By Katie Flack
After the announcement of the school closure, many were disheartened at the idea of end-of-year activities that would be missed. However, many groups have found ways around this issue, the Chaparral Actors’ Troupe (CAT) being one of them. The spring musical, Sweet Charity, with the help of a dedicated cast and crew, is still planned to premiere on July 30.
The musical, written by Neil Simon, follows the character of Charity, a worker at a dance club who desires nothing more than to be loved. When she meets Oscar, she wonders if her dream is to be fulfilled, but when things go awry, she remains eternally hopeful that her luck will change. Drama Teacher Mr. Chris Irvin expressed, “This is a really fun show and it’s a very uplifting show at the end, the audience will see why, and I think none of us want to let it go, you know, we put this much time into it, it’s so much fun. . .it’s one that I think we’re all willing to fight for instead of just saying ‘Okay, we can’t do it,’ we want to be able to say, ‘Let’s at least try for the sake of the show and the sake of the audience.’” Furthermore, cast and crew members have largely agreed that the experience has been enjoyable, even if it has gone in an unexpected way. Freshman Madi Edwards, one of the assistant directors along with Freshman Adam Gromko, said, “Everyone has been working hard as a group and individually to get this production going. . .Honestly, we’ve worked pretty well considering what’s going on right now. Everyone, they’re still joking with each other, just like they did in the black box. We’re still getting rehearsals done properly and there’s only been a few times where there’s been, like, a missed line.” Although the rehearsal experience has not exactly been typical, those involved are undaunted, still enjoying the process and giving it their all.
‘Giving it their all’ has often involved extensive practices thus far. Having started working on the musical in January, Irvin estimated that the cast has clocked in around 150 hours of rehearsal time since. Edwards stated, “We’re doing rehearsals on Zoom and it makes me sad that we can’t be together, but honestly, it’s still the way it was, like, we still have that close bond and we’re still really comfortable enough to rehearse with each other. . .It is very effective, I have noticed.” However, the medium does pose some difficulties. Irvin explained that since there is often a “delay” when using the platform, it “doesn’t work well for doing vocal rehearsals, at least not group vocal rehearsals,” a tough position for a musical. Luckily, individual rehearsals along with dance rehearsals are still possible and the group is working tirelessly to pull each aspect of the show off. Before the school was closed and the stay-at-home order was enacted, the show was nearly finished, with a planned premiere date of April 23. After the state was physically put on lockdown, aspects of life were put on hold as well, including the production of Sweet Charity. Without an end in sight, Irvin, Edwards and the rest of the cast decided that they would push to perform the show near the end of the summer so that their hard work would not go to waste. Irvin explained, “I’m hoping, at the very least, we would be able to have the cast together and we could at least record it and possibly live stream it in the unlikely event that we can’t have an audience, I hope we do, but we’re trying everything we can to be able to get this show up and running just because so many hours have been put into it.” After the immense work this dedicated cast and crew has placed into the show, the cast remains excited for the planned performances and grateful for the memorable experience. Edwards voiced, “As a freshman, I never, ever thought I would experience anything like this. . .it has all just been such an awesome experience. I can’t thank Mr. Irvin enough for all the opportunities he has given me. . .Thank you Mr Irvin, stage crew, the cast, and Adam for making this year amazing.”
Despite the obstacles in their way, the cast and crew of Sweet Charity proved to be immovable, striving forward consistently for a production they each believed in. With more rehearsals planned, the drama department eagerly awaits their summer performances.
By Ashanti McClendon
Though social distancing has put a hold on many events, it is no barrier for the creativity of our generation. Many artists are finding ways to contribute to the world from home. Using social media platforms such as Instagram to leave their mark, talented artists all over the world embrace community through their arts.
Many writers and vocal artists are seeking exposure, and with the help of famous artists such as Jessie Reyez, a young singer and songwriter, they are able to reach other communities, as well as other creators. Reyez uses Instagram Live to perform her latest 2020 album, ‘Before Love Came to Kill Us,’ due to the cancellations of travel. She not only performs herself, but also invites others to join her live, giving them the opportunity to share their singing experience. Typically inviting about fifteen random artists to perform on her account per day, they are each given the chance to reach over a million of her fans, right through the comfort of their own homes.
Other local artists, such as Junior Mia To, are also using Instagram to display talents. Playing and singing along to songs such as ‘Pompeii’ by Bastille on her guitar or ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy on her ukelele, To dedicates about two hours to day simply embracing herself. She said, “I just recently started sharing my voice and instrument skills online. It’s always been a personal hobby.” The changes in society have inspired her to share her arts with others. If it had not been for the changes and mandated social distancing, she may not have ever shared her talents with her friends. She stated, “Once I get even more confident, I might join one of Jessie’s live shows, who knows?” To’s hobbies have recently become a strong passion due to the abundance of time she now has to put into creating, and she plans to take it even farther some day.
Not only are singers inspiring people, but dancers are making their mark as well. Professional Dancer Jojo Gomez motivates her fans to dance daily with her TikTok challenges and Instagram Live classes. If she is not teaching a combo on live, she is giving a challenge to her fans to spread to others. She is always saying that “we have to keep our bodies moving.” Many dancers look up to her for choreography tips, and basic technique skills, but she is not the only one. Senior Isaiah Gomez, a big fan of hers, was inspired by JoJo Gomez and his former coach and dance director, Alyssa Gomez, to perform on an Instagram Live as well. On April 17, Isaiah Gomez taught dance students a small hip hop combo, which included technique and vivid creativity. He expressed, “It was such a big opportunity teaching online, and a great experience to share what I and I know others love.” Many students were excited to see a dance member teach, joining his class with joy.
Though times are different and physical connection is limited, artists are continually giving their time to keep art alive and establish community. With things always evolving, art is determined to not miss a single beat. Whether they are local or across borders, talented artists are continuously spreading positivity even in these harder times.
By Emma Carrero
Ever since quarantine abruptly came, the second semester of the school year has been canceled, leaving students at home along with boredom. However, being shut inside can open up brand new opportunities to pick one or more hobbies. It is quite a stress reliever to partake in another interest considering the amount of anxiety growing during this pandemic. With that in mind, there are countless useful crafts waiting to be explored and shared.
For starters, one can take advantage of the infinite internet at a time like this and open their mind to the creative possibilities. Pinterest, for example, is a spectacular social network to connect with others through pictures of that person’s interest. The widely popular app is commonly downloaded to bring out new ideas for creative endeavors like painting, sewing, and cooking. Other places to delve for unique amusements are social media apps like Instagram and streaming sites like YouTube. Both contain a variety of content aimed at fixing boredom with basic or complex tutorials of at-home activities.
With that said, each hobby may have some or multiple benefits to it. For example, painting has been known to be beneficial for mental health. Some therapists even use it as a treatment to nurture emotional growth. Additionally, it helps with forming an optimistic attitude and strengthens memory. The main problem with painting though is the actual paint. The materials are often expensive and the work comes with a big mess. If messes are not particularly one’s style then the next option can be drawing. Similar to painting, drawing is good for the brain. Its more popular skill enhancement is problem-solving skills by having the artist take a look at different perspectives and think outside the box. Talented Artist Junior Harrison Hinman explained, “Since I’ve gotten more serious in drawing, I’ve noticed it’s really helped me be more explorative in not just expressing myself, but also in trying new things and pushing myself to be better in all other skills as well. I think it also helps me keep my head clear with the pressure of studies and other academic stuff like that.” Moving on from the technical side of drawing, it also contributes to the telling of a story. Hinman added, “I draw mostly because I like the idea of sharing a story and drawing comes most naturally to me to do that. I also like it because I like being able to stay consistent with it and see myself improve over time.” The art of a pen and paper makes for a convenient way to pass the time.
Mentioning paper and pencil brings another sort of interest to the table for those on the less artistic side: writing. It does not necessarily have to be a story, but rather it can be anything to write about. There are many different forms of writing, like journaling, which is currently trending right now. Journaling can be accomplished in several ways, varying from a bullet journal or diary. With online classes continuing, it may be hard to keep track of classes, but setting aside a separate journal or planner can ease that struggle with its organization component. Not only that, but it also allows one to customize it to their individual liking.
All in all, quarantine shows no sign of being lifted soon, leaving students with spare time. That is why instead of teenagers utilizing it with boredom, hobbies can become handy. Besides it being a way for entertainment, these enjoyable interests can improve some creativity skills initially helping out with virtual school and coping with stress.
By Jillian Flack
Despite the added difficulties, the campus’ Improvisation (Improv) team was able to pull off a successful virtual performance on Friday, May 15. Though it required much skill from both the school’s A squad and B squad, the students were able to change the rules of some of their most exciting games to give the viewers a night to remember.
In order to carry out their final show of the year well, the students involved in Improv had to practice plenty to get used to performing virtually. This required much time from them in order to get better at the Improv games with new rules implemented. A-Squad Co-Captain Senior Zachary Emmert explained, “Obviously, space working with each other was thrown out the window, but since it is a huge part of improv, we had to adapt things. We began using the space of our rooms, moving the cameras, and using objects to further the scene.” During the performance, the members of Improv had to rely on their technology to connect them for the show and they had to improvise scenes differently than they usually would in person. These added difficulties were not easy to overcome, but the dedicated members of the Improv squads on campus persevered and put on quite an exciting show. Senior Alex Rosen, A-Squad co-captain along with Emmert, said, “With this online element, we lost that form of communication. With this show, we worked in setting up an environment differently. We had to use anything at our disposal to create that environment, even moving around our cameras to get a sense of the scene surrounding us.” The modifications to their performance were difficult to make at times, but they executed the production very well overall and viewers were pleased that the Improv squads were able to pull off the show with the difficult circumstances.
Through their exciting show, the Improv members were able to convey their deep dedication for performing as they refused to give up even when the final show of the year had to be virtual. Emmert shared, “[The virtual improv show was] not an idea that was immediately appealing to me, but I wanted to give it a shot and see. I think it turned out extremely well.” This Improv show was certainly one to remember, especially for the graduating seniors, as it was the final one for many of them. Rosen expressed, “I am a bit sad that we could not do the final show for the seniors in the PAC [Performing Arts Center] itself, but I am so proud of all the effort put into the online show.” For a myriad of the seniors, it has been hard at times to say goodbye to a group of people they have spent so much time with, but they are looking forward to what the future holds. Regarding his time as a co-captain of Improv, Emmert shared, “[It was an] absolutely wonderful experience. I am so thankful to have done it. [I have] never had so much fun. The level of quality that every performer had made every second worth it. This final show was more than I could have asked for in such a situation.” A multitude of the drama department students who have not yet graduated will be sad to let the seniors go, but they are looking forward to welcoming some new members to the stage next year.
The virtual Improv show was clearly a showstopper and the audience had an enjoyable time viewing it. They are looking forward to next year when the two new A-Squad co-captains, Juniors Kai Shaffer and Olivia Snodgrass, rise to the stage and keep Improv as exciting as it is.
By Emma Horwood
Many individuals have taken the free time provided by quarantine as an opportunity to learn important life skills such as cooking. Whether mastering the basics or expanding one’s skill, practicing cooking is a fun and important step to self sufficiency. While learning to cook in and of itself is admirable, being conscious of one’s health should go hand in hand. Balancing taste and nutrition while cooking is very beneficial and easier than it sounds.
One thing that will make constructing a healthy meal easier is finding a template to work off of. Taking a provided structure and filling in the blanks with foods that are both enjoyable and healthy is a step in the right direction. Sophomore Sophia Hernandez explained, “Healthy cooking is important to keep our bodies healthy.” One great example is the buddha bowl, which is made with a base of complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, sweet potato, corn, etc.) with a leafy base (salad mix, spinach, kale, etc.) and adding on one’s choice of vegetables, protein, and a healthy fat. Another similar arrangement is overnight oats. By combining equal parts, oats (½ cup) and any type of milk (½ cup), half that of yogurt (¼ cup), one gets the base for a healthy breakfast. Adding one’s preferred fruit and nut toppings, then refrigerating overnight, ensures a nutritious ready made breakfast in the morning. Structures such as this for meals are a great way to customize a healthy, delicious meal.
Another way to challenge oneself to eat healthy is to consider modifying some comfort dishes and everyday favorites into healthier versions. While some may see this as a restriction, others see it as an opportunity to try new foods. This can be a great motivator to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into one’s daily life. If this seems challenging, a good way to start is to look for vegan or vegetarian alternatives to one’s favorite food. For example, replacing a beef or turkey patty with a veggie burger cuts down the fat and calorie content and adds a boost of fiber for digestive health. Further, a good adjustment to make pasta dishes healthier is to replace the pasta with alternative versions such as chickpea or lentil pasta which can be found in most grocery stores. Both versions can taste identical, but the alternative versions have a high protein content, high fiber, and take longer to digest. Replacing regular pasta with lentil pasta and opting for vegetables and lean protein rather than cheese and red meat is a simple way to incorporate health foods into one’s everyday diet. While these replacements may not taste exactly like the original foods, they provide a similar taste that is delicious on its own.
Being conscious of health and nutrition while cooking is a beneficial habit to develop. The phrase “you are what you eat” holds some truth. A healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen. By starting off with simple, but healthy recipes and adapting them to one’s preferences, one can create a life-long good relationship with food.
By Emily Pham
In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, fortunate homeless animals from shelters have been able to find new homes as hundreds of people have stepped up to rescue and take care of them. At this point, some shelters have even been completely empty as families opened their hearts and homes to care for many of the adoptable pets in the community. Shelters, rescue groups, and others continue to work in hopes to provide love and care for the animals in need during this difficult time. With many animals waiting to be matched with a temporary or forever home, one can find a little someone to cuddle with during quarantine with a few simple and safe ways.
As people around the world are urged to stay at home, many may find themselves lonely and isolated as they play their part in social distancing. However, a dog or cat can bring so much to one’s life. In fact, there are many mental benefits for pet owners during this stressful and difficult time, especially when one has little contact with the outside world. Junior Allison Parra explained, “During this time, people can gain an emotional connection with a pet and feel as if they are always on their side. Dogs [and other pets] are so joyful and being with them can definitely uplift a person’s mood. . .It really helps to have a pet when you are feeling lonely or sad.” Simply spending time or setting up a daily exercise routine with one’s pet reduces students’ stress level and even takes away the feeling of anxiety and worries. Junior Sierra Hennessey stated, “During quarantine, I walk her [German Shepherd Lab Mix] around the park so she can get her exercise. . .[Also,] having a pet can help people be more calm and happy during this time [since] it also gives you great companionships when you are alone and need someone to be there with you.” Although it may be tempting to adopt or foster a pet to keep one company when one is confined indoors for most of the time, one must think ahead once the lockdown is over on whether or not they will be able to give the pet proper exercise as well as attention. From paying for vet bills and pet food, which can be pricey, one should consider financial setbacks that may be affected by the chaotic outbreak. With some families struggling with financial problems or unsure of adding a member to the family, they can consider fostering a pet for two weeks rather than adopting. In fact, this can be a fun and educational experience for first-time pet owners.
With all of the new adjustments to help the world through the chaotic pandemic, some may wonder how to adopt and prepare for a new pet without crossing social distancing rules. If one is looking to adopt or foster, Animal Friends of the Valley, Freedom Rescue, and Mini Mutts N Meows are great places to start to see which available pets will suit the family. Most rescue groups and shelters have been using new methods to keep everyone safe such as virtual interviews with home visits as well. Once finished filling out all the paperwork and application, it is time to prepare for the newest addition to the family’s arrival by making sure everything is in place to make the pet feel right at home. Most rescue groups and shelters have created new procedures to safely bring the pet home such as wearing face coverings and gloves. Afterward, it is recommended to introduce one’s pet to new experiences, other family members, and objects in a positive way. Parra added, “For those first time adopters, make sure you take it easy on them and gain their trust first. Also, just play with them and love them.” Overall, adopting or fostering a loving animal can be an exciting and new experience which can clear the mind of the unsettling crisis.
With dozens of rescue groups and volunteer organizations in the community continuing to help these animals find a temporary or forever home during this chaotic time, it has truly made a difference and impact among families and students. Those who cannot add a pet to the family due to financial struggles or other problems can still help out by providing shelters with donations. Dozens of animals are currently struggling to get by as they try to find a loving family while barely having any food or love, but every contribution will make a difference in their lives. If one is interested in adopting or fostering, it is recommended that they visit websites of local shelters and rescue groups for more information.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT