Festival1Susan Ainley

The campus music department was honored with the Sweepstakes Award at the Worldstrides Heritage Music Festival, March 5-6. Seniors Ivette Ibarra and Andrew Guthrie, pictured, won Maestro awards, while Guthrie also won the “When you Wish” award.

Senior Andrew Guthrie earns Maestro, “When You Wish” honors

Every year students from the music department embark on a journey to Southern California to attend a singing festival, while either going to Worldstrides Heritage or ACSI. These festivals are to commemorate all the long hours practicing as a whole to put on a performance for high ranking adjudicators.

At 12 p.m., FC students boarded the charter bus en route to the 35th annual Worldstrides Heritage Music Festival, down to Los Angeles, California, March 5-6. Directors Susan Ainley and Lesley Bannister have never traveled to compete in this Southern California music festival, being new to their positions this year.

While attending the festival for the duration of their trip, they were able to visit Medieval Times, as well as Disneyland and participate in other recreational activities. Students were able to visit many sites in LA, but the majority of the trip was spent preparing and performing for the Heritage Festival competitions.

After getting back on the bus, students waited to arrive in LA. They visited Medieval Times around 6 p.m. where students saw the reenactments of duels and jousting. While watching the battles food that was served to the audience. Sophomore Trevor Trevino

“It was so fun, I loved the battles and the food was amazing. Probably it was because I was very hungry from traveling all day,” Trevino said. “I loved the environment that I was in, it made me want to become a knight and go battle.”

After the show students arrived at their final destination for the day, WYNDHAM Hotel. Students boarded the bus early at 7 a.m. on their way to Disneyland and California Adventure. Upon their arrival, students dispersed into small groups and visited different rides in the amusement parks.

I loved getting to try the authentic southern food in New Orleans Square. I had never tasted American food from the south. My favorite food was the authentic Gumbo. It had chicken, shrimp, and sausage with a creamy sauce all over rice. I want to try to find a restaurant that has this type food back in Fresno. –Junior Olivia Tandajaja

One of the most popular rides of the day was the new Cars ride. Senior Andrew Guthrie rode the Cars ride for the first time, and was impressed by the roller coaster type thrill ride and the layout.

“When we first got to Disneyland, and I saw a group of people headed over to Cars Land, I wanted follow them since I’ve never been on the ride before,” Guthrie said. “People had told me it was a really fun ride but it wasn’t until I saw it firsthand that I could truly appreciate it. I loved how you drove through the different rooms leading up to the race, but my favorite part of the ride was of course was the race itself.”

With a variety of different restaurants around the parks, foods from Asian, to South American, European were all available to students. Junior Olivia Tandajaja enjoyed foods from the south the most.

“I loved getting to try the authentic southern food in New Orleans Square,” Tandajaja said. “I had never tasted American food from the south. My favorite food was the authentic Gumbo. It had chicken, shrimp, and sausage with a creamy sauce all over rice. I want to try to find a restaurant that has this type food back in Fresno.”

Vice President of Heritage Festival Kyle Naylor discusses the effectiveness of the Heritage Music Festival

The following day band and choir had separate because of different of their different venue locations. Band had to be on their stage at 8:30 a.m., while choir had to arrive a little later, around 10 a.m. Band practiced through their songs before the actual performance.

After performing several songs, the band was adjudicated by three judges. Not all three spoke to the band, only one judge went up on stage with a given time of four minutes to critique the band.

After band had finished the performance they went out into the lobby where choir had arrived a short while before. The members of the band changed into more comfortable clothes to prepare for the second day of Disneyland, while choir began practicing for their upcoming performance.

After both the choir and band had finished their performances, everyone packed up and were ready to visit Disneyland one last time. Unlike the previous day where students were given bouncer tickets to which they could go to Disneyland and California Adventure, students could only wander in Disneyland.

One group had to wait an hour and ten minutes to board Space Mountain, but this provided opportunities for students to converse and learn new things about their peers outside of school. Senior Anthony Zhang had never been to Disneyland before. One of the things he disliked about Disneyland was definitely the wait for the rides.

“Disneyland was really fun, and I got to see why everyone loves Disneyland so much,” Zhang said. “But one thing I didn’t like was how I had to wait a long time to get on a ride. One ride called Space Mountain we had to wait for an hour and a some minutes. What was nice about you and your friends being stuck in line was that you could talk to them and see what they are like outside of school. I really liked that.”

I am so proud of my students. They have put in a lot of hard work, and many hours of practice. It is so exciting to see their efforts rewarded in such a meaningful way. To achieve a gold star rating as my first year as band director is so exciting, also to have our music program recognized with the sweepstakes reward is a sign of great things to come. –Leslie Bannister, band director

The concert hall, located in Big Thunder Mountain, where the awards took place was very open and no chairs were in visible. Music directors had their own section with chairs, while students sat on the ground with their appropriate schools. The opening ceremony of the awards ceremony began with “Goofy”, “Mickey Mouse”, “Pluto”, and “Daffy Duck” all dancing with a group of singers. After they had done their dance routine a wizard had come on stage to help present the awards with the Vice President of Heritage Kyle Naylor.

Heritage Festival awards, presented by Naylor, honored band and choir, where they earned honors: gold for jazz band and womens ensemble, silver for high school choir and junior high choir. Senior Ivette Ibarra and Guthrie won the maestro awards, and Guthrie also won the “When you Wish” award. The school music program won overall top prize earning the Heritage Sweepstakes Award.

Bannister was proud of her students as well as the Music Department as a whole. While this is only Bannister’s first year as band director, she excited to see how much of the work practicing payed off.

“I am so proud of my students. They have put in a lot of hard work, and many hours of practice,” Bannister said. “It is so exciting to see their efforts rewarded in such a meaningful way. To achieve a gold star rating as my first year as band director is so exciting, also to have our music program recognized with the sweepstakes reward is a sign of great things to come.”

Ainley was astounded by her choir group winning the best overall music program. Along with Bannister, this was also her first year as high school choir director.

“This is my first trip to Heritage as a high school choir teacher and I feel like it was the best possible experience for both teachers and students,” Ainley said. “Winning the sweepstakes trophy literally took my breath away, and I felt so humbled and honored that they would recognize the hard work that all Fresno Christian students do in order to achieve their very best.”

The writer can be reached via Twitter: @KevinGarcha.

For more features, read the March 10 article, Teen dating: The struggle.