Archive for the ‘Band’ Category

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     The Cactus Canyon marching band had the benefit of performing with ASU’s own marching band during halftime of Arizona State’s football game Oct. 8 in Tempe.
     The group, along with other bands from around the state, helped ASU by performing “Maroon & Gold,” ASU’s fight song and “1999” by Prince.
Aimee Vining, the band director, thought it would be a excellent way to get her class a hands-on experience on the field.
     “I really just wanted them to experience marching band in a big way,” she said. “They were able to interact with the members of the band.”
     The CCJH marching band members thought it was a good idea to visit ASU, have a tour, and thought that playing on the field would help them in the long run for other activities at school.
     “This would help me in marching band because I know what playing on a field is like,“ said Melvin Lopez, who plays the trumpet.
     Ms. Vining heard about the trip by getting e-mailed by the coordinator from ASU. The trip costs the school about $100, but that money was used to pay for the bus to get there and back. Student had to get a slip signed by their parents to be able to go to ASU and they had to learn the songs.

Some of Cactus Canyon's top musicians represented the school in the Pinal County Honor Band in January. (Photo by Ms. Vining)

Some of Cactus Canyon’s top musicians represented the school in the Pinal County Honor Band in January. (Photo by Ms. Vining)

Jersiah Wrobleski
Cougar News Blog

     Twelve Cactus Canyon musicians performed in the Pinal County Honor Band Jan. 26 in Coolidge. The annual event brings students from all over the county together to play and encourage the community to celebrate band.
     The group played three songs at Central Arizona College in Coolidge. Musicians from 12 other schools were brought together in this opportunity for students all over Pinal County to meet and play.
     The honor band had a long day of rehearsals and listening to recording of the songs before the performance.
     Before the event music director Aimee Vining made a list of 12 of her best performers and sent the list to the director at CAC, who then chose seven CCJH musicians based on which instruments were needed. Representing Cactus Canyon were: Kendra Litt, Mackezie Dillon, Alexa DeLorenzo, Faith Marie Inzunza, Laura Morning, Shawn Gilbert, and Cameron Hermann.
     “There was no audition,” Ms. Vining said. ”I just chose my top twelve players, which was really hard because they are all so talented.”

By Bailey Tower
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon eighth grader Calista Smith received the “When You Wish” Award when she went on the music trip to the Heritage Music Festival at Disneyland in March.
Band director Aimee Vining nominated her because Smith showed dedication, perseverance, and leadership. Smith had mixed emotions about this experience.
“Honestly I was both excited and nervous, I suppose you can say I was crying out of happiness,” said Smith.
While the musicians played at Fullerton college, Ms.Vining nominated Smith for the award by submitting a form to the judges. The judges were giving little hints to the audience about the winner was and he whole band was shouting out Smith’s name saying that she was being chosen.
“I had no idea it was me until they spoke that ‘she lives with constant back pain from surgery.’ After they stated that, the whole Cactus Canyon band was shouting it was me,” said Smith.
She was called on stage and publicly given this impressive award. This took her totally by surprise because there were thousands of kids wanting this award,
“Talking about it now seems kind of crazy; I still can’t believe I won an award like that,” said Smith.
At first Smith didn’t want to go on stage after a long day. “After a long day at Disneyland I really didn’t want to go on stage and accept an award,” said Smith.
Many people were congratulating her on her achievement, but Smith has stayed humble.
“There are many other deserving people out there,” said Smith.


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By Elijah Q.
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon musicians went to the Heritage Music Festival and Disneyland in California on March 27. They played for judges on Friday at Fullerton College, and went to Disney on Saturday.
     Aimee Vining, the CCJH music teacher, brought her jazz, symphony, and wind ensemble to play at the festival. Jazz and wind won a silver award, symphony won a bronze award, and Cactus Canyon’s student Calista Smith won a special award, the “When You Wish” award for dedication, perseverance, and leadership.
     “I think my students performed at their very best,” said Vining. “The last two weeks were all about thinking of music critically, fixing our songs, and making them as perfect as possible.”
     Students learned that it takes time and dedication to be ready to perform in front of judges.
     “I did learn a lot from this trip,” said Sui Lan Waugh, a seventh grade musician. “I have learned good techniques with making sure the balance sounded equal with all the instruments.”
     “I hoped my students would learn that music performance is competitive and fun,” said Vining. “I want them to experience performing in front of judges, receiving critiques, and learning music skills from others.”
     The students have been preparing for this trip all year long. They practiced their songs every day until they were ready for the judges.
     “Well we’ve been practicing our festival sings for (three) quarters now,” said Natalie Erb, eighth grade musician. “But that doesn’t include after school practice.”
     Vining was pleased with the results, but said this will likely be the last California trip for a while..
     “We can’t do another trip because we can’t afford it,” said Vining “We will do a local festival instead.”

By Erik Lundquest
Cougar News Blog

Seize your hunger by buying all kinds of cookie dough throughout this month. This isn’t just ordinary cookie dough, instead it’s a one- way ticket for Cactus Canyon Junior High’s advanced band to travel to Disneyland in California.
This is where the marching band will perform numerous song numbers around the streets of Disneyland In March. But without selling cookie dough the trip won’t happen.
“I have high expectations for this fundraiser because I know that my students are super determined to go to Disney,” said band director Aimee Vining.
Cookie dough will go on sale Sept. 5 and end Sept. 17. The cookie dough prices will range from $15 to $16 for several kinds of cookie dough and other treats. Orders will be in place as long as they are ordered before Sept. 17.
Students will perform multiple times around the park and on their free time they will get to let loose and enjoy the magic of roller coasters and other rides around the amusement park. The students breakfast, dinner, hotel rooms, and tickets for Disneyland will all be paid for with the money raised.
The cost of the trip from Arizona to Disney is $6000 which is no walk in the park.
“Giving people our all is the thing our band does best,” said eighth grader Rosalyn Arriola.
“I believe we will sell all the cookie dough and raise the $6,000 for the trip,” said eighth grader Claire Albertsen.
The money raised will go mostly to the transportation of the trip. Some of the money will go to scholarships to help students pay for the trip.
The two-day trip will happen on March 27 for the returning band, jazz band and orchestra from last year. The first day are the performances and the second day is the laid back day. “I’m so stoked and ready for this trip, it wish it would happen earlier,” said eighth grader Shane Scoffin.

By Mario Duran
Cougar News Blog

The sound of music is echoing in Cactus Canyon Junior High, probably because of all the shiny new plaques in the music room.
Cougars in different band groups took a trip to Anaheim on March 21 to participate in the Heritage Festival, a music competition for band and orchestra members.
“Heritage festival is a festival where bands, orchestras, and choirs can come from all over the country to perform in front of judges to receive a rating,” said Kailtyn Shafer. “After you perform, a judge comes to the stage to give tips or teach us how to do something.”
Three band groups attended the festival, each leaving with an award. Both wind ensemble and symphony received a bronze plaque, and jazz band received a silver.
Also among these students was Catherine Roberts, an eighth grader at Cactus Canyon, who was presented with the Maestro Award for being an outstanding musician. Roberts, 13, has been playing the violin since she was seven, taking private lessons outside of school and learning new things in class. The award was only given to 11 students at the festival.
“In orchestra class, the students and I practiced playing together as a group. We had worked hard for the festival for months,” said Roberts. “I did not expect this award because there were many other band students that played at the music festival, too.”
The Cougars also brought home the Spirit of Anaheim award, an award given to only one of the 37 schools in attendance that commemorates outstanding character dedication. Cactus Canyon hasn’t received the award before this occasion.
“I think [the award] was a nice addition to our regular award plaques, in that it recognized their hard work and dedication,” said Vining. “It was such an honor to be noticed for our positive attitudes and hard work.”

By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon Junior High band students will be attending all four elementary schools in the Apache Junction Unified School District this year. They are going to perform in front of the elementary school’s fifth and sixth graders, and “show off” their instruments and talent.
The main reason for the trips to Superstition Mountain, Desert Vista, Four Peaks, and Peralta Trail elementary schools is so they can influence younger music lovers and others that are interested in playing an instrument at Cactus Canyon.
“We want to inspire sixth graders to take music classes in junior high,” said band and orchestra teacher Aimee Vining. “We also perform for the fifth graders hoping they will continue in sixth grade, or start new in sixth grade.”
Cactus Canyon’s seventh and eighth graders both perform, but the students that end up performing are all advanced band members. Fourteen students go on each trip.
“You can answer any questions the elementary schoolers have for you, and play for them. It usually looks like they have fun,” said eighth grade flute player, Audrey Powell.
Vining says that each band member picks a short section from the music they learn in class, and they play their selection to the schools. They have already attended Peralta Trail Elementary School in Gold Canyon, and will be attending the three other schools at the end of March.
“I enjoy band because it gives me a break from normal school and gives me a chance to play instruments with other kids,” said Powell.
Cactus Canyon musicians performed at the Arizona State Fair on Oct. 25. (Photo by Ms. Vining.)

Cactus Canyon musicians performed at the Arizona State Fair on Oct. 25. (Photo by Ms. Vining.)

By Cori Gibson
Cougar News Blog

CCJH music teacher Aimee Vining took her students to the state fair on Oct. 25 to perform for the large crowds and have fun.
Vining teaches the orchestra, symphony, wind ensemble, cadet band, and marching band. The choir also performed. They all performed one to two songs and, even though their true purpose was to play instruments and sing, they were still able to go on rides and play games.
“I hope they become more experienced at performing in public,” Vining said. “It is always nerve-wracking to play in front of a group of strangers, and the more they practice, the better they will get at it.”
Vining has gone on this trip before, but this time it was different. There were a lot more kids participating including the beginners which she has never had play at the fair before.
“I enjoyed performing, the food/ lemonade, the rides, and the animals,” CCJH wind ensemble student Heather Sigler said.
Students sold cookie dough to help cover the cost of the trip. They also paid for their own food, rides, and games.
“The trip was a reward for everyone’s hard work,” Vining said.
Because Vining has taken her students on the trip so many times, it is safe to say that they will be doing it again in the future. She said everyone did a fantastic job and made their teacher proud.
Vining said, “Everything went well and the CCJH musicians did a great job demonstrating their talent and representing AJUSD.”

By Kaitlyn Shafer
Cougar News Blog

On March 21, the wind ensemble brought back an excellent rating from their band festival. This is the second year they have gotten an excellent.
The Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) held the festival at Mesquite High School in Gilbert. At the festival the band members didn’t just perform, the judges also came up to the stage and showed them things they need to work on or learn.
A couple of the things that the judges told them was to better emphasize dynamics and how to play accidentals correctly.
“I learned a lot, like how to articulate better,” said Kaci Beyer, eighth-grade baritone player.
It was a lot of pressure for the students since it was more serious than a concert. The judges have the score in front of them while the band plays, so they know when there is a mistake.
“It was a lot of pressure,” said Aimee Vining, the band director. “But it was worth it when we got our rating and plague.”
This year the band was bigger than last year. They had more low brass which lead to a bigger, fuller sound. They have been practicing for this since the beginning of the year, and to celebrate their success they went to Stratum Laser Tag.
“Everyone did their best, they looked sharped, and sounded great,” said Vining.
CCJH cheerleaders and band members march in the Lost Dutchman parade on Feb. 23.

CCJH cheerleaders and band members march in the Lost Dutchman parade on Feb. 23.

By McKenna Nimtz
Cougar News Blog

This year at Cactus Canyon Junior High, players from softball, cheer, and band were in the Lost Dutchman Parade Feb. 23.
The students thought it would be a great idea to be in the parade to show everyone what their school offers.
“The 13 softball girls that were in the parade had a blast passing out candy to the little boys and girls and they are looking forward to see the younger girls take their place next year,” said softball coach Bill Wilson.
Participants from each group tried their best to be enthusiastic to showing everyone in the crowd that each team is something special and unique.
“The girls did a few cheers along they way with laughs and enjoyment,” Wilson said. “They loved the attention from the crowd of the people who were watching the parade and did their best to steer up the crowd.”
The softball and cheer girls did not need to practice for the parade but the band did have to practice its songs to perform down the streets.
Almost everyone from each team was able to take part of their Saturday to represent CCJH.
“There were a few missing due to other activities, said cheer coach Cathy Messenger. “Out of 22, there were only two that were not able to make it.”