Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Compare Contrast Part 2

            The clothes you wear while singing these two different kinds of music are very different. In choir all we do is throw on a old smelly green robe and some black character shoes. In opera however we always try to dress like a diva. When my school choir competes at a music competition we put on our robes with our hair however it had been the entire day. When I compete with opera, half the competition is who has the nicest outfits! We wear floor length gowns or old homecoming dresses! Also you never perform without wearing makeup! I always find myself putting on extra eyeliner and blush and it’s so fun to get ready! With choir I usually just wear my makeup like I would any other day! (which would be nothing!) The difference in appearance is huge, not to mention the additional costs of always having to have formal outfits.

Voice Part:
            One of the last big differences between singing opera and singing in school is what voice part I sing. When I’m with my voice teacher, I hit notes you wouldn’t believe! All of which are way above the staff but because I can also sing strongly very low, I have richness to my voice that is more common in a mezzo or alto. Because of this richness, I don’t blend as well with the soprano as I do with the mezzo-sopranos. In opera, this is no problem because I’m usually singing solo so I don’t have to worry about blending with other people. However, because high school choir is all about blend, I have been placed as a mezzo instead.

Although opera and singing in the Kennedy choir is quite a bit different, there are also some similarities. For one, both require being able to sing and read music. Another similarity would be the ping. Even though I tend to use more ping in choir, it is still vital in operatic singing and without good ping your voice tends to lose excitement and sometimes even can go flat. Also breathing is very similar in both choirs. Both types of singing require you to fill up your lungs as much as possible. If you can’t get enough breath when singing your voice could sound airy and for both types of singing that would not be good. The last big similarity is technicality. In both types of singing’ it is extremely necessary to use dynamics and other elements of music that makes the singing more fun to listen to.
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Compare Contrast Part 1

Throughout my entire life, I have loved to sing. Whether it was elementary school in the VeeGee’s, middle school in FLaPCo or high school in the chamber choir, I have always tried to be a strong singer in any choir I’m a part of. When you’re like me and you have been in many different kinds of choirs, it’s very easy to compare and contrast them. The two kinds of singing I do that are the most different are my high school choir and my private opera lessons.

            The space where you sing in opera is very different from where I sing in my high school choir. With my voice teacher, Karla, I have a very big amount of space. When I’m singing opera I sing more in the back of my throat. Singing farther back helps in opera because it helps you get a 3D sound when you’re singing and helps relax your larynx (vocal chords). In choir however, we sing very far forward. Most high school students don’t take opera lessons and many of them do not know how to sing with space and get that 3D sound. So in order for all of us to blend, we sing more forward and use the right amount of ping to add some vibrancy to our voices. Although this sounds fine with a group of people, it’s definitely not the voice I would use when singing a solo.

            One of the reasons I love opera is because my vibrato comes so naturally when I sing and it just adds richness to my voice. Because in opera I am singing with a bigger space, I automatically take deeper breaths. Also because when singing solo, there is generally more breaks in the music, it gives me more time to make sure I take a big back breath so I can support my vibrato so it doesn’t sound forced. In choir although sometimes we sing with vibrato, generally our teachers tell us not to because when everyone in a choir is singing with vibrato, the notes start to sound a little sharp or flat. This happens even more when the singers aren’t taking deep enough breaths’ to fully support their voice. I don’t like that we generally don’t use vibrato in choir because it comes naturally and forcing your voice not to use vibrato can be taxing in the long run.
(400 words)

Nicola Faires

This weekend my cousin, Nicola Craig, now called Nicola Faires, got hitched. She is 25 and has been in Alaska, with the Navy, for one year and eight months. My cousins’ family is very religious and church always comes first with them. They also go by the “you don’t date until your ready to mate” policy. Well I guess my cousin was ready to do just that because only six months ago she met Mark. He is a missionary up in Alaska and has a plane that he uses to travel from city to city since there aren’t very many roads connecting all the cities’ up there.
            My cousin had a very nice church wedding and the entire congregation helped them with anything that had to be done at the church. Her dad helped pay for the bathrooms and a few of the rooms of the church to be redone and by the time the wedding came the whole church looked great. Nicola’s colors were royal blue and gray and all the groomsmen were wearing blue ties and all the bridesmaids were wearing royal blue dresses. The tables were decorated with blue tablecloths and big vases held many pretty flowers and peacock feathers!
            My sister is a cake decorator and my cousin asked her to do her wedding cake. She wanted a simple four-tier cake and my sister used whipped cream frosting and put flowers going up all the tiers. It was very pretty and my cousin really liked it! The dress Nicola wore was amazing. She is such a small girl and her dress just made her look as thin as a toothpick! It was white with lace all up and down it. It had a train with a bar back. It was not strapless but it was still very pretty and showed a lot of skin! The service was very simple and everyone enjoyed talking to family and just having a good time at the reception.
            The next day at church, there was a brunch for anyone who wanted to come from the wedding and they had some left over cake, cinnamon rolls and some other good foods! The bride’s father, my uncle, informed us that Nicola and Mark had left for their honeymoon and had told no one where they were going!  They only left the parents one emergency number to use. I guess it’s a mystery where the newly weds went to spend their first nights as a couple but wherever it was, I bet they will have so much fun, and all I can do is wish them eternal happiness.
(435 words)

The Big Dance

This weekend my show choir, Happiness Inc., performed in the Big Dance Competition at Davenport North High School. This was our second competition this year and only our fourth and fifth time performing our entire show. On Saturday, January 21, 2012, we woke up early to catch a charter buss, to Davenport. It was an hour and a half long bus ride, but when sitting next to your friends playing fruit ninja and doodle jump, no bus ride is long enough!
We had to be dressed and ready at 4:10 and because I was at a wedding in Davenport until three o’clock, I had to rush back to the school so I would have time to put my make up and costume on. We had our daytime performance at 5:00pm and the feeling of performing was great! We were all so jittery before and excited to perform. Our director had told us that when we were performing we should focus only on having fun and let everything else just fall into place! When we went out to perform, that’s what we did and although there were a few little mistakes, we all felt as if we did an awesome job.
Our critic went great and she gave our band and us some good things to work on. She was a very nice woman and we all enjoyed hearing what she had to say about our show. After our critic, we went to daytime awards and patiently waited to find out who would be going on to finals and who would be sent home. The announcer of awards finally got to show choir results and announced that Happiness, Inc. had come in first place in daytime awards! We had also gotten best vocals and best band! We were all so excited but we held back our yelps. saving our voices for finals. We also found out that our prep show choir had gotten first in the prep division and would be performing last in finals!
When we returned to our homeroom, our director told us we had beat the second place group by forty-one points! In show choir, ten points is a lot and we came out forty-one points ahead! We were all so excited for finals and that Protégé was going to be able to also perform in finals and we all rushed off to have dinner before we had to get dressed and ready for our 9:00pm performance.
Our finals performance was, if possible, our best performance yet. Since the, just have fun thing had defiantly worked in daytime, we did it again at finals and because we had all had time to get our jitters worked out in our first show there was almost no mistakes! I think that I had my personal best show and we all hoped we would pull out in first, as we had during daytime.
When we went to the awards ceremony the auditorium was jam-packed! There were people everywhere and we all tried to get a good seat next to all our group members!  The announcer for the final awards hushed the entire audience as we all waited, holding our breath. He announced the places from 5th to 1st and we waited just hoping our name was at the bottom of the list! When there were three groups left, he announced that Happiness, Incorporated had gotten two caption awards! We won best vocals and best choreography! We were so excited and just waited to hear our name! When he announced that Happiness had come in first place and handed over the huge trophy, we all swarmed the stage just trying to grasp and remember this amazing feeling! We later found out we had beat the second place group by 75 points and that was the perfect end to a perfect day.

 (639 words)

Synthesizing TV Coverage on Politics

In the 1960’s, political debates started being shown on TV. Throughout America there are many opinions on the topic. Some people believe that they are bad because it may make the presidential candidate look more like a celebrity rather than a serious political figure. I, on the other hand, believe that having the presidential process on TV is a good thing because it lets you get to know your candidate and makes it easier for everyone, in our extremely large country, to be more informed and involved in the presidential process.
According to Source C, showing political debates on TV is a bad thing because “Television had dumbed down the issues by forcing the candidates to respond to questions instantaneously” But when looking at this statement from my point of view, it seems that this would be a good thing. Any person in the world, you, I, or the homeless person on the street, can write something down. We could all come up with something that would sound great and make millions of people agree with us, but not everyone knows enough about what they believe to defend it on the drop of a hat. I want a president who knows what side he’s on, one that doesn’t have to have everything he is going to say written down ahead of time, one who is smart enough to speak for himself and has the ability to make America understand what he or she is trying to get across. Answering on the spot questions is not a bad thing. It makes the answer more genuine, so you know exactly what it is the candidate believes and not what some speechwriter wants him to say.
It says in Source B that on April 20, 1992 the candidate, Bill Clinton, appeared on a show on MTV. After being asked the question, boxers or briefs?, our former presidential candidate responded, briefs. The question is, is this a bad thing, showing that our presidential candidate was being asked questions worthy of that of a super star, or a rock singer? Or on the other hand were the young American voters just trying to get to know their candidate just a little better? Now I would be the first to say that this might have not been an appropriate question for a presidential candidate, but would answering this type of question really hurt his campaign? I personally don’t think so. By answering this question, Clinton’s audience just knew him a little better. It may seem to some that this is a step too far over some boundary, but I know I wouldn’t vote for a candidate I knew nothing about. I want to know my president and not feel like he is a total stranger. Later in the Source B article excerpt they state, “because of television’s sense of intimacy, the American people feel they know their presidents as persons and hence no longer feel the need for party guidance.” But still I would not vote for a person I didn’t feel I knew. I want some familiarity that makes my candidate more relatable and easier to understand. I don’t think that sharing personal things should really be considered a bad thing.
The main reason why I consider having the presidential debates and speeches shown on TV a good thing is because I feel that having more knowledge of my candidate makes them more relatable. As said in Source A “Television with it’s penetration, it’s wide geographic distribution and impact, provides a new, direct, and sensitive link between Washington and the people.” With the help of showing the presidential election process on TV more people are able to be involved. Young people who normally wouldn’t travel long distances to listen to a debate can now just sit at home and hear exactly what everyone else at the debate can hear. Because of this as said by Angus Campbell “Large segments of the public have been given a new, immediate contact with political events.” Now everyone wanting to hear what the candidates have to say can easily get him or herself involved. Because of television, the direct contact between candidates and a normal person has been restored.
As stated by source A, Frank Stanton, president of the Columbia broadcasting system once said, “Not even the sky is the limit”. In today’s world this is definitely true and having politics broadcasted on TV was just the beginning to many other beneficial things that will happen in America. Having presidential debates and speeches on TV has and will continue to be a great way for average citizens to get involved and learn about politics. I wonder if the people opposing the politics on TV would even know anything about their presidential candidates if it weren’t for all the political coverage around the country. It’s great that people from California to Maine can both watch the same thing on TV and gain the same opinions without having to leave the comfort of their own home.
(835 words)