Archive for the ‘Orchestra’ Category

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.”

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

This year the orchestra went to an orchestra festival and brought back an excellent rating. They have gotten the same rating two years in a row and are proud of their accomplishment.
The Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) Festival was in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 4. They earned the excellent by playing three songs in front of the judges.
An excellent is the second-highest rating possible. Aimee Vining, the orchestra director, said the musicians learned a lot from the judges and hearing what other Valley orchestras sounded like.
“I also wanted them to have the experience of performing in a festival setting and to get good feedback from judges,” said Vining.
The group has been preparing hard for this all year long and had a big impact on eighth grader Anne Anderson. She wants to become a music teacher when she is older, so hearing what the judges had to say taught her things that could be helpful. Vining is using the tips and what the judges said to help the musicians hold their bows and instruments the correct way, and to count their beats.
“Listening to the judges comments also taught me a lot about things that I never knew about,” said Anderson. “Now I’m more educated in certain things about my violin and orchestra and music in general.”
This year’s orchestra was almost three times bigger than it was last year, so that meant that Vining could conduct instead of playing the piano, which she had to do in the past. It was great for the students to play well and independently. To celebrate their success they went Stratum Laser Tag. Everyone had a blast and some kids even got a chance to win prizes.
“I had fun at Stratum, but personally for me performing was the best part,” said Anderson.