Q&A with Faye Eades, creator of this Sunday’s Senior Dinner Dance

By Aurora Robinson

Bagpiper: What is it that you are doing with Senior Dinner Dance?

Faye Eades: “Last year I started the Senior Dinner Dance. It was something that I had gone to Dr. Willman about at the beginning of last year. There were some changes to the Senior Week and they were no longer able to do the full Senior Week. So they were switching it to just one day, it was senior lunch. And I was just looking for a different opportunity for the students to have to socialize and have a fun time together. So I presented this idea to Dr. Willman last year and with it being the school’s 50th anniversary and having changes to Senior Week he thought this would be a good new addition to start last year. We had a good turnout. The students really enjoyed themselves. Therefore, he said that we could have it again this year and hopefully in future years to come. This seems to be something that the seniors have enjoyed and have an interest in attending.”

BP: So, you started Senior Dinner Dance?

FE: “I got the idea because when I was in high school, my high school had a senior dinner dance and it was something we enjoyed. So I presented that idea to Dr. Willman. Yes, you could say I started it, but Dr. Willman is the one who gave the approval to have the event.”

BP: In short, what are the details for the Senior Dinner Dance? What will happen that evening?

FE: “It is held at the Olmsted. It is in Louisville. It will be this Sunday evening, Feb. 17th from 6 to 10 p.m. Students will arrive and there will be a photographer there to take pictures. There will be about a 30-minute time frame for them to have just small appetizers and fruit and cheese and then to grab a drink. And then they will be seated and served dinner. After the dinner course then there will also be a dessert served. After that is done, what we did last year is we took a group picture of all the seniors that were in attendance, all of them together. Then after all of that was done, the DJ started playing-DJ Tank is his name. The students had a great time and most of them didn’t leave the dance floor until the night was over.”

BP: What would you say is the most exciting part about Senior Dinner Dance?

FE: “I think the students enjoy coming because I think it is enjoyable for them to be together as a class. Kind of, really, one of the first times they are together or have the opportunity to be together and enjoy a social event together. They do prom together, but that’s the juniors and the seniors. This event is not as formal as the prom. The attire is less formal. It’s just a nice Sunday dress. The guys dress in nice shirts and slacks, most of them wear ties, but it is not to the caliber of having to get all fixed up like prom. With dinner being served at the dance, it also takes away from the element of having to make reservations for dinner and make sure you can get a ride to prom on time. I think it is just a great opportunity for the students to be together, and get a little bit dressed up, but not too formal and enjoy having fun together for the evening.”

BP: Anything to add?

FE: “I just want to encourage the younger students, the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, to talk to the seniors after the event and hear how much they enjoy it and look forward to the event. It is just a great opportunity for students, like I have said, to have this night together and I hope that it is a tradition that the students continue to embrace and want to have for years to come.”

Discovering Irving Berlin’s Path to Blue Skies

By Hannah Tarr

Christmas Day, 1980. A group of carolers hark outside a house, singing the same song they have been singing at this same house for 26 years: “White Christmas.” But inside, the sole resident is having none of it. “They don’t understand the gift I’ve given them!” he cries. To understand this gift, we must first understand the old man: he is Irving Berlin, composer of White Christmas. In his performance as Berlin, Hershey Felder leads the audience to understand Berlin with healthy mix of comedy and respect.

The performance, playing now at Actor’s Theatre, is a one-man show. Felder, with a raise of his voice and a change in his body language, convincingly becomes Berlin for an uninterrupted hour and a half. Felder runs through the beats of Berlin’s life and how each inspired his music: his childhood in Imperial Russia, his family’s immigration to America, his father’s love for singing and the way that inspired him to become a singing waiter and eventually compose his own music. Felder performs all of Berlin’s standards over the course of the show at the grand piano at center stage. Unlike Berlin, who could only play in the key of F-sharp, Felder is an accomplished musician, and the musical segments are the highlight of the show.

Felder’s portrayal of Berlin’s life flows well from happy points to sad points. He marries Dorothy Goetz, and it seems like life is going to be blue skies forever. But five months after they return from their honeymoon, Goetz dies from typhoid. Berlin is depressed about this for a long time, but eventually is coaxed by Goetz’s brother into writing about it, and this becomes his first hit ballad. It resonates with people around the globe. But one way or another, life moves on, and soon enough Felder is showing us Berlin’s up-tempo songs again and smiling.

The set was a living room dressed for Christmastime, with a piano in the center, a wheelchair on one side to symbolize Berlin as an old man, and an armchair on the other to symbolize Berlin’s second wife, Ellin Mackay. This unit set allowed the focus to always be on Felder’s portrayal, without any distractions for gimmicks. The lights changed color with the mood- red at high moments in Berlin’s life, blue at the low. Area lights came up and dimmed smoothly as Felder walked across the stage, to appropriately keep him illuminated at all times. The set and lighting were enhanced effectively by projections. A picture frame on the back wall above the mantle was often used to show historical photographs of Berlin and his family, or video clips of Fred Astaire performing Berlin’s music in a moving picture. All the walls of the living room were sometimes used for atmospheric projections– the projected wallpaper would fade away, and be replaced by animations of Berlin’s home village burning down, or of his family’s tenement apartment in New York. The projections were soft enough that the light level never fluctuated, but still very easily visible.

By the end of the show, Felder has brought us to empathize with and understand Berlin. We know “God Bless America” is from an immigrant’s point of view, thanking the country for all of the opportunities it has given him. We know “White Christmas” is about how Christmas, which used to be his wife’s favorite holiday, was ruined for them when their infant son passed away Christmas morning. We know he grew bitter as an old man as young people like Elvis Presley took over the musical spotlight, and the world began to forget what Berlin’s music had been worth. But we know that in spite of all of this, he has reasons to count his blessings instead of sheep at night, and maybe Felder’s portrayal of this icon who was a real human will lead the audience to start doing that, too.

Felder began performing as Berlin on Sept. 5 of last year in New York. He is now taking the show around the country, and he is performing it at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville until Feb. 17.

Classes give small schools a chance to win sectionals

By J.D. McKay

On Saturday, Carmel won the girls’ swimming state championship, which makes sense. They are the biggest school in the state by almost 800 students. However, this is their 33rd straight year winning the swimming state championship. Only three other schools in Indiana scored that have fewer than 1000 students: Madison, Corydon, and International. These schools did not really have a chance against Carmel, a school at least seven times their size.

This is not the only sport that this happened to, and Carmel is not the only school benefitting. Our tennis team has won 34 straight sectional championships. Being that successful for that long is impressive, but the competition can tarnish that streak. Our sectional currently has North Harrison, Salem, Eastern (Pekin), and Crawford County.

The way to fix this is to add classes. Classes mean that teams play other teams in sectionals that are similarly-sized schools. Football, basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, and soccer all have classes and also are not consistently winning sectional championships like the non-classed sports. That would allow for some smaller schools like Corydon or Madison to be successful and win state championships in sports like swimming instead of just going in expecting to lose to Carmel by 400 points.

The main problem with this solution is what to do with individual state champions. For example, having an individual state champion in the 500-freestyle or in singles tennis. However, I do not think this would lead to a problem. There could just be a state champion by class. This could lead to more all-state athletes because top 8 in an individual sport is all-state, but this is not really a problem, either. Football, for example, has all-state athletes by class, so other sports should be able to do this as well.

For example, Jeffersonville had not won a sectional championship in wrestling from 2011 until 2018, because there was a high level of competition in the sectional. But after losing to New Albany or FC for six straight years, we were dropped from their sectional. Now their main competitors are two teams who are 3A in football while they are 6A. These schools that are a third of the size of Jeff often do not really have a chance against the big school.

It is time to give the small schools a chance to win sectionals in every sport.

 

Kid A inspires listeners almost 20 years after release

By Daniel Anderson

The decade, century, and millennium were all heading to an anticipated closing point. Around the same time, a certain alt-rock band living near Oxford University was becoming increasingly exhausted with their own work. For Radiohead, days were long and tumultuous.

Touring over a year for their groundbreaking third project OK Computer did not exactly help with that, either. This led to lead singer Thom Yorke suffering a near-mental breakdown by the time the tour was over.

But the band knew, much like everyone else, that a year passing is a time for change. And with a once-in-a-lifetime experience such as the beginning of the 21st century, Radiohead knew that their britpop sound of the 90s just could not last. It was time to take a different approach.

The turn of the century had passed, and the effects that britpop bands like Oasis and Blur on music as a whole were fading rapidly. Enter a genre on the rise that would have untold amounts of influence on both Radiohead’s next project and the soundscape of the 21st century itself: electronica. This was the place where Yorke knew to start.

It took quite a bit of effort for him to convince his fellow band members Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway, Ed O’Brien, and his producer, Nigel Godrich, of his new vision. But alas, in the midst of autumn in the year 2000, the fourth project of Radiohead’s discography had been unveiled: Kid A.

By this time, Radiohead had learned their lesson about aging in music. So the band made the bold decision of stripping Jonny of his guitar and took the next step into the ice-cold sound that OK Computer had started.

Take the opening track “Everything In Its Right Place” for example. Using only the accompaniment of an electric piano and eerie distortion effects on both the background and Yorke’s signature, nasly vocals ensures the listener of what exactly they are in for.

Even more unsettling is the constant repetition of the track’s title in a relatively monotone fashion. It gives off an immediate sense of Orwellian control, like it is merely an automated response.

Almost every track on this album has a level of production which gives off a looming sense of powerlessness. Track #5, “Treefingers,” is an ambient instrumental track which only uses heavily processed samples of Ed O’ Brien’s guitar to give an ominous yet sedating ambience. It is like an out-of-body experience made sound.

The disjointed transition between this track and the track proceeding it, “Optimistic,” gives an effective wake-up call effect to the listener.

The experimental element of the album is undoubtedly what kept critics and fans of Radiohead’s previous discography divided for some time, but this album does not entirely reside in the electronics department. Track #3, “The National Anthem,” takes both a Talking Heads and jazz-inspired route which includes an instrumental overload near the end, like the sound of someone having a panic attack being translated into a horn section.

Despite this, there are parts in the album that seem to reminisce the melancholic instrumentations that their previous work had hailed. In fact, track #4, “How to Disappear Completely,” could be very well fit on previous efforts such as “The Bends.” It is a seamless contrast opposed to the rambunctious nature of the track prior.

Of course, moments like those could only keep the spotlight on for so long as the band still maintained focus on harnessing their new sound.

Track #8, “Idioteque,” turns the dial up on intensity. It combines an Aphex Twin-esque IDM aesthetic alongside lyrics that seem to convey an apocalyptic situation or a world in panic, “Ice age coming/Ice age coming/ Throw it in the fire/Throw it in the fire.” All of this occurs while still strangely having a pseudo-beat set against it, like a Danse Macabre for the modern age.

The particular 9th track, “Morning Bell” contains varied instrumentation such as the ambient synths similar to that of “Treefingers” mixes in a high-pitched guitar solo,, which oddly doesn’t feel too out of place. This is accompanied with lyrics which give such strange instrumentals the feeling of being in a daze, “Clothes are all over the furniture/Now I might as well/I might as well/Sleepy jack the fire drill/Run around around around around around.”

It is unusual to think that a project like this would not cap off with a track that cultivate so many prior elements of the album such as “Morning Bell.” Rather, the listener is treated to a much more dreary closer on track #10, “Motion Picture Soundtrack.”

At this point, the band has unexpectedly ditched the electronics, as if they were finally released from the technological imprisonment that the album consistently alludes to. Only two instruments are used on this song: a confused yet elegant synth harp section, and a pedal organ. Both of these, combined with Yorke’s most human-esque vocals on the album, leave off on a note of sorrow and ambiguity.

In essence, “Kid A” is a project that, while still having a tremendous influence on artists today (Danny Brown’s “Old” for example), is not really meant for every audience. As clean and haunting as the album sounds, the constant distortion can prove to be difficult to listen to for the impatient. Also, the pretentious reputation that Radiohead has earned among critics and listeners throughout the years because of albums like these does not really help much either.

For as bold of a move as this was for the time, there are certainly moments scattered throughout this album that have not aged so pristinely. The title track, for example, will probably not be seen as the most cutting-edge thing the band has put out. But that is a rather minor fault in comparison with the rest of this absolute monolith.

As for those who do enjoy a more icy and sound, they’ve probably already listened to it more than once. Saying that “Kid A” is a musical gold mine in the 21st century would be a severe understatement.

Verdict

Instrumentals: A-
Production: A+
Vocals/Lyrics: A
Variety: A
Overall Grade: A+

Favorite Track: Idioteque

Least Favorite Track: none