COMMENTARY: Heritage Music Festival 2015, my experience (Video)

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Sophomore Jarred Coppola shares his experiences at the Worldstrides Heritage Festival, including a Disneyland day, March 5-8.

Fresno Christian awarded the overall Sweepstakes award, while jazz band, ladies ensemble win Gold

The Worldstrides Heritage Music Festival, a yearly event that choir and band students can attend, was certainly a blast, March 5-8. The experience I had in participating in this trip is beyond any other trip I have been on here at FC.

The first day that we left for heritage, I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit frightened that I wouldn’t be included in much, this being because I was one of the youngest high schoolers there. We boarded the bus, and the second I got on, I could feel the excitement in the air. People were jump up and down in their seats, talking non-stop; it seemed like I was in for a great time.

I thought that the bus ride would be extremely long, but it proved to be pretty short and fun. I was able to hang out with friends, eat snacks, and overall just have some fun time to sit back and relax. Really enjoyed spending time with my friends throughout this trip, and I feel like I had a lot of time to get to know them all better.

As we neared Medieval Times, traffic started to get really bad, so we weren’t able to drop our stuff off at the hotel. This probably the only backfire of the bus ride, and it wasn’t a big deal at all either. Once we arrived at Medieval Times, we walked in the doors and got our crowns, bearing the color of our knight. We then took a picture all together, and went in the building. Inside there was a bar, some shops, and horse stables. The horses there were beautiful, pure breed Spanish horses. It was pretty cool to see them up close before watching do spectacular things in the show. After we looked around a bit, the “Prince” came out and told us the rules, and led us to our seats. We sat down, and were automatically greeted by our server. He was a really kind man, I wish I had brought my wallet to tip him! Anyways, the server brought out drinks for us, and the show began.

First, there was the introduction of the knights and the horses. Next, there was a conversation in the royal family. They announced the special guests, which included people on their Honey Moon, people celebrating their birthday and schools/ other groups. The “Queen” asked that the feast begin, and we were brought a huge chunk of chicken. The smell in the air was spectacular, it had everyone’s mouths watering! We started to eat, as the knights started to hold the tournament.

When the announcer announced the Worldstrides Heritage Music Festival 2015 winner to be the Fresno Christian concert choir, we all stood up, the cast of characters came out, confetti spit out, lights flashed, and we were going crazy! Leslie Banister and Susan Ainley went up onto the stage and claimed the huge trophy. Banister was crying tears of joy! –Freshman Jarrod Coppola

First things first, the knights used spears to try to aim at a target. After that, they had a round where the knights tried to hook a ring around a stick while riding a horse at high speed. Next, the knights had a jousting tournament, and fought another night to the death until there was only one left. Our knight, the blue knight actually won! It was really exciting to see the battles. Sparks flew when the swords would clash, there were also maces, axes and slings! By the end of the night, we were pretty tired. My group and I relaxed and watched some TV when we reached the hotel, we also ate some snacks. Then we went to bed, with great anticipation for the fun of the coming day.

The next day we woke up and got dressed, and immediately went out of our hotel. We got breakfast and boarded the bus to Disneyland! Everyone was so excited. We couldn’t wait to spend a day at such a fun place! After we arrived, my friends and I were practically skipping in pure joy as we entered the park. The familiar smells of churros, popcorn and many other tasty snacks returned to our senses. We all immediately went on a ride, which was the Radiator Springs Racers, in the new Cars Land ride. We had such a fun time! The line wasn’t too long either considering that it wasn’t a weekend day.

As the day passed by we went on many rides and continued to live a day in the “happiest place on earth.” As we walked through the park, we saw many familiar characters, such as Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie and even some other characters, like the Evil Queen from Snow White. I actually ended up taking a picture with the Evil Queen, too! I have to say, I don’t ever remember the cast members at Disneyland that played characters acting so well! When we encountered the Evil Queen, she was pretty sassy, and she said things like, “I would have looked good in a picture even if I wasn’t ready to take a picture,” or, “Move! Move to the side!” She even asked one little girl to bow to her!

We ended up eating at the Tomorrow Land fast food restaurant for lunch, and the Plaza Inn for dinner. The food was really good, but it was expensive. As the day came to a close, we heard that Johnny Depp was in the park. But sadly, we didn’t spot him. The voice actor of Anakin Skywalker I the Clone Wars was also there!

Night fell, and we started to head back to our meeting place. We met and boarded the bus that headed for our hotel. When we arrived, we hopped in the beds, and started to kick bad for a bit before bed. I popped some popcorn, and we ate a little and got ready for bed.

When we woke up the next morning, we headed to the performance venue to start setting up for our performances. I was playing in the jazz band for the trip, because I was selected to go out of my percussion class. I played to congas, Trevor Trevino, ’17, played the bass guitar, Andrew Guthrie, ’15, played the saxophone, and Madison Seib, ’15, played the trumpet as well as Janae Shew, ’20. We thought that our performance hadn’t topped that of the other groups, but the awards ceremony that night proved us absolutely wrong.

After the jazz band performed, the ensemble, concert choir and junior high choir preformed. All of them did outstanding performances, and the crowd’s cheers showed major approval. We were able to go to Taco Bell while the choirs were practicing too.

When the bus arrived, we all piled on excitedly, eager to take our second trip to Disneyland. When we arrived, we walked through the gates and stepped right into Downtown Disney. I bought a Disney Sketchbook, which compiled of sketches from a lot of the major Disney animators. After that, we went to Disneyland, and went on a few more rides.

After we had rode a few more attractions, we headed to the awards ceremony. At the ceremony, the fireworks started to go off, but the loud noise made many people jump! After that we enjoyed the awesome colors and lights of the fireworks before the ceremony began. There was a little show put on before the ceremony, which was exciting. After the awards started, they started to explain the rules and what awards meant what. Then they started to announce the awards. Right off the bat, jazz band was awarded gold! Next, ensemble was also awarded gold, followed by concert choir being awarded silver, and junior high choir awarded bronze! We were practically in awe of the amount of awards we won. After all of this, Guthrie won the “If you wish” award, as well as the maestro award. Senior Ivette Ibara also won the maestro award.

After all of this, we expected nothing more. This was it. The overall Heritage Music Festival 2015 trophy was about to be announced. We thought we didn’t stand anywhere close to the bigger schools. But when the announcer announced the winner to be the Fresno Christian Concert Choir, we all stood up, the cast of characters came out, confetti spit out, lights flashed, and we were going crazy! Leslie Banister and Susan Ainley went up onto the stage and claimed the huge trophy. Banister was crying tears of joy!

Afterwards, we celebrated. We took pictures, crowded around the trophy chanting and cheering. We even went to get ice cream afterwards to celebrate. When the bus arrived, we were all ready to go home. We were really tired, after all.

As the day ended, we felt such a great joy to have gone on this trip. I felt so blessed to be a part of such a cool group of people. I really hope to go again next year, because the experience my friends and I had this year was beyond fun. Big shout out to Leslie Banister and Susan Ainley, this trip has been the best school trip I have ever experienced in my life.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline.

By |2015-03-27T00:00:00+00:00March 27th, 2015|Commentary, Music, Uncategorized, Videos 2014-15|0 Comments

Music department earns Heritage Sweepstakes (PODCAST, SLIDESHOW)

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.

By |2015-03-11T00:00:00+00:00March 11th, 2015|FC Arts, Features, Music, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

New album sparks interest in community

Known as the cheeky, blonde haired, country girl we all know and love, Taylor Swift has continued to make a name for herself and has stayed true to her vision.

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Born Dec. 13, 1989, now the American singer-songwriter that she has grown to be, she’s really done well for herself.

She was raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. Her parents moved her and her brother Austin there to help Swift pursue her dreams of becoming a musician, which she well fulfilled.

Swift has, so far, released 6 albums. In 2006 she came out with her first album, Taylor Swift. Following that was her 2008 album, Fearless. In 2010 she debuted her album Speak Now. In 2011 her Speak Now Live World Tour album. After that came her 2012 Red album, which changed the game for her, as this is the album where she started making a name for herself. And now in 2014 her 1989 album has topped many charts within the first month of selling.

Her newest album debuted on Oct. 27, 2014, through Big Machine Records. The title, 1989, was fitting being that was the year that she was born.

This album marked Swift’s third time selling 1 million copies of a debuted album within the first week. She is the first ever artist to achieve this, and was recently given the award: The Dick Clark Award for Excellence, Sunday at the American Music Awards.

Swift has been widely known through and by her music from various genres to country, (where she started her career), to alternative rock, to pop, to and eclectic indie style, (as showcases by her new album, 1989). She has never been one to follow the crowd, but to simply make her own crowd, which is why she has been such a hit with young girls in the past years, helping them to identify themselves musically.

Music is a powerful thing; it can speak to anyone.

Moving away form her country twang familiar sound towards a more eclectic, pop sort of sound, the CD is a big hit with her fans.

The 1989 album comes jam-packed with 16 tracks:
1. Welcome To New York
2.Blank Space
3.Style
4. Out of the Woods
5. All You Had To Do Was Stay
6. Shake It Off
7. I Wish You Would
8. Bad Blood
9. Wildest Dreams
10. How You Get The Girl
11. This Love
12. I Know Places
13. Clean
14. Wonderland (Bonus Track)
15. You Are In Love (Bonus Track)
16. New Romantics (Bonus Track)

Exclusive voice memos:
1. I Know Places (piano/vocal)
2. I Wish You Would (piano/vocal)
3. Blank Space (guitar/vocal)

To CD listeners only, there are three bonus tracks, and three voice compilations that walk the listener step-by-step through Swift’s process of song writing.

Junior Alexis Kalugin gives feedback about the newest Taylor Swift album.

“I personally like her ‘Red’ album the best, so this one was kind of a let down for me, but a lot of the songs are surprisingly growing on me,” Kalugin said. “The track I like the most is the song ‘This Love’, because it reminds me of her old stuff, and I enjoy being nostalgic.”

Senior Aaron DeWolf shares his opinion of the new album.

“This album was a let down for me, because Taylor has always been one to migrate to a new sound, but this album just made it seem like she is trying too hard, and I’m not a fan of that. There are a few songs I enjoy, but over-all I’m not pleased with it. I wish she would have stuck to the old Taylor.”

Senior Jason Swain expresses his admiration for the new album.

“I’ve always liked the country Taylor Swift, but I’m also liking this new, iconic Taylor. It’s new and fresh, and I like it. I’m sure the album is a hit.”

Some of Swift’s fans are disappointed, while others are applauding her with a great smile, but that’s the beauty of music; a song can relate to just about anyone no matter the circumstances. Have a listen for yourself and see what she’s accomplished.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Kathryn_Damschen.

For more reviews, read the Nov. 18 article, Bands inspire spiritual growth through lyrics, beats (VIDEO).

By |2014-11-25T00:00:00+00:00November 25th, 2014|Music, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BRIEF: Fresno churches host Christmas concerts

TheFeatherLogoJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

As we come ever close to Christmas time, concerts and events are becoming ever more prevalent. Fresno in particular holds several events which are a must attend opportunity to the citizens of this community.

The main event following Thanksgiving is called the Messiah Sing-Along. It was started by Sam Barkman 38 years ago who directed it for 20 years, where upon his retirement the new worship leader of The First Presbyterian Church, Dr. Julie Carter took his place. It is currently in its 38th annual event and is looked forward to by hundreds, the average attendance is between 600-700.

Director Julie Carter, has been directing this event for the past 18 years and every year she looks forward to directing and putting the event together.

“I love directing the orchestra because they are all professionals,” Carter said. “Along with the orchestra, our church is oblong, which creates a delay, making it quite a difficult task to keep everyone together. Unlike most performances of the Messiah, anyone in the community has the chance be apart of it. Along with just singing parts of it, the audience also has the chance to sing the solo’s. This is unheard of because of the level of difficulty which the piece is.”

The event is free yet the event planners request for people to bring canned goods for the needy. Gottschalks Music Store in Clovis sells Messiah scores at the door for $10 and following the sing-along is an event called soup-along. It is put on by the church worship ministry team and a small donation is collected at the door.

The event begins at 3 p.m., yet for good seating, it is advised to arrive an hour early. Along with the Messiah, Fresno is holding a multitude of events, each with a similar rich history. The Feather hopes that the students and readers will attend the Messiah or one of the following Christmas concerts.

Nov. 30: Messiah Sing-along, 3 p.m. First Presbyterian church
Dec. 5: Women?s and Men?s Choir from Fresno Pacific University present their concert at 7:30 p.m. at Butler Mennonite Church. Call the FPU Music dept. for more info.
Dec. 6: Fresno Philharmonic Christmas Concert.
Dec. 6: San Joaquin Chorale and Fresno Pacific Concert Choir present a Christmas concert at the Shagoian Hall, 7:30pm.
Dec. 8: Fresno Christian JH/HS program, 8 p.m.
Dec. 14: Bach Children?s Choirs Christmas Concert at First Presbyterian Church, performances at 4 and 6 p.m.
Dec. 13: Earl Meyer?s Christmas concert.
Dec. 24: First Presbyterian Church Christmas Eve services: 4 p.m. Children?s service, 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. choir, orchestra, message.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @J0sh_Carter.

For more news, read the Nov. 24 article, Fall sports athletes awarded at sports banquet.

By |2014-11-24T00:00:00+00:00November 24th, 2014|Community Events, FC Events, Music, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Bands inspire spiritual growth through lyrics, beats (VIDEO)

IMG_9422Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive
Thousands of people gathered at the Christian concert, Winter Jam 2014, Nov. 11. This nighttime concert series, hosted on Veterans Day by the popular Christian band, Newsong, provided a powerful night of worship for many Fresno-area Christian music lovers.

The admission price to Winter Jam, held at the Save Mart Center, was kept at the low price of $10, to give everyone an opportunity to worship and hear the gospel.

This year Winter Jam featured Christian artist’s Hillsong United, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Colton Dixon, Disciple, NewSong, Trip Lee, Everfound, About A Mile and Veridia. Visual artist Jared Emerson and speaker Tony Nolan also participated.

Winter Jam ’14, was a concert like none other. The interest was so high the tickets sold out leaving people having to stand wherever they could find room. Hundreds were turned away at the door. However, various bands put on an acoustic show outside for those who were denied entry.

Senior Elise Winegarden enjoyed listening to Hillsong United, because of the overall worship experience.

“My favorite band was definitely Hillsong,” Winegarden said. “I really liked how they can express their hearts. They really got to bring people into worship. They got to show what worship is really about and how it’s just between you and God. You can enter in to that worship and just let God reign down on you.”

Another fan favorite was Jeremy Camp. He shared an inspirational story about how he recovered after his wife died. Winegarden’s brother Collin ’15, also attended the concert and was really moved by Camp’s testimony, which inspired some of the songs that he performed.

“My favorite was Jeremy Camp,” Collin said. “He?s really inspirational with his story behind his music. I like how his songs are not just empty words, but stories with deep meaning behind them”

Not only did the artists bring intimate worship with God, but performers such as Trip lee, Disciple, and Colton Dixon got the crowd’s adrenaline pumping. Senior Mikayla Miller was happy to see that Colton Dixon and Trip Lee got the crowded involved in their performances.

“Colton Dixon was really great,” Miller said. “He got everyone pumped up and jumping around. He was very exciting to watch preform. Trip Lee got the audience more involved by having everyone move their arms back and forth to the beat of his song.”

Aside from the worship, Winter Jam also brought a message that encouraged the audience to go all in for Christ. This message was given by speaker Tony Nolan.

Junior Kylie Bell thought it was cool how Nolan was able to preach the gospel, but relate social media into his message. He used the illustration that God can see behind the selfies we post. These posts will not save us from death and destruction.

“He shared that no matter how connected you are on social media, it will not earn you a ticket into Heaven,” Bell said. “The minute things that we believe are fulfilling in life, are not important to God. We have to recognize what is truly significant in God’s eyes.”

Newsong also incorporated this message when they performed a song entitled “Arise, My Love”. During this song Emerson finger painted a picture of Christ. The breathtaking impact of this performance showed the audience just how powerful God is.

Overall, the concert was not only encouraging to the people who went, but also a great presentation of modern christian music.

Olivia Quebe, ’16, who had never been to Winter Jam, loved it. She liked the variety of artists that performed, as well as the community it brought with the other hundreds of people in the stadium.

“This was my first time going to Winter Jam and I’m so happy I did,” Quebe said. “The amount of fellowship and genuine love for the Lord in that building was outstanding! It was nice to hear artists like Veridia and About A Mile, but it was also awesome to hear artists that you always hear on the radio perform live. Artists like Trip Lee and Disciple got the crowd pumped up, but I would have to say my favorites were Jeremy Camp and Hillsong. They both brought the entire building to their feet in worship. It was nothing I had ever seen before. It was such an amazing night and I can’t wait for next year.”

This community of worship was not only inspiring to the audience members, but also to the photographers at the concert. Bell, who was also one of the photographers for Winter Jam, thought it was an amazing experience to capture people worshiping with their hands raised and voices singing along.

“I loved that the bands sang some of their most popular songs so that everyone would sing along,” Bell said. “It was an incredible experience to photograph with everyone’s hands raised and singing.”

Winter Jam continues to encourage and bring an empowering atmosphere wherever they go. This concert is an amazing opportunity to worship as a community. Please check the Winter Jam 2015 website for upcoming concerts or follow them on Twitter: @winterjamtour and/or on Winter Jam Facebook page.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline. This blogger can be reach via Twitter: @Alexis_Kalugin.

For more features, read the Nov. 17 article, Citizens compare pros and cons of flu vaccinations.

By |2014-11-18T00:00:00+00:00November 18th, 2014|Music, Uncategorized|0 Comments