Completing their festival season at John Burroughs High School on April 8, Bonita Vista High School’s Vocal Music Department finished their competition season with their festival sets titled, “Mecto Amore”, performed by Music Machine and “Work of Art”, by Sound Unlimited, marking off their final show for this school year.
“[Sound Unlimited’s production] was about how a person grows in this world. Your life is a blank canvas and you do what you will with it. Music Machine’s show, which means machine love, was about [the students] creating artificial intelligence,” VMD Director Gail Kennedy said.
Having these two productions as their most recent competition production, the VMD competed at Chaparral, Burbank, Los Alamitos and Burroughs High School. With 25 schools represented in Los Alamitos and John Burroughs High School, Music Machine won first place and Sound Unlimited received second, as well as best show design at John Burroughs High School.
During this year’s competition season, both Music Machine and Sound Unlimited competed in the second tier division after moving down from tier one due to the shortage of members necessary to compete at that level. According to junior and Sound Unlimited president Lauren Mata, many VMD students were upset due to the fact they were comfortable in their prior tier.
“When you move up to tier one, all it was, was that it increased the amount of people in the group and competing against a different division. It’s just competing at a higher level, same way as moving a football [team] up to division one,” junior and Music Machine’s Tenor section leader Daniel Calderon said.
After the division changes for the VMD, show designs and theatrical property were planned out the by their artistic director David Legg. According to Kennedy, some students from the creative team met with Legg to discuss the direction of the setups during the festival season. Collectively, they came up with different ideas including the theme for the show, guiding the rest of the VMD students through the process.
“I feel that this was a great year. The students have grown so much. All that a performer can hope to do is to continue to see growth in their students’ performance. I can honestly say that I saw growth in both Sound and Machine with every performance. I am extremely proud of them. They have worked very hard this year and it shows,” Kennedy said.
Although the competitions and the performance this school year was great, Kennedy states that there were some challenges the VMD had to face during the festival season.
“Challenges for festival season include cold and flu season. When your body is your instrument and you are not well, it drastically affects the group. A big challenge is limited space in the Bolles Theater. It is hard to rehearse costume changes and also hard for our techs to rehearse lighting and set cues in the limited space we have,” Kennedy said.
According to Kennedy, she does not count the trophies, but a great performance can be felt immediately. Although the students like to get them, she states that winning a competition shows the growth vocal growth of the students, and shows success in being able to communicate with their audience and their judges and the ideas of the show.
“I’m always happy to bring home a trophy, but I’m most happy when the students can leave the stage knowing that they did their best job. That’s the only thing we have control over. We have no control over who gets the trophy. And if they leave the stage thinking ‘wow, this is the best we’ve ever done.’ That’s when they have achieved their goal,” Kennedy said.