Tag Archives: A&E

Handbell students take on New York City

Story by Destiny Love

A chorus of handbells ring through Central Park as the bustling sounds of the city are temporarily ignored for the enjoyment of the holiday music.

“This trip is going to be exciting, but also crazy. We have packed a lot of stuff in the span of three days for our multiple performances,” said senior Aaron Seay. 

All of the arts programs have their own trips that they take for performances. However, this trip for the handbells holds many new experiences for the group.

“We will leave Thursday, Thanksgiving morning early. We will arrive in New York City Thursday afternoon. On Friday we will be performing at Radio City Music Hall as a pre-show to the Radio City Rockettes,” said choir and handbells director Angela Hampton. 

Fifteen students will be attending the NYC trip with Hampton and assistant director Briston Hatchell for their performance. Many of the students have been in handbells for several years, but this performance could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I am most excited about getting to experience NYC for the first time with a great group of friends and playing with so many ringers,” said senior Delaney Agnew. “We are performing a bunch of the common Christmas songs like ‘Joy to the World,’ ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’ ‘Deck the Halls,’ and ‘Jingle Bells.’

The trip to New York City will have many other new opportunities for the young musicians. 

“It will be a really great experience for us. Not only for being able to play there, but we will be playing with a lot of ringers from the New York area and beyond. We will also be conducted by one of our favorite conductors for handbells: Kevin McChesney, so the kids are really excited to meet him and play under his direction,” said Hampton.

A lot will be going on this Thanksgiving weekend in New York City, but the handbells group is ready to take on this new performance opportunity.

“The handbells have never gone to New York before. We travel every other year. Being there Thanksgiving weekend, that is a really big time in NYC with the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the shopping and just being New York. This is a really different opportunity,” said Hampton. 

This will not be the first time a music group from FC have performed in New York City, but it is another to add to the books with more planned in the future. 

“It is every musician’s dream to either say they have played in Radio City or Carnegie Hall,” said Hampton. “I think it is something they will be able to look on later in their life and say ‘I got to do that.’”

Following Highlander Band: Sun sets on SynchroniCITY at Bands of America Grand Nationals

Photo by Tori Ables

Story by Gracie Vanover

Last weekend was the biggest marching band competition in the nation, but the Highlander band did not shy away from chasing the gold. Bands of America [BOA] Grand Nationals hosted 91 bands this weekend before narrowing it down to 38 and then to 12. 

Overall the Highlander band placed 46 out of 91 and 5th in their class, which included bands like Columbus North High School. This was the first time in the band’s history attending BOA Grand Nationals. Knowing how well they scored, the band is hopeful for their future in Grand Nationals. 

“It was a really cool experience to be the first group to represent our band at a national level,” said sophomore trumpet player Reece Ausmus. “I’m glad we got the experience to go and hopefully over the next few years we will move up in the ranks.”

With this being the band’s last performance they felt confident in their show and abilities. 

“I felt great. I was just having fun and felt super confident,” said freshman bari sax player Kimmy Fraley. 

For the seniors this was their last run of the show, especially in a competing atmosphere.

“I really enjoyed the competition and it was fun to be able to compete on the national stage. With it being the largest competition in the nation it makes you look at competing differently, like how we’re able to say that we’re the 46th best marching band in the country is a pretty nice feeling,” said senior trumpet player Eli Moody. “It was a really fun way to end the season and I’m glad we took the opportunity to go to this competition.”

While the season may be at its end, band is only just starting. This weekend marks the start of pep band for both boys’ and girls’ basketball games. The band also has many concerts throughout the year so be sure to check their website for the dates. 

Highlander band website: www.floydcentralband.org

 

A Return to the Crimson King’s Court

By Daniel Anderson

It was supposed to be a day of remembrance, of mourning. I suppose it is true what they say: with death comes new life.

On July 5, 1969, more than 500,000 attendees gathered at London’s Hyde Park to see The Rolling Stones play live after a two-year concert hiatus, and only two days after guitarist Brian Jones had fallen. What preceded their act, however, was something that almost no one had anticipated.

Opening for them was a band that the majority of the audience had never heard of up until that point; they had not even released a single record. As they viscerally and furiously play on, there is applause for sure, yet most attendees had no idea of what to make of them.

And to think, just months earlier, that same band had merely been playing for local pubs.

All of it started with just three young men: Micheal and Peter Giles and Robert Fripp, the latter of which was the brains of the operation. Together, these three brought together a myriad of musical influences ranging from blues, contemporary pop and jazz.

This incarnation was short-lived as Peter soon bailed, leaving Michael and Fripp with guitar and drumsticks in hand, but no direction to take.

That is, until they were lent a few hands from lyricist Peter Sinfield, vocalist and bassist Greg Lake, and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald.

On January 13 1969, the group held their first rehearsal, and thus was born King Crimson.

The band’s name, coined by Sinfield, was not thought of as an allusion to Beezelbub or any demonic figure for that matter, but rather as a term used to describe tyrannical rulers or monarchs. As he jokingly put it, “Anything was better than Giles, Giles, and Fripp. King Crimson had arrogance to it.”

Regardless of however you interpret it, the name matches the sound of the band down to a tee. Simply put, nothing else sounded quite like them.

Now, that is not to say there weren’t other artists who played and in a similar vein. Contemporaries such as Yes, Soft Machine and Jethro Tull had all previously began indulging in fusion and experimentation of psychedelic rock, blues, jazz and classical elements and theory to form what we now know as progressive rock.

But there was an essence that made King Crimson truly emerge from the rest of the pack. One key element lies in the angst of their music. The band had a tendency to play far more aggressively and unpredictably in comparison to their peers.

This was especially the case for their live performances, as Fripp and company could go from deafeningly loud and abrasive in one minute, to subdued and atmospheric in another. Polarized, often quiet audiences were commonplace throughout the first few months of their careers— until that fateful day in Hyde Park.

With a sudden twist of fate, King Crimson almost immediately became hot property. Soon enough, they were signed to both Island and Atlantic, two of the biggest labels in the entire music industry, for U.K and American distribution respectively.

And with their new deal, King Crimson were primed and ready to release what they already had concocted earlier that year. On October 10th, 1969, the band’s full-length debut was unveiled: In the Court of the Crimson King.

Stiff is not enough of a word to describe the competition that this album faced, as it was a time directly in between the releases of both the Beatles’ and Led Zeppelin’s seminal records Abbey Road and Led Zeppelin II. Despite being at the crossroads of music history, the album sold quite well for a debut, charting at No. 5 on the U.K. Albums Chart and No. 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

It should be worth noting that it was met with mixed critical reception upon release. Looking back, I guess that would be a somewhat fitting entrance for King Crimson. When compared to most records popular at that time, In the Court of the Crimson King sticks out like a sore thumb, both in sound and attitude. 

That immediately becomes apparent with the iconic opening track “21st Century Schizoid Man” (which, to me, still remains one of the coolest song titles ever). After an eerie, wind-swept intro, the listener is met with a torrent of pummeling, distorted guitars, drums and ascending saxophone leads. Around the two-minute mark, the instrumental switches to a fast-paced section of sporadic guitar solos and manic drum fills before it eventually returns to the previous section.

Meanwhile, Lake viciously belts out lyrics of a mad, dystopian world, “Blood rack, barbed wire / Politician’s funeral pyre / Innocents raped with napalm fire / Twenty-first century schizoid man.”

The pessimistic nature of both the lyrics and instrumentals are quite a blatant contrast to anything “peace-and-love” related in psychedelic music at the time. So much so that this track is often referred to as an early example metal music (mind you, artists like Black Sabbath and Budgie had not yet burst onto the scene at that time).

However, the album’s nature soon performs a 180° spin with the following track, “I Talk to the Wind.” As previously stated, the band knew how to transition sonically from one area to another, and this track exemplifies that flawlessly. Immediately following the mayhem of the track prior, we are then thrust into a serene environment with McDonald serenading listeners with his masterful flute skills.

Instead of a menacing snarl glazed with distorted post-effects, Lake greets our ears with a soft-spoken and far more melodic voice as the lush instrumentals compliment him in the mix.

It should be worth noting that, despite how many pretty bells and whistles that are presented (such as McDonald’s astounding flute solos), Sinfield’s lyricism still convey the essence of a fearful world. Here, they seem to portray a man who is questioning his faith in the world around him, “I’m on the outside, looking inside / What do I see? / Much confusion, disillusion / All around me.”

With this in mind, an elephant in the room remains: the reason for such lyrical and sonic pessimism. Thankfully, considering the time in which this record was released, context becomes easy to piece together. The year 1969 was in the midst of a tumultuous era for global affairs— most notably the height of the Cold War and the Vietnam Campaign.

It would only make sense for a group such as King Crimson to reflect the ever-present darkness in the world around them. And that darkness is unfurled in all its glory with the third track “Epitaph.”

Following a brief drumroll emerging from the fade of the previous track, “Epitaph” emerges with an awe-inspiring soundscape of grandiose, apical proportions. All throughout, there are acoustic guitars (both gently picked and monstrously strummed), varying drum fills and woodwinds accompany Lake’s desperate vocals and Sinfield’s apocalyptic lyrics. Each of these elements are as doom-laden as the other, “When every man is torn apart / With nightmares and with dreams / Will no one lay the laurel wreath / When silence drowns the screams?”

But most important of all, this track heavily implements use of a mellotron: a device which would come to define not only this band, but most of the prog rock genre in general.

Oftentimes cited as a precursor to the modern synthesizer, this key instrument, when played, will give off sounds akin to orchestral samples. This would allow songs with its inclusion to have an almost symphonic appearance.

During production of this album, McDonald spent much of his time overdubbing layers upon layers of mellotron recordings, so its presence would always be unmistakable. His efforts become front-and-center on “Epitaph” as the mellotron swallows the mix and elevates the track to cataclysmic levels, especially during the crescendo towards the last minute-and-a-half. 

Many have tried to emulate the feeling of the end of days that this track presents, some have even come remarkably close (namely artists like Sunn O))) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor). Still, I find that, for lack of a better description, the bleak and paranoid atmosphere achieved in this song has yet to be replicated.

But alas, we then recede once more to a softer place with the proceeding track “Moonchild.” Easily the quietest, most reserved song in the tracklist, Giles’ percussion (mostly cymbals) takes up most of the space in the mix as McDonald’s woodwinds and mellotron eerily linger in the background. Meanwhile, Lake gently sings the most abstract lyrics on the album; they wonderfully compliment the track’s tone of isolation “Sailing on the wind in a milk-white gown / Dropping circle stones on a sundial / Playing hide-and-seek with the ghosts of dawn / Waiting for a smile from a sun child.”

This goes on for about two minutes before the song transitions into a bizarre, 10-minute free improv session. The band members seemingly take turns, either one after the other or occasionally contrasting, playing whatever instrument they have in hand without any specific time signature or meter. Perhaps it is filler, but that is something I can easily overlook, as this band was known for doing these sorts of things— both in-studio and in live settings.

Once the track abruptly ends, we at last arrive at the iconic closer: the title track. King Crimson truly pulls out all the stops here, combining just about every element that made all the previous tracks so memorable. You name it, this song has it: unbelievable drum fills from Giles, McDonald’s majestic flute soloing and overpowering mellotron, Fripp’s acoustic guitar appearing gargantuan in the mix, and of course, Lake’s imposing vocals and bass work.

The lyrics, while surreal once more, point in a far more sinister direction, reminiscent of the dystopian themes inspired by the backdrop of Vietnam, “The yellow jester does not play, but gently pulls the strings / And smiles as the puppets dance in the court of the crimson king.”

Once the track seemingly ends around the seven-minute mark, McDonald mysteriously and subtly starts playing his flute and mellotron once more. All of the sudden, the drums come back and we are met with a grand instrumental reprise of the chorus melody. The mellotron here is just as powerful as it was on “Epitaph” as each member gives it their all, especially Giles as he mercilessly pounds the drum heads to a pulp. I could not ask for a better curtaincall if I tried.

Thus concludes an undisputed musical epic, all within a timespan under 50 minutes.

What a shame that these men did not follow through with any projects together. After disputes revolving around the band’s creative direction, the members of King Crimson split up. Ever since then, this band has gone through a plethora of lineup changes; Fripp has remained the only constant member.

On the other hand, the legacy left behind by this group is practically immortal by now. Several of its members go on to have successful careers (most notably Greg Lake taking part in fellow seminal prog rock act Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Ian McDonald in Foreigner) but the amount of influence that this record alone holds on future acts is absolutely staggering.

King Crimson have gone on to inspire artists in a vast array of genres. From later prog acts like Rush, Tool and Porcupine Tree, to modern psychedelia like The Flaming Lips, punk groups like Bad Religion (the band’s own record label, Epitaph, is named after the song of the same title), to metal, as previously mentioned (especially bands like Mastodon, Voivod, Yob, Opeth, Neurosis, etc.), and even genres as far reaching as noise (namely Merzbow).

Not only that, but this band and record have somehow managed to find ways of staying relevant outside the music realm. Several memes have been and are still being made across the internet in light of King Crimson. Perhaps the most popular of all is a niche trend called “getting Fripp’d” where Youtube users upload videos containing audio clips and samples from King Crimson’s discography (especially from In the Court of the Crimson King), only for others to comment on how long it takes before Fripp’s label takes the video down.

Considering how poignant the rigorous and colorful compositions and lyrical themes of a fearful world still remain, I suppose all of this should not be very surprising. But once I look back and compare this album to whatever else was hip at the time, I can’t help but sit back and smile at how long it has stayed fresh.  

The fact that an album now over half a century old can still be embraced by far younger generations should serve as a testament to the longevity of this band and album. Not even fine wine ages that well.

Here’s to another 50 years of sonic magnificence, and counting.

Link to Album: https://open.spotify.com/album/5wec5BciMpDMzlEFpYeHse?si=KWbFGSaISCO1FofZjV1ZVA

Link to Hyde Park Concert:

https://youtu.be/MM_G0IRLEx4

Tracklist

  1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
  2. I Talk to the Wind
  3. Epitaph
  4. Moonchild
  5. The Court of the Crimson King

Waterparks’ new album Fandom needs more spotlight

By Morgan Walker

The Texan band Waterparks is one of the most underrated bands. Their music is so unique, but so are the members of the band. The band was created in 2011 by Awsten Knight and previous member Owen Marvin. Then later Gage Matthieu joined the band as well. Both Marvin and Matthieu ended up leaving a year later, and guitarist Geoff Wigington and drummer Otto Wood joined. 

According to a Rock Sound interview with Wood he said he met Knight when he was trying out for his old band. He remembers that his first perception of him was that he was really weird. He described Knight wearing a bathing suit and having one leg completely shaved and other having a natural hair length. 

The members, Knight, Wigington, and Wood are all really busy with their own lives outside of the band. Knight does a podcast with his best friend and author Travis Riddle. Wigington is a boyfriend and a father. Wood is more private with his life than the other members and even stays away from social media.

Lead singer Knight namedrops himself in multiple tracks, such as “Turbulent.” Waterparks released their third album on Oct. 11 titled Fandom after their previous albums Double Dare and Entertainment.

The self proclaimed “God’s Favorite Boy Band” released several tracks before the album came out, including, “Turbulent,” “Dream Boy,” and more.

Music videos also came out with the tracks “Dream Boy,” “Watch What Happens Next,” and “ High Definition,” and later after the albums release a video came out for the track “Easy to Hate.” 

The “Easy the Hate” music video is similar to their previous music video “Gloom Boys” from their previous album Double Dare. They both follow a fan of Waterparks. “Gloom Boys” is about a fan that wants to be in the band and “Easy to Hate” is about the fan getting terrorized by the band and he hallucinates that the band is appearing and playing the song. It is nice to see something older fans can get a fresh take on a song they already love.  This concept goes really well with the lyrics, “It’s too easy to hate you, and hard to love. It’s too easy to hate you, when was it not?” Because the life of a fan is hard and sometimes, the fan can not help but hate their favorite band because they are so amazing.

Fans fell in love with the new sound and they could not wait to hear the full album. The sound of this album has heavy instrumentals, but it is used in a distinctive way that is not heard often. It is similar to Billie Eilish’s music in some ways with the unusual sounds and talking in the music, and that is something Eilish does often. The track “Group Chat” is the members introducing themselves by just talking. This is similar to Eilish’s track “!!!!!!!” of her album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” where she introduces the album just by talking.

Like Eilish, the lyrics are also really eccentric and fun. Many of them humorous in nature. A line in “Dream Boy” really encapsulates this: “Do you believe in love? Oh, and is it because of me? Yeah’ if it’s up to me.” The clean version of the track “Turbulent” replaces many cuss words with lyrics that make the song hilarious. They change one lyric to “I’d unhug you if I could.” This humor is something more musicians should want to achieve with their music. 

Fandom was meant to played over and over again. The last track “I Felt Younger When We Met” perfectly transitions to the first track “Cherry Red.” This transition also really encapsulates who the band really is. Waterparks is so in touch with what fans want and what they do. They knew fans would listen to this album on repeat so they made it so the tracks transition between each other.

Waterparks needs more love from everyone. Their music is great and has amazing lyrics. The band is really confident with their music, because of the authenticity of it. They always tell people to stream Fandom and that is something everyone should do because these three talented people deserve more credit for their incredible music.

Tracklist:

  1. Cherry Red
  2. Watch What Happens Next
  3. Dream Boy
  4. Easy To Hate
  5. High Definition
  6. Telephone
  7. Group Chat
  8. Turbulent
  9. Never Bloom Again
  10. War Crimes
  11. [Reboot]
  12. Worst
  13. Zone Out

FC Theater rolls perfectly into Guys and Dolls

Photo by Presley Vanover

Story by Gracie Vanover

As the lights dim sophomore Syd Landrum slips out from behind the curtain in a magnificent blue dress. As she gracefully strolls down the stairs the other Hotbox Girls follow behind. 

FC Theater opened their run of Guys and Dolls on Nov. 8 and are running the show through Nov. 17. This classic theatre production is a hit for audiences of all ages with fun musical numbers and a great storyline. 

Our story takes place in New York with streets full of gamblers and their ever-so-lovely dolls. The number one thing on most these gamblers minds however is not their beautiful dolls. It is their favorite game: craps. 

Nathan Detroit, played by freshman Haakan Packwood, is out to have his craps game but is low on funds. He and his pals decide to bet the notorious Sky Masterson, played by senior Nick Landrum, that he cannot take the missionary Sarah Brown, played by Grace Platt, to Havana. Sky gratefully accepts the deal and the race is on. 

One of the best scenes in this production is the scene including the number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Junior Tre Gaines brings the character of Nicely Nicely Johnson to life in this scene with his charisma. Along with the vocals of Gaines, the scene is full of color from the array of costumes and backdrop. 

Another great number from this show is “Take Back Your Mink” performed by  Miss Adelaide, played by Caroline Siegrist, and the other Hotbox Girls. This number is a silly little number full of drama and the occasional whistle from a man in the background. The song is full of playful lyrics and at the end the girls scoop everything back up and say “Well, wouldn’t you?” With even little phrases like that it gives character, especially with the high pitched girly voices. 

In this show there are two sets of vocal combos that are absolutely stunning. Platt and Siegrist in the song “Marry the Man Today” have an amazing blend and tone quality. Their voice combination pulled an astounding reaction from the audience full of clapping and whistling. 

The other amazing vocal combination is Landrum and Platt. In the song, “I’ll Know” the two sing of when and how they will know they are in love. Platt’s unique voice style plays off of Landrum’s lower tone and creates a lovely mix. “I’ll Know” is definitely one of my favorites in the show along with the song “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” mentioned beforehand. 

Overall, FC Theater’s production of Guys and Dolls is one you do not want to miss. There are still shows this weekend. Tickets range depending on seating and the age of the ticket holder. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.floydcentraltheatre.org