Tag Archives: music

FC musicians prepare for state level competition this weekend

Story by Annalise Bassett

As the bell rings at the end of seventh period, hundreds of kids pour out of classrooms and head to their cars, the car rider line, or their buses, but the day is not over for many student musicians. 

Freshman Reagan Schmidt unpacks her trombone in preparation for trombone choir practice. She also has a private lesson that night, and two practices later in the week for trombone quartet, as well as tuba and euphonium quartet. On top of that, she has three solos to practice for. She is taking all three ensembles and all three solos to the Indiana State School Music Association [ISSMA] state solo/ensemble contest. 

Last weekend, on Feb. 22, the vocal and piano event was held at Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis. Tomorrow, on Feb. 29, the woodwind, brass, and percussion players have their event at North Central High School in Indianapolis, while the string players have their event at Northview Middle School in Indianapolis.

Schmidt, who plays trombone, euphonium, and tuba, has gone to state contest twice, but this year, she is most excited to push herself and to do more for state than she ever has before. 

“I am most excited [to perform] all of my events. I’m doing more events than I’ve ever done this year, so it’ll be fun to test my limits,” said Schmidt. 

Other students, such as sophomore Cadence Wehneman, are excited to see results.

“I’m most excited to see how my ensemble does at state. We got a good score at district, and I’m excited to see how far we can go,” said Wehneman, who plays trumpet.

For students who have never gone to state before this year, like junior Hunter Marlow, state brings an opportunity to learn for next time.

“I’m excited to see other groups and get criticism, so I can have ideas on what to do differently next year,” said Marlow, who is in choir and went to vocal state solo/ensemble last Saturday, Feb. 22.

By contrast, students who have done state solo/ensemble before, especially for more than one year, generally push themselves to bring even more to state every year.

“I have done state solo and ensemble for four years. In my first year, I performed in one ensemble, then I played in two ensembles and one solo each for my sophomore and junior years,” said senior Elliott Lonneman, who plays violin. “This year, I am playing in four state events, since I managed to get a gold on my three ensemble events and one solo event at district.”

Students can start doing district solo/ensemble in middle school. As soon as a musician performs a Group I piece, the hardest piece one can play, and receives a gold rating, they can move on to state.

“I have done solo and ensemble since seventh grade. That year, I brought a solo and a quartet, the next, a solo and a trio. Once I got to high school, my section did a large choir both years, and I brought another solo each year,” said Wehneman.

As musicians grow, they get more opportunities to go to state, either by participating in more events or by learning more and getting better. The experience of going to state can be different from year-to-year, because students know what to expect.

“State is a very different experience. The entire event is much bigger and there are many other things going on,” said Wehneman. “State was a bit more stressful for me last year, since it was my first time going, but I’m excited to have the experience again.”

State contest is a lot more stressful than district. Lonneman said that judges critique your work even more at state than at district.

“State solo and ensemble is different because your judges at state have even higher expectations for you than your judges at district. They will be more critical of you and will pay more attention to how you play,” said Lonneman. “However, given the amount of time you put in to qualify for state, your performances will most likely be successful.”

Between the ISSMA district and state solo/ensemble events, student musicians ramp up their practicing, both in amount and how tough they are on themselves. Students can also use the district judges’ comments to strengthen their abilities before state.

“For district, I tried to practice for at least an hour and a half each day. For state, I’m practicing for about the same amount of time, but I’m using the [district] judge’s comments to get a better idea of what to fix,” said Schmidt.

As musicians throughout FC finish up after-school practices, they leave the building and head home, ready for the big event. For all of them, the hard work they all put in is what truly impacts them most.

“The thing that I enjoy most about state is when you go in the room and do your best,” said Schmidt. “No matter what happens during the performance, you know that you’ve worked hard to get to the place you are. That’s what matters.”


Louis Tomlinson’s album ‘Walls’ is a step in the wrong direction

Story by Morgan Walker

Ex-One Direction member Louis Tomlinson has finally released his first solo album after the band has been on hiatus since January 2016. This album titled Walls was long awaited by his fans and it is a very different sound to his One Direction days.

Tomlinson also released a few others tracks a few years before the release of the album,  one song called “Just Hold On” in 2016 and in 2017 he released three songs titled “Back to you,” “Miss You,” and “Just Like You.” These tracks are very memorable compared to his new album. No song sticks out on this album,  not even the song “Walls” which is supposed to be the signature song.

His songs have good lyrics, they just do not have an instrumental to get you interested. It is a little disappointing because his older songs were easy to replay and and have fun singing. It is very hard to do that with any of these songs. The only songs that are somewhat memorable are “Two of Us,” “Two Young,”and “Perfect Now.” “Two Young” and “Perfect Now” kind of sound like One Direction songs which is fun for fans that are still waiting for them to come back. 

One of the worst tracks on the album is “Kill My Mind.” It has amazing lyrics, and that is hard to realize until the listener actually looks at the lyrics, but it is a very underwhelming first track. It feels like it needs a break down moment and you are waiting for it and it never happens. It was also the first song on the album and it was not a great start. 

Tomlinson said this music was more of what he wanted to do and he did not do it for other people. Sometimes incredible music comes out of that,  but this was not one of those times. With instances like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles, they made the music they wanted and people fell in love with it. The only people that that would fall in love with Tomlinson’s are fans that are already in love. 

But overall, this album was very underwhelming and disappointing. Tomlinson could have done so much better because his old music was incredible. It was catchy and memorable, but his new music just is not like that.

Track list:

  1. Kill My Mind
  2. Don’t Let It Break Your Heart
  3. Two Of Us
  4. We Made It
  5. Too Young
  6. Walls
  7. Habit
  8. Always You
  9. Fearless
  10. Perfect Now
  11. Defenceless
  12. Only The Brave

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


Melanie Martinez ends music hiatus with K-12

Art and story by: Scarlett Hatton

For years, many loyal fans have long-awaited Melanie Martinez’s return to the music industry. However, on Sept. 3, 2019, Martinez surprised her supporters with a 90-minute film that she directed and a studio album that she produced, ending their wait. K-12, the film, includes 13 of Martinez’s highly anticipated tracks from her newest album with dialogue in between. With aid from her unique style and artistic lyrics, the album landed number three on the U.S. Billboard 200, and the film has gained over 31 million views on YouTube. Despite this, her followers still wonder if K-12 was truly worth the wait.


The film takes a twisted take on a normal musical. It follows a headstrong, clever little girl named Crybaby [played by Martinez] and her supportive best friend, Angelita [played by Elita Harkov], as they are sent off to a foreboding sleepaway school with dictatorial leaders. The movie has an innocent, light aesthetic that adds to the creepy situation the characters are being put in. These contrasting manners of purity and brutality can be observed in many of Martinez’s older songs such as “Dollhouse.” The lyrics to this 2015 single include, “Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect; please don’t let them look through the curtains.” 

Years later, Martinez carries forward this message of hiding pain behind beauty and innocence. K-12 continues this tone throughout the entire film as Crybaby quite literally tears her evil principal apart while wearing her bright, pink dress. While this might be too dark for some viewers, others appreciate this artful approach to portray insanity and to illustrate the inhumanity of modern school systems.


Nearly every Melanie Martinez song confronts a problem in society. While her lyrics do an excellent job of portraying these issues, the film was so important to help tackle them head-on and show real-life examples that her audience can relate to. This album alone exhibits the effects of a negative body image, eating disorders, bullying, gender roles, fake friends, and many other serious topics. The song “Orange Juice” is about a girl with bulimia learning to accept herself. A lyric says, “Your body is imperfectly perfect. Everyone wants what the other one’s working.” This message is absolutely necessary for young people to hear given the growing mental health issues faced in society.


Martinez is also completely vulnerable in the song “Show and Tell.” While it is unclear if the song was written about her personal life, specifically, it can be assumed the message of the song is very close to her. The lyrics say, “Buy and sell, like I’m a product to society.” In the film, Crybaby was trapped inside of the school. She felt like she was being controlled by power-hungry villains. The principal made her feel worthless with his unjust rules and she would do whatever it took to get herself out. She said, “Pretending everything’s alright is detention.” Martinez made K-12 to share this message to her audience. Aside from the magic, singing, and dancing, the film was very realistic to modern society in some form or another. Martinez’s ability to connect with these real-life situations through art is definitely one of her biggest strengths.


After taking a three-year hiatus, high expectations were set for Martinez’s album. It is hard to deny the visual appeal of the film and the beautiful message that it portrayed. However, there were some problems with the film that needs to be addressed. There were so many different subplots that each felt incomplete and lacked a true value to the overall theme. This made the main plot harder to follow and understand. At times it seemed as if it has been just 13 music videos strung together without any order. Furthermore, the dialogue between songs felt weak and messy at times. Instead of connecting the songs together, the remarks just seemed to be there to fill up time. It is a shame that the plot could not live up to the beautiful costumes and amazing albums that Martinez is known for.


K-12 continues to expand Martinez’s audience and break music records. It is clear that so much well-spent time, money, and production went into making the film possible. Ultimately, Martinez made the film available on many different platforms for free which was such an admirable thing to do, especially if she was trying to spread awareness and positivity. As Crybaby said in the film, “Everyone is worthy of love.”



Wheels on the Bus

Class Fight

The Principal

Show & Tell

Nurse’s Office

Drama Club

Strawberry Shortcake 

Lunchbox Friends

Orange Juice 


Teacher’s Pet

High School Sweethearts 



Visuals: A+

Plot: B-

Acting: A-

Production: A+

Vocals: A+

Songwriting: A

Overall: A-


K-12 the film: https://youtu.be/2HtaIvb61Uk


Following Highlander Band: SynchroniCITY stopped short in Greenwood

Photo by Presley Vanover

Story by Gracie Vanover

This past weekend was one of the toughest marching band competitions in the nation right here in Indiana. ISSMA Regional competition at Center Grove High School in Greenwood had some of the top names like Avon and Carmel. With only 10 bands moving from this regional to semi-state, the Highlanders were in for a long night.

The band placed 11th this weekend, barely missing the chance of being in the top 10 for semi-state. However, the night was not a rough one at all. 

“I felt happy. I was excited to be back and I felt really good about how we were going to perform,” said sophomore pit member Lupe Rufing. “When we got done play I felt really good because I played so well and we sounded really good.”

Many members of the band and guard felt this was the best performance for the group to date.

“I think our performance was the best one yet. The features , solos, and notes we normally splat on were the best they have ever been,” said junior tuba player Bailey Durrett. 

With every performance there are hardships members have to face whether it be injury or the competition itself.

“I was also nervous because I knew that there [were] five national championship schools there,” said Rufing. “[But] I was glad to show everyone how good we are because we practice really hard and work together to make a good performance.”

Although band members are sad about not advancing they are ready for next season and are okay with their results.

“I’m sad we didn’t advance but I know we did the best we could have done and that the placements between all the bands were fair and we got what we deserved,” said Durrett. “Since we were so close to making it in I’m excited to see how we will do next year because we just keep getting better [each season].

The band will be performing the show two more times even without semi-state and state competition. To follow the band and find their schedules go to their website: www.floydcentralband.org. Be sure to catch them one more time before the season’s end at Bands of America Grand National Championships on Nov. 14.