What’s new with chapel?


Jonathan Salomon

Mark Brady

One can hardly walk around the campus on a chapel morning without hearing some sort of discussion about how the doors to the chapel are locked, preventing chapel attendees form saving seats. To many, it appears the days of saving seats are over, and this realization has nearly sparked panic. Why are the doors locked, and is there still a way to save seats early?

The concept behind locking the doors was first implemented by the chapel team as part of the revamp of chapel for this school year. In the production industry, it is common practice to close the doors of a venue until a designated time to allow the production team and the on-stage talent time to do whatever they need to do before the show. This is the dominant reason behind the locked chapel doors as indicated by Steven Inabnit, who oversees the chapel team. The doors are closed to allow the Chapel Band and the Chapel Tech team time to rehearse, troubleshoot, and finish preparing the gym for a chapel. 

Jonathan Salomon

While giving the chapel team more time to carry out its tasks before the gym starts to fill with people is by far and large the main reason for the closing of the doors, there is another reason. It has to do with the chapel seat saver who uses individual pieces of paper, or more recently coasters, to save seats for their entire wing. 

On some occasions, the chapel seats look like a brother and sister wing decided to have their next wing event sitting together in chapel as sibling wings. It is often passed down by word of mouth that the maximum number of seats that one is allowed to save in chapel is three. This isn’t really an official rule, but it has made its way into prominence simply due to the fact that it has been orally recited by students so many times. 

Most of the returning study body have probably heard this at least once in their tenure here at Master’s. To confirm whether or not this “rule” is actually true or not, the student handbook was consulted in the preparation of this article. Turns out, the maximum number of seats that any one chapel attendee is allowed to save at chapel for their friends is, drum roll please …one. 

You may save one seat for a friend according to page twenty-six of the student handbook. If you had no idea that line existed, don’t worry, the author of this article even learned something new upon reading that line in the handbook. It does not take a genius to figure out that very few people actually save only one seat. Thus, it can be said that a side effect of closing the doors early is that it helps control the great hordes that are the chapel seat savers. 

Has this change really been effective in accomplishing the desired outcome though, or is it just a hindrance for those trying to get to chapel earlier? According to chapel band leader Jonathan Nah, 

“For the chapel team, locking the doors in the morning is a simple yet effective change.” 

Students don’t seem to mind so much now as they may have earlier in the year either. The general consensus acquired from discussing the topic with multiple chapel seat savers was summed up well by an explanation from an anonymous student who said, 

“Now there is an excuse to sleep in a little later, spend a longer time at breakfast, or to just step out of the whole seat game and be happy with seats available when doors open.”   

Is this the end for saving seats in chapel, is all hope lost for the seat saver who gets up at the crack of dawn to escape the dreaded bleachers? Good news, there is still hope, you chapel seat savers. All you have to do is get up before the sun comes up and go save your seats before the doors are closed. At that point, your dedication and drive to save seats has reached such an unprecedented level that no one is going to attempt to thwart your efforts, probably because no one else is awake yet besides track and field. 

Or you could just enjoy your morning coffee somewhere else on campus more relaxing than the gym, and arrive at 8:30 a.m. when doors open knowing very few if any seats have been saved yet. For those that are saved, you may be able to safely assume that they were saved by someone who came down after chapel set up the night before and then you may proceed to be glad that you are not that person who saves seats 10 hours early. The student body may now breathe a sigh of relief that light has been shed on this issue. 

Now for the other fantastic new features recently added for this 2019-20 year in Chapel. Let’s start this off on a monster high note. New house lighting! Plus, the new lights can replicate an incandescent color temperature, meaning no more harsh, stark white lighting. If you haven’t noticed the six LED bars that now run the length of the gym’s ceiling, three on the left and three on the right, look up the next time your in chapel and bask in the soft-on-the-eyes, incandescent light that radiates from them. 

While the box LED lights that hang down from the ceiling do serve a purpose, and generally work well for lighting the gym, they are by no means meant for production and that’s exactly what these new LED bars are built for. You can also expect to see smoother and greatly improved lighting transitions and fades. Your tech team may or may not have nearly cried tears of joy when those LED bars of incandescent glory were delivered.

Keeping on the lighting track, new LED color movers were added to the gym to create a more visually pleasing appearance on stage and pull off sick lighting shows like what those of you lucky enough to be at the Master’s cup witnessed. 

In the area of aesthetics, the old chapel backdrops have been replaced with a new pipe and drape system, and your chapel team spent hours building the new wooden backdrops that you now see behind the stage. 

Saving the best for last, one of the most defining changes is seen in the composition of the chapel band itself. This year’s chapel band features a greatly expanded range of instruments from previous years, including cello, a second violin, and several new percussion instruments. These expansions have not only added greater depth to the band but have also been instrumental in building team morale. Newcomers such as percussionist Genesis Ramirez, cellist Cleo Blankinship, and vocalists Anika Mellwig and Rebekah Jackson have quickly become staples of the band’s personality. These are all truly exciting new features to look forward to as we worship together this year.