Chesler first became interested in technical theater in eighth grade at Brown Middle School. He had done some “pretty basic light stuff, he said, but that was about it. It wasn’t until Chesler’s freshman year that he became more heavily involved because of encouragement from one of his friends.
Little did he know that his fall season schedule would soon be cluttered not just from soccer but from theater tech as well. Chesler was not too familiar with the arts as he is “basically tone-deaf, and [he] can’t even draw stick figures, he said.
Not sure what to expect, Chesler was in for an amazing surprise.“Everyone [in South Stage] was so welcoming, but also so hardworking, Chesler said. “It also allowed me to get closer to actors, even though I don’t act myself.
Although he has never done tech outside of Newton South, Ben has worked on between 25 and 30 South Stage productions and has managed two. His favorites to work on were Stop Kiss, where he stage managed, and Burial at Thebes, where he did the set design.
Some of Chesler’s many jobs have included building sets and hanging lights. He has also become very familiar with the various design positions such as Light Designer, Master Electrician, Scenic Designer, Master Carpenter, Sound Designer and Properties Master.
Chesler’s duties have increased greatly since his first year behind the scenes. “When I was a freshman, everything seemed so amazing. Now, as a senior, I have a bunch of responibilities, so I see everything in a different light (no pun intended!), he said.
Chesler’s favorite thing to do at tech is stay really late and work intensely on a show. For Chesler, the most challenging part of being a senior techie is “teaching new techies the ropes [and] working within a budget [¦] It forces me to be creative, he said.
Though there have been many proud moments for Chesler, there have been some trying times as well. On tech day for Guys and Dolls, Chesler cracked under the pressure. “I had been up until 4 AM the night before writing scene shift sheets, then I got up at 8 AM Chesler said. “By 4 PM, I just broke down. He managed, however, to pull through and produce an excellent show.
In the future, Chesler does not plan on getting a degree in technical theatre but might consider continuig with it in college. The most valuable lessons Chesler has learned from being a “techie may not be related to sounds or lights, but rather the ability to be in charge and persevere no matter how challenging a task is.]]>
I have a very strong love-hate relationship with music videos. I appreciate how a music video can revive a song, but on the other hand, I hate how it can completely change your interpretation of the song.
Everyone knows that certain songs and artists are overplayed on the radio, and I’m sure it is as bothersome to you as it is to me. There is only one way for a song to be revitalized. You guessed it’€music videos.
Without trying, I always connect a song to a certain time in my life. The song may represent either a time period or a specific event, sometimes even both.
When I watch a music video, though, it completely changes everything I felt about the song. I always feel that the song is different because it no longer reflects my perspective, but that of the artist’s.
Ever since the end of TRL back in 2008, music videos have expanded to YouTube, AMTV, and occasionally VH1.
The thing that made TRL so great was that it wasn’t just a block of music videos but a countdown where viewers could vote.
It’s always intriguing how an artist feels about a song even if they didn’t write it (Christina Aguilera’s Hurt, anyone?) but if the artist only sings to be famous’€yes, you, Lady Gaga’€why should anyone waste their time watching the music video?
Both the artist and the listener are so caught up in the production of music videos and how much is spent on them that the song itself loses its value. If the song isn’t good to begin with, though, it doesn’t actually matter if the video is good or not.
My point is, why spend money making a video for a song that sucks? It’s absolutely absurd to spend thousands, or sometimes even millions, of dollars on a music video, regardless of whether or not the song is good.
The purpose of a music video is to show the songwriter’s vision for the song and how the song is “supposed to be understood.
It’s always intriguing to see how the artist envisioned the song but at the same time, it’s frustrating because after you see the music video, it’s almost impossible to get those images out of your head whenever you listen to the song again.
No matter what, you’ll hear how the artist feels in the song to some extent without a music video, so the video is sometimes just unnecessary.
I feel it’s more than just the artists who are supposed to be creative. Yes, they create the lyrics but everyone who listens to the song imagines something different.
The meaning of a song differs from person to person. The same song that reminds someone of a life-changing summer may remind another of a terrible break-up. Altering how someone feels isn’t exactly what I would call “connecting to fans.
Now, I’m not saying we should get rid of music videos, but that they affect listeners in ways that may change people’s perceptions.]]>
The second thought was a little different and a little bit saddening: I had not received a CD as a present in years.
After the rest of the gifts were exchanged, I went to my room to listen to my new CD. My computer decided to delete iTunes so I could not upload the album onto my iTunes. Instead, I broke out my portable CD player from under my bed and tried to open the packaging to the CD.
It wasn’t until 15 minutes later that I had finally undone the outside plastic wrapping. Then it was onto the sticker. My point is, this whole operation which took me about 20 minutes, would have taken me about five minutes seven years ago.
This really got me thinking, why don’t people buy CD’s anymore? There is something so genuine about albums and it’s really a shame that in a few years, they may be obsolete.
Think about all of the fun times you may have had taking out the little booklets in the front cover. You know, the ones where you could listen to the song while reading the lyrics and flipping through pictures of the artists.
The CD and its cover would always have really cool artwork on it that resembled the artist or band. Nowadays, album covers have become a little square on a fluorescent screen.
While iTunes is extremely convenient and most of you probably illegally download, being able to have the actual album is something that was seriously taken for granted by our eleven year old selves.
Also, it’s sad how people who download music from Limewire and other illegal programs won’t see the track list (in the correct order, at least), and song order is no longer significant.
Programs like iTunes are fast, convenient, cheap and easily accessible. The songs also can be easily listened to on a small and portable MP3 player.
Of course, for every upside there is a downside. I love iTunes, but there’s something that is less authentic about it. For one, it lessens the value of the CD.
You can’t really appreciate everything the artist is trying to translate through their music if you don’t buy the whole album. The whole point of a track list, and why certain songs are chosen for the CD, is so that it can tell a story when it’s all put together.
It also is a problem when you try to upgrade to the newer version of iTunes and it “accidentally erases your songs. You can never get them back, no matter how many times you call the Apple store.
As usual, while electronics are convenient, they are risky.
The biggest problem facing downloadable music is that record stores such as Newbury Comics and F.Y.E. might become the old Blockbusters and Hollywood Video, going out of business.
What I’m trying to get at here is this: don’t stop buying albums. They may be a little outdated, but all those little elements such as song order and cover design make for a richer and more tangible experience.]]>
Instead, while stopped at a red light, look into the car next to you and watch the passengers get really into the radio or an MP3 player.
I don’t think there is anything better than watching someone dancing and singing in their car. The best is when they really get into what they are listening to. Their heads wildly bob to the beat, and they tap on the steering wheel as if it were a complete drum set.
One time, I was in the passenger seat when a car pulled up next to me and this really large man who looked like a wrestler’€kind of grungy and wearing all leather’€had his windows rolled down and was playing Miley Cyrus while discreetly dancing and singing along to it¦I kid you not. Everyone in the car I was in started cracking up because it was so awkward and so wonderful.
Another time, I was on my way to driver’s education (oh, the irony) and the song “Single Ladies by BeyoncÃƒÂ© was playing on the radio.
In the car in front of mine, a young boy who was working a pointy and brown furry hood was sitting in the back seat. When the chorus to “Single Ladies started to play on my radio, the boy lifted his hand and started doing the dance that goes along with the music video; undoubtedly, he and I were listening to the same radio station. That was probably one of the funniest moments I have ever experienced.
I also really like when convertibles have the roof down and classical music blasting.
Classical music is not bad, I actually really enjoy the genre, it is just that yet again, it is awkward and ironic that a speeding car has such formal music blaring.
Although all of these situations are extremely entertaining, my favorite thing about being in the car is listening to parents sing along to the radio. It is actually the most comical thing to experience.
Parents always tend to sing to songs that have an impossible range and really inappropriate lyrics. The thing is, though, they never understand the lyrics so they just kind of grumble and make up the words.
Luckily for me they do not sing when I have friends in the car. It is great, however, when other people’s parents sing, especially when they cannot sing well.
It’s really not that embarrassing and if you think about it, their awful singing provides spectacular entertainment in what would otherwise be an exceptionally dull car ride.
It’s only okay when other people’s parents do it though because their parents aren’t mine and I don’t want to be embarrassed.
You can always use your parents’ bad singing voice as something positive, though. If there is someone you really do not like in the car and you never want them to come back, tell your parents to sing.
The unwanted traveler will be so scarred for life that they will never want to come back.
So if you are one of those kids who gets bored in the car, you now have a few things you can do whether it’s a six-minute car ride or a 38-hour car ride, just by using the people around you.]]>
Depending on who you are, though, the music may be different. The jams of the ‘Ëœ90s to some may be Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears whereas Green Day or Nelly may remind others of that time period.
Today, however, it’s not as easy to classify artists to their genres; this is both a positive and a negative.
Music used to be more defined, which brought along an immense amount of animosity between people.
The stereotypical pop listeners would be the all-American teenagers who played every sport possible and got straight A’s.
Punk fans would wear baggy black pants with matching spike collars and bright green mohawks displayed on top of their heads.
Rappers would carry around a 50-pound boom box while wearing the “raddest fashions of the time, and country lovers would square dance around the halls of school in their cowboy boots.
What about music today, though? What will we all look back on as the classic soundtrack of our teenage years?
I’ll tell you what, songs that say “shut your lips, do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips and “ I want to take a ride on your disco stick¦awful.
The worst part for me is that even though music genres are combining more frequently (pop/punk, techno/hip-hop, country/pop) the fans are forced to, also.
I don’t like songs by Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers, and when people constantly talk about and play their music, it will make me want to gauge my eyes out.
Music today is becoming worse because of these fans.
I personally blame the teenie-boppers who are caught in the boy band era and demand overbearing, upbeat tracks.
It undoubtedly leads artists to write more for the so-called fans and not for themselves.¨
People are so worried about having the “it factor and being “individuals, but if you think about it, everyone’s individuality is the same.
Put on any pop, punk, rap, or country song, and I’m sure you’ll think they sound the same (or at least your parents will).
When someone finally tries changing it up, such as Lil’ Wayne or Katy Perry, it’s cool the first five times it’s played, but then it gets old.
Lady GaGa in particular cares more about her image than anything else. Sure she can sing, but her lyrics contain themes that an eight-year-old shouldn’t be listening to. And also, for everyone who saw the VMAs, you would know that her outfits are getting overly ridiculous.
Bands such as Blink 182 and Sum 41 would wear their street clothes for concerts, and their songs are considered influential to people everywhere to this day.
Performers who only care about their images will fade soon enough. Eventually, their songs will be forgotten because the meaning of their lyrics are horrible.
By creating an immense amount of unoiriginal music in such a short number of years, it makes the artists less iconic.
No one will ever live up to bands like Queen, The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones, but if artists created songs that came from their souls, then maybe they could be The Who of our generation, and not just another “one-hit wonder.
So the next time you listen to a song, don’t just consider it the “next best thing because it’s on the radio; actually listen.]]>
Athletes Serving the Community (ASC) is designed to interfere minimally with a student-athlete’s busy schedule, and the club pledges not to conflict with sports and academics.
“ASC was formed by four fathers who had athletic children interested in volunteering, but [who] had no easy way to do it, John Westman, the vice president of ASC, said.
Each of the roughly 180 high school students, half from Newton North and half from Newton South, typically volunteer in four to six hour increments. ASC hopes that each athlete will participate in a minimum of four volunteer days per school year. The events are usually scheduled on weekends.
The Newton-wide organization offers more than just a medium for athletes to do community service for college.
“ASC is important because it helps students integrate community service into their lives at an early age. My older kids did it, and both have continued volunteering through their college years, Westman said. “ASC made them feel comfortable in volunteering situations and got them to understand the benefits [of volunteering].
“I have learned leadership, selflessness, and cooperation, senior and student co-president of ASC Cora Visnick said. Visnick is a runner and a gymnast.
According to Mary Cross, parent president of ASC, the organization was founded six years ago and is active both in and out of Newton.
Members do not have to be Newton residents or even athletes, though the group is geared towards athletes. Anyone who has busy schedules may find the group helpful.
ASC members have logged more than 100 events and 1500 hours over the last six years. The spectrum of events is very wide and includes Christmas in the City, Red Cross Blood Drives, and the Walk for Hunger. Many projects ASC is involved with are affiliated with the Special Olympics and other community efforts.
The community service benefits the people the athletes work with, as well as the students involved in the organization.
“On behalf of all the athletes, coaches and Special Olympics staff, we thank you. Despite the freezing cold courts and hectic day, your group truly did help us in a major way, Sara Ortins of Special Olympics Massachusetts said.
“The general feeling you get after attending an event is always incredibly rewarding and memorable, senior and co-president Jenn Mountain said.
ASC will be at the Club Fair and will be holding a J-Block meeting for those interested on October 15 in the Student Center.
The day Michael passed, the whole world was devastated; Facebook and Twitter statuses were changed, every news station was reporting on it, and of course, radio stations played his greatest hits non-stop.
One of the main reasons that Michael’s music remains so influential today, even though the majority of his songs were created in the 1980′s, is because they’re easy to relate to. It doesn’t matter what music taste someone prefers because no matter what, each of his songs is pack with so much emotion and realism that it is almost instantly captivating.
Michael is one of the only artists who, ever since he was a young child, has let his full potential shine. Whether it was through The Jackson 5, the movie-musical The Wiz, or his solo career, Michael never gave his fans a performance that was less than perfect.
His father, Joe Jackson, who worked Michael from a young age to hone his singing voice and dance moves impacting the other aspects of Michael’s life and career. As Michael grew, however, his insecurities did as well, and it became apparent that the hard work Mr. Jackson forced upon Michael did make him strive to be the best he could be, but nonetheless, scarred him in the long run.
His music was more genuine and unique compared to other artists of his time. In the beginning of his solo career, the upbeat tempos and heartfelt ballads filled albums such as Off the Wall and Thriller.
While I still like the creativity in Michael’s earlier albums, his later albums Bad and HIStory hold a much greater impact over me because of the intimate lyrics found in songs such as “Smooth Criminal and “The Way You Make Me Feel. These songs are much more personal and easier to relate to as a result of the media constantly portraying Michael in a negative light.
With numerous plastic surgeries, a skin condition, and child molestation charges, Michael tried to live as secluded as he could, a hard feat for someone of his stature. The hard times Michael went through, though, translate perfectly into songs such as “Black or White, “You Are Not Alone, “Man in the Mirror, and many more.
The biggest problem with Micahel’s career, however, is that people started to only see him for his flaws, not for his talent. It wasn’t until recently, when he was gone, that the international superstar became fully recognized just for his music.
At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, the show opened with Madonna giving a speech about Michael. The audience erupted into applause and tears when, in the first line of her speech, the superstar mentioned Michael’s name.
After Madonna spoke, Michael’s sister Janet, along with numerous dancers from Michael’s previous tours, gave a tribute performance to honor the “King and his greatness. The passion from the performers lasted throughout the night, never letting Michael’s soul leave the building.
Another way Michael will be remembered is through the movie This Is It, which follows his preparations for his last tour. Instead of thinking of the movie as the last time Michael will “be in concert, I know I will watch it as a reminder that no one will ever live up to the legend he was.]]>
While always wanting to be involved in music, Young didn’t fully start his musical endeavor until his freshman year.
His first legitimate band was called Lucifers Nightmare, which ended not long after it started. Young and some friends had “jammed for years but it wasn’t until in his senior year that a new project began.
Young’s most recent music project, Photo Sale, is an experimental and very original group. “If I were to describe [Photo Sale], it would be like if Explosions in the Sky and the Black Keys had a love child, and that love child was really into Sigur Ros and Radiohead, Young said.
Although the songs on Photo Sale’s Myspace are only of Young’s recordings, friends Motoki Otsuka and Dan Lawrence partake in the live performances. Photo Sale is also serving as Young and Otsuka’s senior W.I.S.E. project
instead of the skiing movie they had originally planned on doing.
Young’s music’s individuality is surely one to admire.
“For me, creating music is something that you can not put a label on because it’s always evolving into something new, Young said. Some favorite artists and main inspirations of his are Radiohead, Kings of Leon, and John Lennon.
Unlike the many other talented students at South who have been involved in theatrical arts since they were young, Young wasn’t as vocal about his love for music as a child. Young had always had a passion for music; he just didn’t realize it until later on in his life. “The transient nature of music is something I’ve always marveled at¦I would always stand under the speakers in the ceilings at McDonalds and listen to the songs through the static noise of the people ordering their Big Macs, Young said.
Young is also involved in Newton South’s gospel choir, Harambee, and is playing the role of George in the South Stage production of Stop Kiss.
Young has been involved in Harambee for two years, whereas Stop Kiss will be his first role in South Stage. “I auditioned for [Stop Kiss] because I made a promise to Anya Whelan-Smith that senior year I would audition. Then my sister wanted me to audition for Stop Kiss, so I did.
Along with music and acting, Young enjoys writing poetry and short stories and sharing the “genius artwork of Erik Peterson.As for the future, Jon plans on attending Northeastern where he will major in music. “I want to write, compose, and produce music. It’s either that or a career in the coalmines, Young said.Â]]>