Soundwaves, band, chorus to showcase talent, songs at spring concert

Featuring an array of songs, the band, chorus, and a capella groups will perform tonight at 7 p.m. All students will showcase talent that has improved throughout the year, according to band director Joe Sokol.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Featuring an array of songs, the band, chorus, and a capella groups will perform tonight at 7 p.m. All students will showcase talent that has improved throughout the year, according to band director Joe Sokol.

  “The band is playing better as a group now. They’ve gotten better at balancing and observing dynamics. It’s great to be able to perform when we’re playing at our highest level of the year,” he said.

  According to Sokol, the band will perform the same setlist as they did in Montreal, including “Beatles’ Gold” and “Raider’s March.”

  “We’ve added a medley from ‘Grease’ which is turning out to be really nice. I think it’s going to be a great concert. The band and chorus all have a lot of good music,” he said.

  Choral director Donna O’Neil agrees.

  “The students have been dedicated and working for excellence, and I have no doubt that it will pay off,” she said.

  According to O’Neil, the chorus will sing a “beautiful and dramatic” rendition of “There Will Be Rest.” The piece is a musical translation of the poem by Sarah Teasdale. They will also sing “Down to the River” from the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” and “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon.

  The Soundwaves will perform “No Rain” by Blind Melon, a Billy Joel piece, and “Africa” by Toto.

  This concert marks the last major performance for many seniors.

  “Band is such a family. We’ve had so much fun, and it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye. I can’t wait to give our epic senior speech, with Mr. Sokol quotes included,” senior Grace Gillete said.

  Sokol will likewise miss this senior class.

  “As far as leadership goes, the seniors set great examples musically. The younger players really learn from them. It’s been a blast over the years, I’m going to miss their big personalities,” he said.

  “The senior class has some amazing talent and their shoes will be very hard to fill, both musically and in spirit,” O’Neill said.

  The Soundwaves will also hold a concert on April 28 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium to fundraise for the junior class. The event will include refreshments and multiple songs.

(0)

Should people become famous through Youtube? – Con

In a world where online media is dominating society, numerous people have found viral fame through Youtube. For some, the recognition is well-deserved. For those who find themselves on morning talk shows after a miniscule moment in their lives is glorified through millions of views, the fame is ridiculous.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  In a world where online media is dominating society, numerous people have found viral fame through Youtube. For some, the recognition is well-deserved. For those who find themselves on morning talk shows after a miniscule moment in their lives is glorified through millions of views, the fame is ridiculous.

  Gone are the glory days of chew-happy Charlie and drugged-up David, where hilarious everyday moments were kept within the Youtube realm. Millions of viewers laughed, replayed the video, and then shared it with friends, but the none of the stars of these videos ended up on talk shows. These types of videos should only be valued for the brief entertainment they provide.

  Today, people purposely make fools of themselves in efforts to be the next Youtube celebrity. Comments on current events and foolish skits flood the site daily.

  Solid success stories come from users using the site to display actual talent. Justin Bieber and Greyson Chance’s voices were discovered through Youtube. Other aspiring musicians, such as Boyce Avenue, use the site to release covers of popular songs.

  Youtube remains a great source to propel undiscovered talent to stardom, but the level to which some unexpected users are rising to fame is becoming extreme.

  So far this year, two people have gone from obscurity to Youtube sensation to “Good Morning America” in a matter of days.

  A reporter videotaped a homeless man, Ted Williams, capturing his deep-voiced announcer ability. Williams was an ex-radio announcer who lost everything due to drug and alcohol addictions. He had been sober for years. Within days the video had millions of hits, and Williams ended up on multiple talk shows and with several job offers. A week later, Williams succumbed to his past addictions and checked into rehab. Williams is talented and has an incredible story, but the alarming rate at which he exploded into fame highlights the heightened value Americans now put on social media.

  Cathy Cruz Marrero became an instant advertisement for the dangers of texting when a security camera taped her walking into a fountain while texting. Numerous newspapers covered the story, and she also appeared on “Good Morning America.” The video is undeniably funny, but for Marrero to become so famous because of it is absurd. To encourage such brief moments of fame is only strengthening our obsession with searching through pixels of a screen to find enjoyment in life.

  The problem lies not with talentless users attempting to generate fame, but instead where society is going. If Marrero can become a sensation over a moment of stupidity, who else will find exaggerated and pointless fame in the future?

(0)

Harry Potter theme park envelops series, creates authentic experience

Chocolate frogs, a virtual dragon chase, and a refreshing glass of butterbeer are merely pieces of the fantastically realistic Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Chocolate frogs, a virtual dragon chase, and a refreshing glass of butterbeer are merely pieces of the fantastically realistic Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.   

  Shops from Diagon Alley are incorporated into a replica of the village of Hogsmeade, which leads up to the remarkably realistic re-creation of Hogwarts castle. The authenticity of the park is the heart of the awesome experience for fans of the series.

  Everything about the park is designed to make visitors feel as if they have entered Harry’s world. The creators fleshed out the smaller details to truly transport visitors into the books and movies. All staff members wear robes or some other costume, the colors of the shops’ interiors match those in the movies, and all architecture is seemingly taken straight out of the movies.

  In the films, music plays a huge role in defining Harry’s world. In the park, scores from the movies are being played everywhere. The music fits each area. Upon entering the park, visitors hear the same music that plays when Harry first steps into Diagon Alley. Classic themes from the first movie swell around the castle. Lively music from the Quidditch Cup is played in The Three Broomsticks.

  An impressive a cappella group occasionally performs various scores vocally in the gap between the Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. 

  The highlight of the park lies within Hogwarts on The Forbidden Journey. Groups of four fly through various rooms featuring different parts of the world. Some rooms feature interactive props such as the dragon’s head breathing hot steam, spitting spiders, and the chill-inducing Dementors. Other rooms feature a video screen where riders follow Harry and Ron through flying around Hogwarts and then in a Quidditch match. The entire ride is surprisingly realistic and intensely thrilling.

  The park only has two other rollercoasters: one designed for children and a crazy twisting and flipping one meant for rollercoaster enthusiasts. With only those options everyone flocks to The Forbidden Journey, making the wait-time extremely long.

  The shops are not designed for crowds. Some require a wait line to get in, and the space inside is so crammed that shoppers are climbing over each other to move to the next section. Store products are also limited. There’s one for signature candy from the series, another for joke products, one for wands and journals, and another for series merchandise. In the ultimate place for Harry Potter fans, the product selection should extend beyond the basic apparel, mugs, and stuffed animals. 

  Besides the rides, the wonderfully rich butterbeer makes up for the frustrating crowds. It can be bought cold or frozen and both types feature cream soda with butterscotch. The delicious frothy topping tastes like shortbread cookies.

  The park has one restaurant from the series: The Three Broomsticks. The ordering process was designed for crowds, where patrons order at a computer station and then wait in line for the food. Only five meal types were available, but because they were already prepared, the serving system was efficient. The food wasn’t fantastic, but the flavor and density of the meal made it satisfying overall.

  The restaurant itself features all wooden architecture and a variety of seating. The tables and chairs appear sturdy yet worn, capturing the atmosphere portrayed in the books.

  Created atmospheres such as in The Three Broomsticks is the exactly what makes the theme park the perfect place for any fan. The details are well-designed and fun to find. If you listen closely, you may hear Moaning Myrtle in the bathrooms.

(0)

The Script continues succesful style in sophomore effort

Featuring meaningful lyrics and memorable choruses, “The Script” delivers an impressive second album that further solidifies their sound and contains multiple potential radio hits.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Featuring meaningful lyrics and memorable choruses, “The Script” delivers an impressive second album that further solidifies their sound and contains multiple potential radio hits.

  Most bands release a poorly constructed second album because they are rushed to further capitalize on their first album’s success. “The Script,” however, manages to produce catchy songs but back them up with solid lyrics and ideas.

  The Ireland-based band became fully integrated in mainstream music with their hit “Breakeven” last year. All of the tracks in their second album, “Science & Faith” follow the same formula as the first, but why change stylistically if their debut album had so much success?

  “The Script” chose to maintain the same sound, but their original style is unique. Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue articulates fast-paced verses and then soars into the choruses with a soulful voice that has a wide range. O’Donoghue appears more confident in this album and stretches his voice to hit higher notes.  

  “The Script” relies heavily on vocal fills but each are individualized to the song and fill out each track musically.

  The style may seem monotonous throughout the album, but each song is carefully constructed with unique phrasing and instrumental melodies.

  The album was written in a mere four months. For such quickly produced songs, the lyrics are smooth, well constructed, and poetic.  While all songs are about love, “The Script” acknowledges how dynamic love is through exploring its many forms.

  Love is seen as an anchor through difficult economic times in their current single, “For the First Time.” The timeless love and support family members share shines through in “If You Ever Come Back,” where the band were inspired by their return to Ireland after touring in the United States.

  By combining actions such as joining the military and working multiple jobs in “This = Love,” “The Script” deliver a powerful perspective on how both small daily tasks and significant life choices can be all be defined as being done out of love for others.

  Within the songs concerning romantic love, each track is individualized by the different themes of love addressed. “You Won’t Feel a Thing” focuses on protective feelings, “Exit Wounds” creates a metaphor for the pain of a breakup, and “Long Gone and Moved On” conveys the need to look past previously failed relationships.

  The entire album is embodied in the title track “Science & Faith,” where “The Script” uses science and faith as two perspectives on love, with the idea that love should be accepted and valued instead of being questioned or ignored altogether. The song is meaningful, and the memorable chorus makes it a definite Top 40 hit.

(0)

Eight singers qualify for districts

Out of 18 students from Manchester Essex that auditioned in the Junior District Competition, eight students were selected to perform in the Massachusetts Northeastern District Junior Music Festival.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Out of 18 students from Manchester Essex that auditioned in the Junior District Competition, eight students were selected to perform in the Massachusetts Northeastern District Junior Music Festival.

  Middle school students Frederick Spofford (6 grade), Sarah Rhuda (7 grade), and Ariana Jackson (8 grade) will join freshmen Sofia Del Valle, Elizabeth White, Neil Henry and Alexandra Valenti in representing Manchester Essex on March 19. Freshman Noah Gilbert also qualified instrumentally for drums.

  “Given the snow days and everything, [the results] were phenomenal,” choral director Donna O’Neill said.

According to O’Neill, Junior Districts is similar to Senior Districts, except there is no sight reading component.

  Coming from Brookwood, this was Del Valle’s first chance at auditioning for Junior Districts, and she thought the experience was “a little nerve-racking.”

  This year, Valenti also tried out for Senior Districts. This is her second year qualifying for Junior Districts.

  “Senior Districts was pretty similar scoring-wise, but the audition was definitely more challenging because of the sight reading,” she said.

  This is White’s third year in qualifying and Henry’s fourth. According to Henry, his first audition was as a soprano, his second year as a tenor, and he has auditioned for the bass section for the past two years.

  According to White, preparation involved practicing at home with a recording and rehearsing in front of O’Neill.

  “Everyone gets better because we go over [the piece] a lot and share comments on what can make it better. [O’Neill] makes sure everyone is prepared enough and knows the piece thoroughly when it’s time to audition,” she said.

  Not only does the process offer choral experience outside of school, it also benefits the chorus program overall, according to Del Valle.

  “We had to learn our line of music backwards and forwards and we’ll be able to apply that in class when we learn new music,” she said.

  “The students get to work with guest conductors, and they bring a lot of enthusiasm back along with new song ideas,” O’Neill said.

  Both Valenti and White are looking forward to preparing for and performing in the Music Festival.

   “As a singer, it’s really amazing to hear all of these people who are so outstanding and genuinely interested in music,” Valenti said.

   “The concert is my favorite part because we hear all of the pieces together, and performing them after working so hard feels really rewarding,” White said.

(0)

Seasonal change, activities revive eco-friendly methods

Going green is a movement where the success is based off of small efforts by individuals. According to www.epa.gov these different techniques change as the seasons change, and certain methods apply solely to wintertime.

 By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

 Going green is a movement where the success is based off of small efforts by individuals. According to www.epa.gov these different techniques change as the seasons change, and certain methods apply solely to wintertime.

  As the weather grows colder, people need to use more heat in their households. A leak connecting the interior to the harsh cold air decreases the temperature of the house. Examine windows and doors from leaks and use either plastic or weather stripping to fill it in. Leaks can also be found in electrical sockets and light switches. Those can be mended with an electrical socket insulator.

  Small fixes can make a huge difference in the temperature in the house. A small leak multiplied by multiple windows generates enough cold air to severely impact a room’s temperature. If the leaks are eliminated, people will not need to raise the thermostat. This will lower the heating bill while saving energy.

  Fireplaces are also a source for heat. Ashes can be mixed with compost to help gardens in the spring. Newspaper can be recycled into fireplace logs. Wrap paper around a piece of wood and soak it in water. After drying, the newspaper will function as a log.

  With winter comes snow, and the many existing snow removal methods are not eco-friendly.

  Snow must be wiped from the roads, but some substances are damaging to the environment.

  Non-toxic de-icing substances are more environmentally friendly and safer for plants and pets. Electronic snow removal products or snow shovels are preferable over gasoline-powered ones.

  Hordes of holiday shoppers can also adapt their habits to help the environment.

  Holiday festivities provide opportunities to reduce waste. Bring a reusable bag while shopping. If using store-provided bags, do not take one when purchasing small items.

  More energy-efficient products are tagged with an “Energy Star” label. Replacing home or office products with these updated ones will lower the energy bill.

   For a Christmas tree, check with the local waste department to see if there is an option to turn in and recycle the tree. Other options include using the trunks and branches as garden mulch. Tree needles can be used to make potpourri. A more creative use is transforming the tree into a bird feeder. Place the tree outside and scatter seeds and orange slices over the branches.

(0)

Alumni donate to district after 50th reunion

While preparing for their 50th reunion, members of the Story High School Class of 1960 made the decision to make a donation to the Manchester Essex High School.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  While preparing for their 50th reunion, members of the Story High School Class of 1960 made the decision to make a donation to the Manchester Essex High School.

  According to Middle School Administrative Assistant Margaret Driscoll, alumni Mary Mackie and Nancy Manning visited the school before their reunion. After Driscoll showed them around the building, they decided they were going to try to get their classmates to make a donation.

  “I offered them some ideas about the clubs and programs that we have in the high school, and they took it from there,” she said.

  Mackie said there was no specific goal for making the donation, and she and the reunion planning committee concluded that the staff and students should decide the use for it.

  Principal James Lee is responsible for handling the donation.

 “I think [the donation] is great. For them to sort of pass the hat around is a great thing. To use the donation, I’m going to wait until an idea or request comes through that could use the funding,” Lee said.

  According to Mackie, she and her classmates graduated from Story High School, and 25 out of the 32 graduates are living. Originally located on Bennett Street in Manchester, the high school eventually moved to where the Ed Field playground now stands. The class attended Priest School until fifth grade when Memorial School opened in 1952.

  Members of the class enjoyed seeing the new school’s facilities.

  “My husband, friends, and I loved the school with the setup for the middle school, auditorium, gym and cafeteria. I still have a hard time calling the library the ‘media center,’” Mackie said.

  The new building was not the only change Mackie observed.

  “I can’t get used to the football field on Lincoln Street. When I was growing up, that was Flatley’s pit, and we would play around the construction equipment and catch pollywogs in the pond,” she said.

  Mackie reflected on where the school district now stands.

  “Manchester, and now Essex, has always attracted excellent teachers, and working in a clean new building with a professional atmosphere will continue to do the same. They are both great communities to grow up in. There is parental and community support and a strong tradition of fine education. Hopefully current students will feel a similar affection for the educational system in 50 years as the Class of 1960 does now,” she said.

(0)

Is taking a gap year beneficial for students? -Con

Graduation is approaching, and seniors are faced with a multitude of decisions. The most significant is whether or not to attend college next year. Gap years are an option that provides benefits to some students, but in reality they are more detrimental than helpful.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Graduation is approaching, and seniors are faced with a multitude of decisions. The most significant is whether or not to attend college next year. Gap years are an option that provides benefits to some students, but in reality they are more detrimental than helpful.

  Over the years, high school students become machines that produce essays and PowerPoints while juggling sports and other extracurricular activities at the same time. Despite the varying levels of stress, students adapt to busy schedules and demanding course loads to develop daily routines.

  The organization and structure of high school is designed to teach students time management and how to achieve academic success. The purpose of developing these abilities is so that the student can be successful in college and future jobs. 

  A gap year would eliminate the need for such a structured routine, regardless if the student has a job or other commitment. Spending an entire year away from the rigid structure of high school would damage the established work ethic or make it completely worthless.

  Even if the person has a job, he or she will not have to go to school or do homework every day. With so much free time, it would be easy to change to a more flexible lifestyle.

  Adjusting to life free of homework and extracurricular activities would be simple, but forcing oneself to go back to the stressful lifestyle of a student after the gap year is over could be overwhelming. Going back might be so undesirable that the person decides he or she does not want to go back at all.

  Psychologically, the adjustment in taking a gap year might be harder than expected. Former classmates would disappear to their respective colleges, leaving those who chose to take a gap year behind.

  Some students decide to take a gap year because they want more time before they start college. If someone eventually wants to attend college, why wait? A person can only gain so much more experience by staying home and working. Travelling provides experience, but why not attend college and participate in a studying abroad program that is included in the tuition?

  College shapes students to be successful in their future careers. Taking time off before college makes the already challenging adjustment even harder in the end.

(0)

DECA Districts: Tips and advice for new student participants to gain advantage, ease competition

Districts are fast approaching, and for first-year DECA students, the first competition can be very intimidating. The anticipation is worse than actually competing, but certain tips will benefit performance.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Districts are fast approaching, and for first-year DECA students, the first competition can be very intimidating. The anticipation is worse than actually competing, but certain tips will benefit performance.

DECA competition is comprised of two areas: the written exam and the roleplay. At the District Competition students only need to take one exam and perform one roleplay.

  On the written exam, the questions can address a variety of topics concerning marketing, but most will be concentrated to the specific cluster. Random questions are difficult to prepare for, but researching general information pertaining to the industry will help.

  Taking the test is exhausting and maintaining concentration is difficult. Take a break, relax for a minute, and skip over tricky questions. Partners should read the questions to themselves and select their answer before conferring with each other.

  For the roleplay, students who seriously place themselves in their roles will be more successful.   Transforming oneself into an actual consultant or manager helps calm nerves and is more convincing for the judge.

  Single competitors must be conscious of the 10-minute time limit and work efficiently in addressing the performance indicators while understanding the role they are assuming. Pairs are expected to give a more thorough and detailed presentation with a 30-minute preparation time limit.

  Pairs should also note that they are being evaluated on the “Specific Performance Indicators,” not the general ones.

  When creating a response to a roleplay, a unique idea could make the difference between first or sixth place. The best ideas are not hunted for. Increased relaxation allows different ideas to flow while preparing.

In the final minutes of preparation, organize the papers in the order the performance indicators will be addressed. These need not be in the same order as on the roleplay, and the more fluid the presentation the easier it will be for the judge to evaluate it.

  Judges greatly appreciate enthusiasm from presenters. A relaxed and composed demeanor will contrast with other nervous competitors being evaluated by the same judge.

(0)

Harry Potter: Fans unite internationally over decade of fandom growth

Enclosed in the 4,175 total pages of the Harry Potter series is the essence of a revolutionary phenomenon that has greatly affected the lives of many around the world.

By Rebecca Lynch

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Enclosed in the 4,175 total pages of the Harry Potter series is the essence of a revolutionary phenomenon that has greatly affected the lives of many around the world.

  Author J.K. Rowling created Harry’s intricate world in her head 20 years ago, and the first book was published in 1997. Since then, a revolutionary fan base formed, growing up with the books and movies.

  From the moment Harry boarded the Hogwarts Express to the final words in the epilogue at that same train station, fans were swept into the amazing world that Rowling created.

  The books are not merely adventurous stories about a boy wizard. The series is full of complex plots, riveting characters, and a variety of universal themes.

  Death, love, friendship, adjustment, and other thematic issues that everyone experiences throughout his or her lives are addressed somewhere in the series. Readers observed Harry and his classmates grow up and deal with different situations. Even though the characters existed in an alternate world, the issues they faced were relatable.

  Being involved in the Harry Potter fandom during its development was a truly unique experience. Over the past 10 years, checking fansites daily for news and attending midnight book release parties and movie screenings became normal for fans.

  Despite growing older, readers never lost the magical feeling they felt when they read the first pages. Before the release of the last few books, fans of all ages vigorously theorized who was going to die and when Ron and Hermione would finally get together.

  The Internet became an essential tool for Harry Potter fans to share their observations and predictions. Paralleling the Internet’s growth in popularity, the online community for Harry Potter grew exponentially over the years.

  Fansites, podcasts, fanfiction, Wizard Rock bands, Harry Potter musical and general outlets for discussion combined to create a unified international community that continues to thrive three years after the final book was released.

  The online community helped make the Harry Potter fandom the largest fan group of the decade. As a result, the movies have so far grossed over five billion dollars worldwide, a theme park was created, and “Deathly Hallows” became the fastest-selling book in history.

  At the heart of this phenomenon is a masterfully crafted story that is able to capture anyone. In future generations children might learn before they even start the series that Snape killed Dumbledore and Harry lives in the end. While they will undoubtedly enjoy the series, they will never experience the same excitement as those who drooled at a new trailer and eagerly counted down the days until the next book release. That excitement is reserved for the current generations, and the time we spent with Harry, Ron and Hermione will be remain with us for the rest of our lives.

(0)