Spring Musical “Annie Get Your Gun”

By: Amela Nevaljalovic

Spring musical is organized every year at Sterling High School. It is usually produced by a choir/theater teacher and every year auditions are held for student who are interested to be part of it.

This year’s musical was chosen to be “Annie Get Your Gun” and it was important musical because this year was the first musical without Mr. Johnson being in charge. Annette Lambrecht, a new theater/choir teacher was in charge of the entire production of the musical.

Main role was given to junior, Kori Penfold. “When I found about the lead I was sure surprised because I thought that another girl was going to get it. In total, there were 5 girls auditioning for the role of Annie Oakley.”  This wasn’t Kori’s first lead because she had it in last year’s musical and in couple of summer musicals before that.

“The best part of the entire for me was the fact that it came together so well. The others were never prepared to this extent” said Penfold, “ the biggest  obstacle was memorizing all the music because basically I sang the whole thing.”

The musical involved dancing, singing and acting and for a lot of students this was not a big issue. “Coordinating all three was not too hard because I have been doing it since I was little”, said Penfold.

The rehearsals for the Musical “Annie Get Your Gun” began in the second week of January and then they had the show in the first week of April. The Musical was presented to the audience for three nights in a row.

 

“Miss Lambrecht did very well, she was super organized and prepared” said Penfold.

A lot of freshmen students got an opportunity to participate in the Musical. One of them was Darcy Trump. “ I didn’t try out for a specific role, they just assigned me a minor role but it still incolved singing and dancing” said Trump “this is not the first time for me being in a high school production of a Musical, even though I am a freshmen. I did a lot of it in middle school too.” Darcy was in a Musical with her twin sister Camryn. “It was very fun working on a Musical with my sister, especially because we both had a similar act.” “Miss Lambrecht did a really good job and we had a lot of amazing moments on the set”, said Trump.

Some actors had a bit of a more different role. For instance couple of female students had to play a role of a male. One of those were juniors Mary Ritter and Julia Ssessanga. “For me, it was a last minute thing and they told me that there were not enough people so I just did it” said  Ritter “the hardest thing when playing a man was actually having to pretend to keep up a deep voice and hiding the chest.” The play took about a month of preparation and Mary said “ Miss Lambrecht did good for her first high school production of a musical and overall the outcome of the people was great!”

The show ended its three-night run on Saturday, April 8th.

 

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Alt-Country Band Old 97’s Newest Album In Review

By: Ethan Robinson

The Old 97’s newest album, Graveyard Whistling, is a bold continuation of their hollering chorus, 24 years in the making.

Defined as alternative country, the Old 97’s are native to Dallas, Texas, and began their band career in 1993. Exposing them to a more nationwide audience, their music has been featured in several films, notably the song “Timebomb” in 1998’s Clay Pigeons.

Although their popularity has deep roots in the Texan music scene, their songs are drifters themselves, referencing cities like New York to Chicago, where lead songwriter and guitarist Rhett Miller has made a living as both a musician and writer. Driven by an energy akin to rock-and-roll and punk rock, the Old 97’s at their core exemplify the foot-stomping narrative and character of classic American country artists, such as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash (whose song “Wreck of the Old 97” inspired their name). With spirited live performances, these qualities have built them a strong connection to their fanbase and have earned them status as one of the quintessential bands of the alternative country genre.

Graveyard Whistling, released this past Feb. 24, is the Old 97’s’ eleventh studio album and was announced in late 2016 with the single “Good With God.” The single features singer Brandi Carlile for one haunting verse, which Miller describes as representing “the voice of God.” For this almost existential anthem, Miller commented on his collaboration with Carlile, “Hollywood for years has lived off of male writers for female parts and most of the time they don’t ring true. Who has a voice that could do justice for being God?”

For Miller, that person was Brandi Carlile, who added immensely to the song’s reflective theme.

“Here I am writing from the perspective of a guy looking back on his life, trying to absolve himself of any culpability and failing [at it],” says Miller.

“There’s a lot of darkness hidden in this record,” Miller explains. “One of the big Old 97’s tricks is when we write about something kind of dark and depressing, it works best when it’s a fun sounding song. So it’s not until the third or fourth listen that you realize the narrator of this song is a complete disaster.”

The main catalyst for the album’s creation was a trip to Nashville where Miller spent time playing with songwriter John McElroy.

Miller said, “It reminded me that I don’t have to be too serious or too sincere or heartfelt. I just have to have fun and be honest. I felt like I kind of had free reign to go ahead and write these songs that were bawdier and more adult-themed.”

Miller’s skill for clever songwriting is evident more than ever, and the unrelenting energy of songs “Turns Out I’m Trouble,” “Drinkin’ Song,” and “Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls” embody this idea of an experienced band without a care.

“Jesus Loves You” is a sardonic tune coming from a cynical man pursuing a faithful woman. For this song, Miller has emphasized his role of being a storyteller and not necessarily bearing the views of whatever characters speak. Tied together with the melancholic track “All Who Wander”, Graveyard Whistling is established as a worthy piece of songwriting art.

The Old 97’s truly have made this a “return to roots” album, since they made a point of returning to the West Texas studio, Sonic Ranch, where they recorded their iconic LP Too Far To Care.  The studio is far out of civilization, in an old hacienda on the border-town of Tornillo, surrounded by a giant pecan orchard. This vast expanse and distinctly Western atmosphere has undoubtedly influenced Graveyard Whistling’s desolate twang.

For being so long-standing, Miller is somewhat surprised himself as he describes their progression as a band, We didn’t think we’d last until the year 1997. We thought the name would get a little weird when it became 1997, but we decided none of our bands had ever lasted that long, so let’s not even worry about it. But as it all started to unfold, we realized we could maybe make a living doing this, and we were all really conscious of wanting to be a career band. It was way more important to us to maintain a really high level of quality, at the expense, perhaps, of having hit singles or fitting in with the trends of the time, and I’m glad we did that.”

On March 18, the Old 97’s kicked off the Western leg of their tour in Greeley, Colorado, at the Moxi Theater. As always, they gave all that they had. Miller muses and wails, lead guitarist Ken Bethea leans into the crowd, and bassist Murry Hammond grins and speaks about hometowns, ex-lovers, and grain elevators.

As the band wails, “All who wander are not lost… Remember back when you got lost with me,” the audience is ecstatic, because they know that they’ll be getting lost in the Old 97’s for years to come.

Finding Dory In Review

By Abby Cross

Finding Nemo was released in 2003 and was a huge part of many of our childhoods. 13 years later Finding Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Lindsey Collins, was released and caused a major uproar among the “90’s Babies” crowd. Many of them posted on Facebook saying they would kick the little kids out of the theater because they had been waiting for the movie longer.

Finding Dory, a 97 minute long movie, is about a blue tang called Dory who’s living happily with Marlin and Nemo, from the original Finding Nemo, when she suddenly remembers that she has a family who could possibly be looking for her. Marlin, Nemo, and Dory set off across the ocean to find her parents. On the way, Dory accidentally awakened a giant squid who almost eats Nemo. Marlin yells at her so she swims up to the surface. There she is captured, after getting stuck in six-pack rings, and taken to California’s Marine Life Institute. The Marine Life Institute is a rehabilitation center and aquarium for fish found that are injured or struggling with living in the ocean.

finding-dory-2016-tt2277860-posterMarlin and Nemo try to rescue Dory with the help of two sea lions, Fluke and Rudder, as well as a common loon, named Becky.  They manage to break into the Institute and find Dory in the pipe system. Dory leads them to the other blue tangs who said her parents had escaped to come find her and never came back. Dory thought they were dead. Hank, an octopus, retrieves Dory from the tank but leaves Marlin and Nemo. Hank was then captured by an employee because he was out of his enclosure. He drops dory down into the drain and she was flushed back into the ocean.

While swimming around, trying to figure out what to do, she sees a trail of shells and remembers that her parents would set out a similar trail to help her find her way back home because she would always forget. She follows the shell trail to an empty house. As she turns to leave, she sees her parents Charlie and Jenny. They tell her that they spent years laying down trails of shells in hopes that she would return home one day.

Marlin, Nemo, and Hank end up in a truck that is taking various aquatic animals, along with them, to Cleveland. Destiny, a whale shark, and Bailey, a beluga, escape from their enclosures to help Dory rescue Marlin, Nemo and Hank. Dory persuades Hank to return to the ocean with them, and after he agrees, they hijack the truck and crash it into the ocean, freeing all of the aquatic animals on board.

Finding Dory grossed $486.3million in the United States and Canada, and $541.9 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $1.028 billion. It had a worldwide opening of $185.7 million, which is the second biggest of all time for an animated film. Worldwide it was the third highest grossing film after Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One, the highest grossing animated film of 2016, the second highest grossing Pixar film ever, behind Toy Story 3, the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time, and the 23rd highest grossing film ever. It was released to the El Capitan Theatre on June 8, 2016 and to the United States June 17, 2016.

Finding Dory has a couple underlying messages about being different and living with disabilities, as well as overcoming those disabilities. Dory must overcome her memory-loss issue in order to find her parents. She displays the stain memory loss can put on an individual. The memory loss represents many of the illnesses that people deal with everyday. Destiny also shows a disability. She is nearsighted and cannot see a few feet in front of her. Bailey lost his echo location due to a concussion. Hank lost a tentacle, but never let it stop him from moving around on land. All of these characters had to overcome some type of disability with the help of all their friends.

Finding Dory is a movie that shows how to overcome a personal issue as well as how to help others, despite everything going on in one’s life. With it’s PG rating, it is perfect for children, and adults, of all ages.

 

5 out of 5 paws

Get Lost in a World of Stranger Things

stranger-things-2016
Stranger Things. A story of monsters, mysteries, and anomalies.

By Ethan Robinson

Everyone who is an avid or even casual user of Netflix should watch Stranger Things, an original series which released this past July.

Why should you watch it? In just a few months, Stranger Things has become one of the most popular digital series, ranking third as the most viewed behind Orange is the New Black, and Fuller House, though ranking ahead of Making a Murderer, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones.

Still not interested? Well here’s the story.

Stranger Things is the first commercial success by creators the Duffer Brothers. With Steven Spielberg and Stephen King as prominent thriller influences, Stranger Things is a nostalgic trip with all of the elements of a classic 80’s flick.

Surely all of us teenagers and up have memories of going through our grandparents’ old VHS collection. Think of The Goonies, Stand by Me, It, The Thing, The X-Files and E.T., all combined into a spectacular, purposeful tribute that shines with horror and coming-of-age. Like the thunderous nights of our childhood, Stranger Things embodies that same feeling of a dark room lit only by the TV screen, and will leave you wanting more and more.

The story takes place in 1983 in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, and begins with the disappearance of a young boy, Will Byers. With the ever-looming presence of a shady federal electrical plant, the series goes on to follow Byers’ mother and brother, the sardonic local police chief, and the boy’s friends as they try to uncover the mystery behind his disappearance. But still, why is this show so great?

Part of what makes this story so exceptional is that it is rich with references and easter eggs, from 80’s movie posters to aptly used music hits of the decade, like The Clash and Joy Division. When such a popular show like this uses nostalgia as one of its main appeals, it drives younger audiences to discover more of the era and genre, and gives them a much broader experience if they take the time to uncover the gems that led to the creation of Stranger Things.

Even better, using a well-used nostalgic style reminds all audiences and creators that you don’t have to constantly redefine sci-fi or fiction to make a great story. Creating a piece of entertainment that is heavily inspired by other things, but still stands out on its own, is just as worthy a creation as the latest Michael Bay or Chris Nolan film.

The series is also very much a versatile story. It’s versatility lies in the fact that the show has three themes: coming-of-age, teen-love-triangle-horror, and Cold War conspiracy. None of these story arcs are scatteredly portrayed however. All three of these perspectives and sub-plots within the story coalesce to make a polished whole and one heck of a season finale. Ample room is made for both plot and much-needed character development and emotion, which further contributes to why the ending works so well.

Neither complex nor too dumbed-down, Stranger Things can be enjoyed by anyone, so the more the merrier when you decide to binge-watch it on the weekend. The series emphasizes the feelings of a grieving parent and brother, awkward teens finding themselves, and a group of kids bound by a camaraderie that transcends adulthood at times. Almost anyone could relate to these sets of characters and so find enjoyment in the show.

Just as we should be surprised such a great series appeared so quietly on Netflix, so should we also be astonished at the outstanding youth cast. Their performance quibbles and quirks lighten up each episode, including an instance where they solve pieces of the mystery using Dungeons & Dragons and their middle-school science teacher.

Front-toothless Gaten Matarazzo, skeptical Caleb McLaughlin and Finn Wolfhard make up the group of neo-Goonies. Millie Bobby Brown in another main role has proven herself as a talented actress for such a young age.

On another front, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery make the teenage side of the story much more interesting than it could have been with engaging drama. The plot is also led by more accomplished actors such as Winona Ryder and David Harbour, who further delve into what secrets the government may hide from them.

Perhaps most essentially, Stranger Things dares all other productions to take more risks in being unique. Not necessarily by redefining a genre, as said before, but by introducing something which has its own charm. And that’s exactly what Stranger Things possesses: charm.

This trait has evidently taken the show a long way, as Stranger Things has been confirmed for a new season to release next year. In an interview with the creators, the Duffer Brothers said that they would make sure the sequel was structurally different and wouldn’t “follow the same beats,” in order to make it enjoyable and not repetitive.

One issue however, that the Duffer Brothers professed, is having nightmares of any of the kid cast having any growth spurts in the half year’s time before shooting.

Until then, the upcoming Fall and Halloween season will be the perfect time to rewatch or be introduced to the thriller magic of Stranger Things!

Image credit: http://kinokoneser.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/stranger-things-2016.jpg

 

 

This Summer’s Movies for 2016

By: Abby Cross

May:

  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (5-20)
  • Angry Birds Movie (5-20)
  • The Nice Guys (5-20)
  • Alice in Wonderland 2: Alice Through the Looking Glass (5-27)
  • X-men Apocalypse (6-27)

 

June:

  • TMNT 2: Out of the Shadows (6-3)
  • Electra Women and Dyna Girl (6-7)
  • Never Back Down 3: Never Surrender (6-7)
  • Blackway  (6-10)
  • Now You See Me (6-10)
  • The Conjuring 2 (6-10)
  • Clown (6-17)
  • Finding Dory (6-17)
  • Independence Day 2: Resurgence  (6-24)
  • The Shallows (6-29)

 

July:

  • The BFG (7-1)
  • The Legend of Tarzan (7-1)
  • The Purge 3: Election Year (7-1)
  • Mike and Dave need Wedding Dates (7-8)
  • The Secret Life of Pets  (7-8)
  • Ghost Busters  (7-15)
  • Ice Age 5: Collision Course (7-22)
  • Lights Out (7-22)
  • Star Trek 3: Beyond (7-22)
  • Sharknado 4 (7-31)

 

August:

  • Nine Lives (8-5)
  • Suicide Squad (8-5)
  • Sausage Party (8-12)
  • Max Steel (8-26)

 

 

A Night Out for Prom

By Kirsten Hernandez

For some high school students, finding the perfect place to eat for prom is very important.

A recent survey shows that the most popular place to eat for prom is River City Grill located at 1116 W. Main Street in Sterling.IMG_2656

For some high school students that don’t like to go out to eat, they went to a friend’s house or simply just ate at home.

If you still prefer to go out to eat, but don’t want to go somewhere expensive there are other options such as McDonald’s, which was rated 10 out of 10 for both food and service, or Baja Tacos, which is located at 231 Broadway Street in Sterling. Baja Tacos was also rated 10 out of 10 for food and service.

Last year senior Ashli hellman went to Baja Tacos for prom.

“Dinner at Baja Tacos made the prom experience way better; no one else did it,” she said.

Hellman’s best memory of dinner is “eating; I love eating and food, and spending time with friends.”

Other restaurants that students have gone to before prom include the Bistro, which was rated seven out of 10 for their service and eight out of 10 for their food. Another good option is Mi Ranchito, which was rated eight out of 10 for both food and service. Out of 29 people, 13 people went out to eat, nine people stayed home or went to a friend’s house to eat and seven people didn’t go to prom at all.

By far, sit down restaurant are the most popular to eat at for prom.