Category Archives: Features

Get Into The Holiday Spirit With The Arts: Accidentals Light Up #OurNA This Saturday

By Hannah Tarr

With Thanksgiving over, it is the most wonderful time of the year: the winter holidays. FC’s arts department is getting involved this year in raising holiday cheer, and this story is the first in a series previewing those events.

In past decades, it has become a tradition for cities to host a public event the night they turn on their holiday lights around the city. Crowds gather in a park to enjoy live holiday entertainment, and children jump and cheer at the season’s first sighting of Santa Claus. The same is true at New Albany’s annual event, Light Up #OurNA. Light Up #OurNA is special to FC not only because it is the most local Light Up event, closer than Light Up Louisville or Light Up Jeffersonville, but because some of the featured entertainment is FC’s own Accidentals choir.

“There are several reasons people should go Light Up New Albany, but the most important reason to go is to get involved and support your community. Also, it will be a ton of fun,” said junior Nick Landrum. “The program overall is filled with a lot of quality entertainment.”

Senior Haley Sieg, a self-proclaimed lover of anything involving music, hopes people will be drawn to the program by the variety and talent of music groups performing. She also notes the convenience of the event’s location: Bicentennial Park, where Light Up #OurNA is held, is on the corner of Spring Street and Pearl Street in the heart of downtown New Albany, so Sieg recommends getting some holiday shopping done and then coming to check it out.

Whatever the reason for attending, audiences are in store for a treat. “The Accidentals have been putting a lot of time and effort into this set to bring top notch entertainment to the people in attendance for this show,” said Landrum.

The 15 member a capella choir performed at the event last year, and it was such a success that the organizers invited them back. They have been rehearsing Monday afternoons to prepare for the big night– plus a three hour rehearsal last Saturday, which was like a pajama party. The Accidentals have four songs in their repertoire to perform and are excited to show them off.

“We’ve been spending a whole lot of time on what we’re doing, and I personally think that our songs are really good,” said junior Maddie Hankins. “We have some classics, like ‘Carol of the Bells,’ but then we also have modern bops like ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,’ and ‘Up on the Housetop,’ the Pentatonix version. And I really think that it has something that everyone’s going to like.”

The performance is rounded out by the addition of sleigh bells and even choreography. Landrum says that all of this character really rounds out the performance.

“What I have personally learned from my preparations for this event is that in order to get the highest amount of energy from the audience, I really needed to get some movement in the pieces of music,” he said. “While it is entertaining to watch an ensemble of singers stand around and beautifully sing their songs, it is much more enjoyable when that group is moving to the music.”

While it is a lot of fun, it also requires a lot of skill and concentration from the performers. There is no conductor in front of the group while they are performing. And there are very few people on any given part, with “Up on the Housetop” even featuring solos from Hankins, Sieg, and other members of the choir.

“I’ve learned how to be independent,” said Hankins. “There’s only like 15 people, there’s only three second sopranos. Sometimes, I’m the only person singing a certain part. It’s that way for most of the people in the choir too, you have to hold your own very very well and be able to be confident.”

The unique style of the Accidentals’ music presents a learning opportunity for all of its members. This is Sieg’s first year in the choir, and it is unlike her previous experiences in other choirs at FC.

“I’ve learned a lot just about this more jazz/ pop style of singing,” said Sieg. “Additionally, I sing as a tenor in this choir, which uses a whole different part of my range than I am typically used to.”

The skill of the Accidentals combined with the beauty of the Light Up #OurNA experience makes for a truly memorable night. Consider bracing the cold this Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6:00 p.m. and come out to Bicentennial Park to spread some holiday warmth.

Q&A with Harvest Homecoming booth workers

By Annalise Bassett

Connie Chenault, member of The Pilot Club

What is it like to sell at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “It’s wonderful, fun, and exciting to see all the people that come back year after year.”

Why do you choose to come to Harvest Homecoming for your business?

  • “It is the fundraiser for our (the Pilot Club’s) Safety Town, and [out of] all the other fundraisers for the Pilot Club International, this is our biggest fundraiser of the year.”

What kind of things do you sell?

  • “We sell pumpkin ice cream and cookies and cream ice cream only, and we’ve been doing it for 48 years.”

What is your favorite part of selling at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “Just the renewal, seeing friends come back year after year.”

Is there anything else my readers need to know?

  • “The kids look forward to Safety Town each year, and they know that this booth represents the funding for that for them, and I think that’s it for Harvest, and we like to keep the tradition going.”


Michele Finn, owner of Jubilee Essential Oils

What is it like to sell at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “It’s a lot of fun! You get to educate people, you get to share stories with people about the products you have and how they’ve used it and what it’s done for them, so there’s a lot of bonding with the community. It’s awesome.”

Why do you choose to come to Harvest Homecoming for your business?

  • “It’s a very popular place, there’s a lot of traffic, and there’s a lot of local families that I know. I’ve probably had about 500 hugs this weekend. So it’s all the added bonuses, being part of the community, having a lot of people that you get to reach out to and be able to talk to.”

What kind of things do you sell?

  • “I have essential oils from all over the world, and I also have pure Kentucky hemp oil.”

What is your favorite part of selling at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “Seeing everybody that I know. Seeing people who I haven’t seen for a long time, and getting to catch up, and also educating people about the hemp CBD products and how they do not compare to some of the products that might be sold on the streets for other purposes.”

Is there anything else my readers need to know?

  • “Plant medicine is amazing.”


Rachel Reich-Squillante, owner of The Studio Belly Dance and More

What is it like to sell at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “Fun, exhilarating, exciting, sweet. I love the interaction with people, just finding out their stories, and just the connections that you make.”
The Studio 1
Owner Rachel Reich-Squillante talks to a customer about the products she has to offer at her Harvest Homecoming Booth. Photo by Annalise Bassett.

Why did you choose to come to Harvest Homecoming for your business?

  • “My storefront is right [on] one of the main streets of Harvest Homecoming booths, and it brings in more customers in a weekend than in six months of being in my building.”

What kind of things do you sell?

  • “Bling-bling (what some customers refer to her jewelry as), jewelry. We’re expanding a little bit now from just belly dance attire to bring in some work out [and] street clothing, like leggings and sweaters, and just little trinkets and gifts and jewelry. They call [my booth] the ‘bling bling booth.’”

What is your favorite part of selling at Harvest Homecoming?

  • “Going back to the first question, the connections that I make, knowing the community a little bit better, people coming to say hello to me, little things like that. Like, this year, it really touches my heart, warms my heart, when people come in and [they’re] like, ‘I come here every year to see what piece of jewelry I’m gonna get from you because you have the most pretty jewelry!’ so you know, just connections. People connections.”

Sept. 14 issue: Student spotlight