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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

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Artistic expression abounds

Dance, guitar, band, orchestra, visual arts host winter showcases as semester winds down
ETHERIAL CONNECTIONS: While performing for middle school dancers last week, the McCallum youth Dance Company connected with younger dancers. Mac dancers opened the showcase with a piece called “Etherial” which was choreographed by Terrance Carson. Dancers leaped at the chance to form bonds with the Lamar dancers, the ones they may share a locker room with in a few years. Sophomore Corinne Hampton believes that talented dancers such as the Lamar Youth Dance Company dancers should have a group like the Mac dancers to look up to. “I think it’s really great that middle schoolers get excited about the communities they might be a part of.” The opportunity to be a part of the Youth dance company at Mac is something students from Lamar and beyond look forward to throughout middle school. Caption by Maggie Mass.

This past week McCallum held several fine arts events celebrating the hard work McCallum students put into their creative projects and performances. From art shows to concerts and plays to dance performances, McCallum opened the week with the band’s holiday concert last Tuesday, where they played songs like “Sleigh Ride” and other holiday songs with the percussion performing their own holiday-themed ensemble. 

Thursday was a busy day for the fine arts students; MacTheater held the grand opening of their fall play, Rhinoceros, centering around an average man who has to fight to survive when rhinoceroses begin mysteriously appearing in his town. At the same time, the guitar program held its annual winter concert featuring solos and ensemble pieces that guitar students had worked on in class. McCallum held its annual 5×7 visual arts fundraiser where visual arts majors showcase their work, and community members can purchase pieces donated by students. The McCallum Youth Dance Company took a number from its dance show to Lamar Middle School’s winter concert at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.

We are proud to present our photo essay recapping recent McCallum fine arts events as this week’s Tuesday Top 10.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: During the dress rehearsal of Rhinoceros on Wednesday, senior Chamila Munoz (Botard) performs the office scene, when Berrenger and his colleagues discuss the new phenomenon of rhinoceroses appearing around town. 

“Botard, wants nothing more than the undivided attention of her coworkers, and will do almost anything to get it—including making up facts she knows aren’t true and making wild accusations to almost victimize herself,” Munoz said. “Here, I am stating that the newspaper not clarifying the color or breed of the cat that was trampled by a rhinoceros earlier in the play, is tied to racial prejudice—which it is in fact not.” 

Although Munoz enjoyed portraying her character, her favorite aspect of this production was the early rehearsal work focused on embodying the rhinoceroses that every actor (besides Berrenger) ultimately transforms into.

“We were doing these exercises where we put on music and worked together without words to make a sort of creature,” Munoz said. “We were just moving around and not really saying anything. It would get pretty weird, but it was really fun to just get silly and crazy with this group of people. It was good because we were able to implement our earlier exercises later on in the rehearsal process and later in the show.”

Such absurd rehearsal tactics required the cast to get vulnerable with one another, an aspect of the show that Munoz said she will miss most.

“​​It was so cool to be able to make a fool of yourself in front of people who would rather join you in your silliness than make fun of you,” Munoz said. “It was nice because that positive energy translated to the dressing rooms and backstage, so we all got very close and things stayed pretty non-problematic.”

Caption by Alice Scott. Photo by Eliza Jensen.

5X7 ART SHOW: On Thursday night, visual arts majors presented their annual 5×7 art show, where community members could buy pieces donated by students.

Sophomore visual arts major Zvi Witchel loved the show and seeing her art on display.

“It was amazing seeing all of my peers’ artwork,” Witchel said. “And I think the parents and community enjoyed it as well.”

The show was organized primarily by art department teachers including William Cauthern and Sarah Massey Lynch.

“This is our 11th year of 5x7s and we couldn’t have had a better turn out,” Cauthern said.

The event drew a large crowd that filled the atrium of the McCallum Arts Center and raised funds to support the visual arts program.

“The show was a great turnout, and we hope to see the same amount of people here next year,” Massey Lynch said.

Caption by Mira Patel. Photo by Naomi Di-Capua. 

HANDS AND HOOVES: Joe Colaleo performs as Dudard in Rhinoceros. The musical ran from Dec. 7-10. 

“It was so fun,” Colaleo said. “I love acting with my peers, and they never fail to make me laugh.”

Caption by Carlo Hinsdale. Photo by Elli Grace Hodges.

LEAPING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER: While the tradition for Lamar to perform its winter dance show has been around for several years, McCallum has started participating in the show alongside Lamar, allowing the two dance companies to grow closer together as well as add a twist to the performance. 

For senior Eva Southerland, the unique opportunity to connect to middle school students, who would potentially be attending McCallum for dance in the future, made the performance worthwhile. 

“The point of the show was to bring Lamar and McCallum dance programs together and form a stronger community,” Southerland said. “As a high-schooler, I feel it’s important to create connections with younger dancers, especially those who want to continue dancing in high school.” 

As if it were any other show, Southerland and her fellow dancers took the performance seriously, preparing their piece Ethereal choreographed by the new co-dance director Terrance Carson.

“I love the experience of practicing on the stage, it builds anticipation and excitement for the show to start,” Southerland said. 

Southerland was able to connect to the students in the show on a different level since she attended Lamar as well. Remembering that the show would have been special to her when she was in middle school, Sutherland cherished the opportunity to return to it.

“Just seeing all of the Lamar dancers rehearsing and putting on costumes was my favorite part,” Southerland said. “It took me back to when I performed at Lamar.”

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Dave Winter.

A KNEE-SLAPPING BIT: Senior percussionist Thomas Ross performs with the slapstick in ‘Sleigh Ride’ at the band’s winter concert last Tuesday. The slapstick is a less common percussion instrument often used in holiday music events. 

“The percussion section used multiple different sized slapsticks as a funny bit for the audience, coming out of nowhere with a bigger slapstick than the last,” Ross said. “Though I only get about one or two notes throughout the entire piece, it’s still a fun instrument to play.”

The concert consisted of holiday songs and a holiday-themed percussion ensemble. 

“The main focus is just playing together and having fun,” Ross said.

The use of the slapstick and “simplicity” of the winter show are examples of the concert season being, for band members like Ross, less intense than the marching season. 

“Concert season is the fire after a long winter,” Ross said.

While preparing for concerts still requires hours in rehearsal dedicated to a multitude of ensemble and solo pieces, Ross still feels that it is not as stressful as being in the midst of football halftime performances and day-long marching competitions. 

“Concert season is not as demanding and is laid back for the most part,” Ross said. 

Caption by Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Ruby LaWare. 

OPENING UP: Junior Wylie Reat (Berrenger), senior Danielle Todd-Harris (Jean) and junior Sasha Grapko (Proprietor) perform the first scene of MacTheatre’s fall play, Rhinoceros. The show centers around Reat’s character, an average man who must prepare for the worst when his neighbors begin to turn into rhinoceroses.  

“Berenger is a complex character with a lot of lines, so it can be challenging at times to make the correct acting choices,” Reat said. “Playing a character that’s always on stage is a lot of work, but I enjoy being able to contribute so much to the play.”

The cast of 19 has been working since October to put together the production. Because the play was originally written in three acts, much of the rehearsal process involved cutting lines and creating a unique twist on the classic absurdist play.

“We met every weekday from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and most Saturdays from 10 a.m-2 p.m.,” Reat said. “The rehearsal process can seem long and exhausting at times, but it’s a time that you look back on and realize how much fun it was. There are definitely times when it felt like we all just wanted to go home, but it was worth it in the end.”

For Reat, one of the most valuable aspects of the rehearsal process has been the opportunity to explore and experiment with his own ideas.

“When rehearsing with Ms. Brookby, I felt that I could definitely put a good amount of my own input into the play,” Reat said. “She made my ideas feel heard.”

Caption by Alice Scott. Photo by Eliza Jensen.

CLIPS AND PINS: Jessica Garcia hangs up artwork for the annual 5×7 art show. Art students spent the first month of school making prints, paintings, collages and more to raise money for the visual arts program. 

“We need this fundraiser, plus parents and kids always love it,” Garcia said. “It’s great to have and it brings our families together to see their student’s work.” 

Caption by Carlo Hinsdale. Photo by Naomi Di-Capua.

AN ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Sophomore Santiago Mogollon plays the electric guitar with the advanced ensemble during Thursday’s guitar concert. While Mogollan stuck to the classical guitar for the rest of the advanced ensemble’s performance, he took up the electric guitar for his solo during a rendition of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So”. Mogollan was the only guitarist who played on an electric guitar during the concert. 

“In our class, I’m the best one at electric guitar, so [guitar teacher Andrew Clark] told me if I wanted to play the solo, we could bring an electric guitar to the concert,” Mogollan said.

In addition to producing vastly different sounds, classical and electric guitar are also played differently. 

“Electric guitar is usually played with a guitar pick and classical, you use your fingers,” Mogollan said. “You also play with different parts. You’re supposed to have your guitar on the left leg for classical. With electric, you can just play with your right leg or stand up.”

Playing electric allowed Mogollan to incorporate an instrument he typically doesn’t get to play as part of the McCallum guitar program.

“I kind of liked [being the only one chosen to play electric guitar],” Mogollan said. “It let me do something that I like to do outside of school, outside of the guitar program, so that’s cool.”

After Thursday’s concert, Mogollan is looking forward to the rest of the guitar program’s school year.

“I’m hoping to make UIL State for classical guitar and also I’ll be playing in my own solo in the spring semester,” Mogollan said.

Caption by Lanie Sepehri with reporting by Alice Scott. Photo by Francie Wilhelm.

 ETHERIAL CONNECTIONS: While performing as an opening act for the for Lamar Middle School winter dance concert last week, the McCallum Youth Dance Company connected with younger dancers. 

Mac dancers opened the showcase with a piece called “Etherial,” which was choreographed by Terrance Carson.

Dancers leaped at the chance to form bonds with the Lamar dancers, the ones they may share a locker room with in a few years.

Sophomore Corinne Hampton believes that talented dancers such as the Lamar Youth Dance Company dancers should have a group like the Mac dancers to look up to.

“I think it’s really great that middle schoolers get excited about the communities they might be a part of.”

Caption by Maggie Mass. Photo by Dave Winter.

GETTING INTO CHARACTER: Sophomore Lucy Sternberg performs in her Daisy costume during dress rehearsal for Rhinoceros. This was not Sternberg’s first time participating in a play for the school as the year before she participated in Antigone and She Kills Monsters. These experiences helped Sternberg feel more prepared for this latest production.

“I feel way more prepared this year because I’ve gotten used to the rehearsal process with Ms. Brookby” Sternberg said “I have a lot more friends this year which helps boost my confidence and makes the experience a lot more fun.”

Sternberg admits that the blocking process was long, but the good that came out of it was bonding with the rest of the crew.

“I loved bonding with the other members of the cast and making new friendships that I hope to keep throughout the rest of my MacTheatre experience.”

Out of the production, Sternberg shared that her favorite part was the opening scene that is set in the streets of town.

“There were a lot of moving parts to it with all of the different characters and I also loved how funny it was, but it was hard not breaking character.”

Sternberg admires how inspiring her character, Daisy, is to her.

“I like this character because she’s a woman who thinks for herself. Being able to play her was very empowering and it was a great opportunity. That’s the thing about acting—it’s amazing to get to be someone else.”

Caption by Gaby Esquivel. Photo by Eliza Jensen.

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