain a deeper understanding of the person Tilly truly was.

By the end, there was not one dry eye in the audience. The cast was incredibly talented and took their audience through a rollercoaster of emotions — from the most outrageous of laughter to the most heart-wrenching tears. No matter where one lies on the nerd spectrum, “She Kills Monsters” resonates with humanity and changes one’s perspective on both real and fictional worlds. 

I am a member of the heartless, “never cries in movies” crew, but even I teared up when Agnes had to say her final goodbyes to Tilly. As the older sibling of two younger sisters, my heart bled for Agnes and felt her pain every step of the way. 

All of the performers did a fantastic job. My two favorite performances were from Cole Richardson as Chuck and Sergio Palomar as Orcus. Students in the Western Oregon University Theatre Department have incredible acting abilities that will continue to be shared throughout the 2022-23 school year, so be sure to check out their upcoming shows.

This production was a game changer.


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