All posts by Jacob Taschner

Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra

The Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra is conducted by Robert Spence. It features 84 people in the ensemble, entirely comprised of wind, string, and percussion instruments. The orchestra performs a variety of string orchestra and full orchestra. Any student can join the Community Orchestra, there aren’t even auditions required for string players. You will need permission to join if you wish to play wind or percussion, however.

Founded in 1971, the Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra has been playing at least one concert a semester for over 40 years. At this event, Robert Spence gave recognition to new five and ten-year orchestra members. Before the event started, several songs were played by a few different student ensembles. All Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra concerts take place in Leffler Chapel, and are free and open to the public. No meal swipes required.

“Uh well, I suppose I was interested in joining the orchestra because this is something that I’ve done since 3rd grade actually. I played the cello since 7th grade, and it’s just something I’ve always really enjoyed doing; and I just thought, ‘Why not continue it in College?’”

“Hi, I’m Melissa Germano and I went to the concert today. I am not a musical person whatsoever, but I came to support one of my best friends and former peer students because that’s what I’m supposed to do, and I really liked it a lot.”

Many standing ovations were had from the crowd, many thanks to Robert Spence and the orchestra for putting on a fantastic show.

Bras Across Campus

Elizabethtown College held its annual Feel Your Boobies, Bras Across Campus, event in the Kav last week. It was an event meant to build a community. It aimed to unite those who have experienced or have family or friends who have experienced breast cancer.

One part of the event was to sign a “bra” with the person’s name who had breast cancer that you knew. It also featured some other fun activities, such as a selfie frame. There were two tables set up, one held stickers, flyers, and other things to let other people know to Feel Their Boobies. There also were plenty of pins and ribbons to remember the event by.

There were some speeches delivered and stories shared. Sarah Brennan, the guest speaker and well-known author, shared her story as a breast cancer survivor. She is very active in the Feel Your Boobies foundation, and shared some knowledge on breast cancer with us from her own experiences.

This event means a lot to many people, and can help someone experiencing breast cancer feel less alone.

Humans of Etown – Cam Wirth, Jake Mengel, and Justin Shurr


“A bowl a day keeps the projectile vomit away.”

When asked about his story,  Cam Wirth simply talked about cats.

Justin Shurr

What inspired you to come to college in the first place:

“Well I figured it was the right thing to do. Everyone told me to go to college, so I figured I’d listen. As far as Etown is considered, I visited, and I really liked the small campus. I liked how homey it felt, and everyone seemed very nice, and when I visited I had a good experience so I pursued it.”

What inspired your major:

“Once I came to school I took a bunch of gen-eds Freshman year, and I decided to take intro to communications. I was very interested in the subject matter, and thought it was an interesting class, despite Dr. Helb. You know, I thought I’d pursue it further, I thought it seemed like a lot of fun and an interesting major.”


Jake Mengel

What inspired you to go to college:

“I just always knew it was part of the plan. I knew I was gonna graduate high school and go to college, I never thought I would do anything other than that.”

What inspired your major:

“When it comes to traditional subjects like math, reading science, and social studies, math actually came the easiest to me over the other subjects. Therefore, it is the one that I enjoyed the most.”

What do you plan to do with your major after graduating

“I plan to use the degree to go into the field to work for some sort of business. Either to go into operations research, or work on their statistics in general; but I don’t want to get into the boring details that most people don’t care about.”

Humans of Etown – Sam Morykan


It is likely that most people have noticed Etown junior Sam Morykan walking around campus; even if they do not know her. Her favorite color is black, and she lets everyone know.

Morykan is the second youngest of six children in her family. She comes from a very small place called Hellertown, about two hours from Etown. She is a Psychology major, and has been interested in the topic since she was very young. Her parents, who both tended bar, always encouraged her to go away to a college university. Her father tried to do so when he was younger, but ended up, “majoring in keg tossing.”

Both of her parents finished high school, however only her dad went to college, even though he did not finish it. Her mother went straight from high school into the restaurant business. Eventually they ended up bartending together. They heavily encouraged all their children to go to college. They did not want their children to have similar hardships to them.

Morkyan is the first child of her family to go away to a four-year college. Her oldest brother, Sean, graduated with a degree, however his education was through online purposes; he never got the college experience. Morykan’s parents insisted on her going to college to get that experience, instead of simply gaining a degree through a computer.

When she was young, Morykan recalls having very vivid dreams and nightmares. She checked out a book at a library called, “The Interpretation of Dreams,” by Sigmund Freud. She was interested in learning about them, and this book is the main reason she is a Psychology major today. She finished the book, and it sparked a plethora of thoughts in her head.

Morykan began to think about how the human brain works. The book taught her that dreams are based on your subconscious. She found it extremely interesting, that you could tell what is happening in someone’s subconscious by examining their dreams. She wanted to discover more, but found there was a lack of information. She was amazed that there is so little known about the human brain. “We spend all this time in science trying to understand what we see, when we do not understand ourselves.”

Morykan accentuates these thoughts about the brain by delving into a Gender Studies minor. She finds the process of identity development interesting. She says that she herself questions her own sexuality and gender identity, and that gender studies would help her explore those areas of herself better.

These two majors tend to be how Morykan lives her life. She tries to spark meaningful conversation with friends, and tends to touch on taboo topics to inform and argue. It is not uncommon to hear her arguing about politics; however, it is also normal to hear heated debates about her favorite video games

Morykan came to Etown because of the small-school atmosphere. She wanted to be able to talk to and get to know her professors. Because of the way she holds conversation, she likes being able to talk to them like colleagues, instead of professors.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Masterpiece?

If you are a video game fan, you probably know about “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” coming out this December. This game is a direct sequel to the first one, but what warranted this sequel in the first place?

The original “Xenoblade Chronicles,” which was almost never released in North America, has been revered as one of the best games ever created. If you were to find any flaws with it, they would be merely nitpicking. What makes this game stand out is its lack of flaws. Everything works together like a well oiled machine. However, if one part of that machine were to break, the whole thing would come crashing down.

Xenoblade Reviews

“Xenoblade”, as I’ll call it from here forward, is considered by many to be a masterpiece, the absolute best of what gaming has to offer. It’s a JRPG, meaning Japanese RPG, which comes with certain design conventions such as dialogue options, exploration and a semi-open world, at least. “Xenoblade” took all these concepts and ran with them. There are as many as 480 quests in-game. For reference, Skyrim had 450 quests at the most. The main idea of the story starts out as a revenge story on the main enemy, the Mechon. However, it is impossible to summarize the incredible story without ruining it, or me running out of space, so play it for yourself or watch a playthrough.

There’s a lot of quests, they are probably all generic, right? Most of these quests have deep meanings to them, and one could easily draw parallels to their own life. One of my favorites, without spoiling too much, involves you breaking up a drug-trading ring. Most of the game’s side-quests are lighthearted to detract from the game’s heavy story; which is also perfectly done. “Xenoblade” has a few plot twists, you might be lucky to see one coming.

“Xenoblade” covers topics in its story that some other games cover, such as racism, being shunned by others, and losing loved ones. “Xenoblade” also incorporates the ideas of creationism, atheism and evolution, through both story and gameplay mechanics. My absolute favorite line from any video game, TV show or movie goes to Shulk, the main character. At the end of the game when asked how he wants to move forward with the world, he says, “I don’t know what the future holds. But that means I can imagine the possibilities. We can achieve anything we put our minds to.” “Xenoblade’s” story revolves around seeing the future and changing the outcome. In a battle, if you were to get a “vision” you would see a dangerous attack coming and be able to react to it before it kills you or your party.

The game also has what I would describe as a perfectly huge world. “Xenoblade” encourages exploration by levelling your characters up and making movement around areas faster. The world is massive, but it is not intimidatingly huge. It should not take you an hour to run from one place to the next, but it will because you stopped at everything along the way.

The music in “Xenoblade” is probably some of the best music I have ever heard. To any non-gamers, this might sound strange, but gamers love video game music; and “Xenoblade Chronicles” does not slouch at all in this department. I enjoyed every single song I heard in this game. They all fit their areas well; nothing dragged, nothing was repetitive and I remember all of them. I could name any song from the game by heart if you played one for me. My three personal favorites are the songs “Mechonis Field,” “Zanza the Divine” and the song that plays before the credits, “Beyond the Sky”. Each of these songs are beautiful, and I recommend a listen to anyone who has not heard them.

I simply cannot cover everything this game does well, but the gameplay is also amazing. The player controls a party of three out of the seven characters, and can mix, match and customize the party however they want. They are not required to have specific characters in their party like other games in the same genre do. This is one of my favorite decisions, because the characters are also fantastic. They all have so much depth, and interactions you would miss if you only played with a specific party the whole game. Certain voice lines would never be heard, and certain combos would never be found.

Conclusively, I cannot find many faults with the original “Xenoblade Chronicles” worth talking about. Other games may have higher “highs” than “Xenoblade” when compared, but its strength lies in its consistency. There is not a part of this game that I dislike, but there’s plenty of parts in other games that I like that I despise. In my first 120 hour experience with this game, I was tearing up at the final cutscene; partially because it was over, and partially because it was the best thing I ever experienced. My best advice is to play it for yourself. I don’t need to see the future to know you’ll love this game.