Walking through Bonita Vista High at any given night can be pretty scary for someone who is afraid of the dark. A more terrifying scenario for that person, however, would be approaching the school and finding a girl that looks like Annabelle waiting to escort them through the quad and into the unknown. On October 18th and 25th, the Vocal Music Department created that nightmare — but the unknown ended up being an enchanting Halloween fantasy, better known as Scream 2014.
In the past, the Vocal Music Department (VMD) annually hosted Scream with the Machine in the Bolles Theater. This year, however, the VMD opted to include Sound Unlimited, Lady Tones, the advanced choir from the middle school down the street, and even VMD alumni in their Halloween festivity.
“[Compared to Scream with the Machine,] we tried to do some more edgy sort of stuff with Scream 2014. We kept the fun, but I felt that we needed to ride the fence a little bit so it wouldn’t just be a kiddy thing [and] spoke a little bit more to [teenagers],” Artistic Director David Legg said.
Legg took it up a notch when it came to the music. He went beyond Halloween classics such as “Monster Mash” by including songs ranging from rock-n-roll masterpieces like “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones and electropop hits like “Invading my Mind” by Jennifer Lopez. However, Legg’s inspiration could not seem to be contained within the Bolles Theater.
“The whole carnival theme in the quad was Mr. Legg’s idea,” senior Music Machine Assistant Director Michael Atwood said, “It was just absolutely amazing what he came up with.”
Expanding the scope of Scream also meant expanding the VMD’s expenses. Besides the new costumes and the additional lighting and decor, materials for the new attractions also had to be purchased. The performers chose which games, prizes, and light-up merchandise were going to be available in the quad. Moreover, the materials needed for face painting and henna tattoos thatwere offered were also additional expenses. Although the “freakishly good” baked goods were homemade, they were costly nonetheless. All-in-all, there were many good reasons as to why Scream 2014 tickets sold for 20 dollars each.
“A lot of people were wondering ‘why 20 dollars?’ but we have [approximately] 7,000 dollars in just the cost ourselves,” Vocal Music Director Gail Kennedy said, “The students have told me that they pay 20 dollars to go through the Haunted Trail at Balboa Park for about 15 minutes, so I didn’t think 20 dollars was asking for too much for a two and a half hour event.”
Noticeably, the most popular attraction at Scream 2014 was the Haunted Hallway. Much like the Haunted Trail, nightmarish characters would continually emerge from the dark with one goal in mind: to scare all sanity out of their friends and family.
“Working in the Haunted Hallway was really funny . . . I loved seeing everyone’s reactions,” senior Sound Unlimited President Ailinne Jimenez said.
Regardless of the criticism on the admission cost, Scream 2014 was a “spooktacular” success.
“I liked it so much better [than Scream with the Machine] because it got the community involved, the whole school involved, and the carnival atmosphere was just so much fun,” junior Alexa Ovenshire’s mother and VMD Auditor Julie Ovenshire said.
Not only did Scream 2014 bring the community together, but also the members of the VMD. Typically, Music Machine, Sound Unlimited, and Lady Tones only collaborate during the holiday season and their final performance of the year. Moreover, the involvement of the Advanced Choir at Bonita Vista Middle is even less.
“We’ve never really done that thing before where we added the middle school, but it was really fun and you get to see what the future of Music Machine and Sound Unlimited are going to be like,” junior Sara Antos said.
Despite their distinct costumes, it is unlikely that first-time spectators were able to distinguish Music Machine, Sound Unlimited, and Lady Tones. However, it is even more unlikely that even the most avid Bonita Vista show choir fans were able to identify the similarities between their distinct costumes.
“I thought the costumes were really clever . . . in the sense that Lady Tones had a little spark of purple, Machine had a spark of green, and Sound had a spark of red,” Jimenez said, “So even though we’re all wearing black, they made us very distinct and I feel like it’s very important because it represented our unity as a department, but also [showcases] our differences.” 
Whereas Machiners dressed up as zombies, the Sound girls dressed up as vampires, and the members of Lady Tones wore black dresses embellished with spider brooches, the middle school’s Advance Choir had the freedom to wear whatever costumes they pleased, which more or less symbolized their youth.
“Since we are all one vocal music department, it’s a good thing to unite together and share the love of performing with one another. [Scream 2014] was awesome because you had not only the high school, but also the middle school . . . and I feel like everyone enjoyed it,” senior Music Machine Dance Captain Christian Cervantes said.
The inclusion of the middle schoolers, Sound Unlimited, and Lady Tones also relieved the members of Music Machine of their stress.
“I think that when you don’t have one group trying to do everything, then everybody can do a little bit less and do a better job at what they’re doing,” Kennedy said.
Fortunately for the new members of the VMD, three alumni Ben Brannen, Giancarlo Dongo, and Colden Lamb, came back to participate in Scream 2014 as the “masters of scarimonies.” While here, they also shared some insight based on their dance and music experience.
“I think it was great for them to come back and see what they think of the group. It was truly special for them to participate in the show,” Atwood said, “They’ve been on board with us for Scream since the beginning,” Atwood said.
All things considered, Scream 2014 was an even bigger success than anyone could have ever imagined. The months of planning, extra expenses, and Mr. Legg’s sleepless nights were all worth it in the end.
“Everybody that I talked to afterwards said that they really enjoyed it and that it was the best version of Scream that they’ve ever seen and all of us had a lot of fun doing it,” senior Music Machine Assistant Director Bibi Valderrama said.
But what does the future of Scream hold?
“We will continue and it will be bigger and better,” Kennedy said.