Archive for the ‘Choir’ Category

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon’s choir spends most of their time behind closed doors, practicing for concerts, carnivals, and other special occasions.
     Many people outside of choir might see the group as just a school elective, but it is much more than that. All the students and instructors are connected through their love of music and shared frustration of hard work. The members of the club really do feel the connection they have with each other, and they are willing to support one another all the way.
     “Choir is like a family to me, so that means we work together through the hard times and protect each other afterwards – and we don’t leave each other out,” said Katriel Hamilton.
     Mrs. Chung had been preparing her students for their Dec. 20 and has been giving them various practice methods. Many of these practices include warm ups at the beginning of class. These seem to be helping the students with their singing and even with their natural speech. Some of the singers who want to continue singing in the future even find it helpful.
     “I’m planning on singing again in the future, so I think the warm ups Mrs. Chung has been giving us are helpful,” Alondra Urias said.
     A lot of the participants were very excited during the concert in December. There are also many people who were nervous, and didn’t know how to cope with it.
     “I’m a little bit nervous because of the solos that we are doing, since we do them by our selves, but I am also excited because we get to dance and stuff.”


Choir students sing at Chase Field

Posted: November 10, 2015 in Choir, Electives

By Natalie Delintt
Cougar News Blog

     Choir students at Cactus Canyon went to Chase Field in Phoenix to sing the national anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sept. 12.
     Andie Chung, the choir teacher at CCJH, expected her students to learn the Star Spangled Banner in different parts and sing with people they never met before.
     “It was a big group of choral people from all over Arizona, so singing with new people was a challenge but it was a good experience for us,” said Chung.
     It took a week to practice the anthem before the choir students sang it to a stadium full of people with another group of strangers at their sides. Despite this, students and Chung alike are adamant they did a great job.
     “They did really good, they were on time, even though it was warm day, and they focused on the conductor, who was from University of Arizona,” stated Chung.
     Students also had to learn to sing into a microphone because of sound delay in the huge stadium. So, they focused on the conductor instead of the music and poured their hearts into the anthem.
     “It was nerve wracking but I knew if I messed up no one would be able to hear me because everyone else’s voices would drown me out,” said eighth grader Lexi Demery.
     After they sang, the students got to watch the D-Backs game and enjoy their glory while also learning new things about the stadium.
     “I learned that they have a sunroof,” laughed Demery.

By Maddie Chilson
Cougar News Blog

     The holidays are a busy time for most people and it’s no different for the CCJH music department. In addition to preparing for holiday concerts, director Aimee Vining has had her groups performing around the Valley.
     Last Saturday, Dec. 6, Cactus Canyon’s Ms. Vining took her students to the Apache Junction Public Library to perform for the holidays.
     “The coordinator is a parent of one of my students,” said Vining, “and she asked me if we could come play.”
     The students have had two months to prepare for the holiday performances. Each group had to learn three to four songs, performing at least three songs and a Christmas song. The students say the rehearsals have been stressful.
     “Rehearsal has been crazy because we’ve been trying to get everything down to perfection,” said eighth grader Sidney Harte.
     The jazz band had to learn even more because they performed in Scottsdale as well, and they had to have 30 minutes worth of music. Students say that the experience is serious, yet fun.
     “The concert environment is very serious,” said Harte. “But we all have fun because we enjoy what we do.”
     The students have shown a lot of improvement since the beginning of the school year, which happens to be Vining’s favorite part of being the band teacher; watching the kids improve for every concert. Vining expects students will continue to improve.
     “I like to see them become more independent, and play their parts with more accuracy,” tells Vining.
     There will be another band concert Thursday, Dec. 11, in the Performing Arts Center at the Apache Junction High School. The students favorite part is when they get to go on stage and perform.
     “My favorite part is when it is our time to go on stage and perform,” said Harte. “We have improved so much and it’s an amazing experience.”

The CCJH choir sang the national anthem at Chase Field before the Diamondbacks game on Sept. 12. (Photo submitted to the CNB.)

The CCJH choir sang the national anthem at Chase Field before the Diamondbacks game on Sept. 12. (Photo submitted to the CNB.)

By Shea W.
Cougar News Blog

Last Friday was the day the Cactus Canyon choir performed their version of The Star Spangled Banner at Chase Field in Phoenix. This whole performance has been practiced numerous amounts of times.
The choir class went to the Diamondbacks game Ms. Chung conducted her students as they sang the national anthem with students from four other schools before the game.
“I’m involved in the American Choral Director’s Association and I was able to attend the summer conference,” said Ms. Chung. “The Diamondbacks representative was there so I got to know about this wonderful program.”
The choir students had to pay $16 or $25 to participate in this event. The students who bought tickets were the only students who get to go.
Ms. Chung said the team uses a different version of the song than the choir already knew.
“We had to learn a new version of the Star Spangled Banner than the version we already knew,” said Ms. Chung. “Students had to relearn and reteach themselves and you know it’s hard to fix an old habit.”
Ms. Chung’s choir has been practicing up till this day. Last year, Cactus Canyon’s choir went to the state fair and performed in front of many people.
“We have to be loud in volume and have to train ourselves to be louder, so the people in the stands can hear us,” said eighth grader Alexus Hart.
The choir is also preparing for its first concert of the year on Sept. 304. Ms. Chung is hoping that many Cactus Canyon students will attend this event, which will be at the Apache Junction High School, at 6 p.m., in the PAC.
“I hope to have more confidence in myself especially in front of millions of people,” said Hart.
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.”

Cougar musicians perform at State Fair

Posted: November 16, 2012 in Band, Choir

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By Sam Collins
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon band and choir students went to the Arizona State Fair Oct. 26. Both classes performed in front of hundreds of fair attendees.
Once they were done, all of the students were able to ride roller coasters and enjoy the rest of the fair.
Aimee Vining, band teacher, and Ginger Rumzis, choir teacher, believe that every student represented CCJH and AJUSD perfectly and said they are extremely proud.
“They played on the community stage and did very well,” Vining said. “They also had fantastic behavior while having fun at the fair, and it was a very fun trip.”
Eighth grade choir member Brooke Coble said the day was a perfect mix of two of her favorite things because she “lives” for music and singing, but also loves the fair.
“I didn’t go last year but I’m glad I did this year,” Coble said. “And I definitely would like to go next year, we all had a blast.”
Only musicians with passing grades were able to attend the trip, which gave Vining and Rumzis the opportunity to get to know their students better and appreciate all the time and effort they put into their performance.
“The students were able to have a fun day and go on rides, play games, and eat state fair food after we performed,” Rumzis said. “It was a good way for them to interact with one another and also for me to interact with them.”
The students said they were happy to have the opportunity to play at such an awesome place.
“It felt pretty cool,” said eighth grade jazz band member Carsyn Ainsworth. “Not many kids I know can say, ‘Hey, my jazz band performed at State Fair!’”

By Lacey Vigil
Staff writer

The CCJH Cougar musicians final concert will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at the Apache Junction Performing Arts Center.
Director Aimee Vining has been getting her students ready for this big event. The music groups that are performing are the band, choir, and strings ensemble. All of the musicians have been practicing really hard since the end of third quarter.
“It usually takes at least a month to get all of our songs ready to perform, depending on the difficulty of the songs, and how much the students practice,” said Ms.Vining. “We are playing a ton of songs, but a few are Arms and a Thousand Years by Christina Perri, African Adventure for strings, A Pirates of the Caribbean Medley, and Uprising by Muse.”
Vining said preparing for the performance can be easier than those at the start of the year.
“It is about the same,” she said. “What makes it a little bit easier is that the students have improved in their playing/singing, so they learn the music a little faster.”
Vining said anyone who attends the show will be able to listen to quality music from CCJH.
“They will enjoy it because the Cougar Musicians Rock!” she said.

By Paige Mace
Staff writer

The Cactus Canyon PTO held a fundraiser for the Cougar musicians on Dec. 15. Anyone who dined at Barro’s Pizza that night could mention CCJH have 20 percent of their bill go to the CCJH band.
The fundraiser earned about $175.
“I heard quite a few came,” said Aimee Vining, music instructor at CCJH. “I couldn’t make it because it was the night of the concert. I heard it was a great turnout though.”
Now the CCJH band can get new equipment including mallets and sheet music.
“I have already ordered new mallets, sheet music, and I am also purchasing some new drum heads for our marching bass drum,” said Ms. Vining. “The money we raised won’t cover the entire cost because the supplies are expensive, but it will help tremendously.
The PTO also had a Barro’s night to support the art and drama programs on Jan. 19.

By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

The Cougar Musicians took a field trip to the Montesa at Gold Canyon community in Gold Canyon on Dec. 7.
The Cactus Canyon musicians were given the opportunity to play out in public once again. In October, they gave the audience a treat at the state fair and in November they marched in the Veterans day parade.
“It’s so much fun!” said eighth grade band musician Lanae Wilson. “I have played trumpet for three years, and I love it!”
The Cougars have had this trip planned for several months.
“Montesa contacted me in August, so we have been planning it since the beginning of the school year,” said teacher Aimee Vining. “It’s good for us to perform in the community wherever we can. It’s a great opportunity for the community to hear the musicians from our school.”

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By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

The Cactus Canyon cougar musicians were given the opportunity to perform several songs for the visitors of the Arizona State Fair on Oct. 28.
Cougar musicians went to the state fair to have a fun-filled day and to perform songs for an audience outside of Apache Junction.
The musicians played eight songs, including Lions Pride, True Colors, and Cougars Rock. This performance was organized by CCJH music instructor Aimee Vining, and state fair staff. The purpose of the performance was to spread the word about CCJH musicians and how good they are.
“We wanted the opportunity to perform for the community,” said Ms. Vining. “We wanted people to say, ‘Hey, who is this Cactus Canyon Jr. High? They are awesome!’ “Strings, choir, and marching band performed and did a fantastic job, and I’m really proud of all of them.”
The musicians said the State Fair was a fun trip that got them outside of their comfort zone of playing in their hometown .
“Everyone was happy and we did amazing on our performance,” said eighth-grade flute player Tatiana Couchee. “In a way, this was sort of a reward.”
A lot of time and effort was put into allowing the musicians to be able to go do this event.
“I’m grateful to all the parents who helped chaperone the trip. There were 99 students, and there is no way I could have organized and chaperoned them all by myself,” Vining said. “I think this was a great opportunity for my students to perform for people other than just the AJUSD community, and I think they realized that when they work hard and practice, they perform well under pressure, and they have fun doing it.”