Category Archives: Entertainment

Review: Cover Misleads, But Still a Good Read

When I picked up The Panopticon, by Jenni Fagan, the cover and the description on the inside flap of the book made it sound like a psychological thriller: a teenaged Scottish orphan “is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.” It made me think of Firestarter by Stephen King or, to go old school, 1977’s I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. Unfortunately, the book was not what I thought it would be. The “experiment” is just what Anais calls the hands of fate, or the powers that be, that seem to be conspiring to make her life in and out of foster care and group homes a living hell. Her struggles with drugs, crime and a lack of a sense of identity have plagued her from a young age, and the novel details how she survives, bruised and scarred, and eventually tries to reinvent herself. It is a fine book, compelling as a story of realistic fiction, but when I was expecting one genre and got a totally different one, I was disappointed. It’s like when you gulp from a glass expecting water and instead it’s milk . . . neither drink tastes bad, but you’re surprised and a little put off.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes to read about survivors of dysfunctional families, foster care, or drug abuse. The cast of characters is moving and heartbreaking, starting with the narrator, Anais, and her now-dead adoptive mother Theresa, a prostitute with a big heart. The friends that Anais makes at Panopticon, the group home she’s placed in while under investigation for assault on a police officer, are diverse and interesting. There are several wildly imaginative trippy scenes, some literal as a result of drug use and others more profound as Anais tries to understand her place in the world.

One challenge to reading the book is the Scottish slang, which you can usually figure out from the context. The bigger issue is the Scottish dialect, words like “cannae” for cannot, “tae” for “to” and “dinnae” for don’t. Scotland is one of those countries that speaks English, but a version that sounds very different from what we speak in the U.S. It took some getting used to. One last thing, there is generous use of the f— word so if that offends, then this book is not for you. There is also one brutal assault scene that could disturb some readers.

Review: “The Red Tent” Transports You In Time

Over the summer I picked up The Red Tent by Anita Diamant for some poolside reading, with the expectation that most of the writing would go straight over my head. In reality, this piece of historical fiction was one of the best books I have read all year. I felt like I was transported back to another time and place.

The Red Tent is set in Biblical times in the Middle East and Egypt. The story is told from the point of view of Dinah, the only daughter of the Jacob made famous in the Book of Genesis. Jacob was known for having four wives: Leah, Rachel, Billah, and Zilpah. Though Dinah was a child of Leah, she grew up surrounded by three other mothering figures, whom she referred to as aunts. Dinah’s narrative begins before she was even born and has an omniscient quality. The book starts with the day Jacob arrives near Laban’s camp in the desert. Laban is the father of Rachel and Leah and the father figure of Billah and Zilpah. On the very same day of his arrival, Jacob, who we soon learn is actually a cousin of the girls, proposes marriage to the beautiful Rachel. This offer is refused on account o her young age, but Jacob stays and becomes a valued family member and honored guest, working hard in the fields and managing Laban’s herd of sheep until the family is wealthier than they had ever been before. Thanks to a prank played by Zilpah, Jacob ends up marrying Leah first, but is soon followed by Rachel. Billah and Zilpah are given to Jacob as part of the dowry and, though they never actually marry, those women too become his wives. Dinah is born amidst 12 boys by a combination of the wives, and is treated by her mothers as one of the women. She spends time in the red tent, the women’s tent, and listens to their stories, advice, and complaints. Dinah learns of her mothers’ different relationships with her unusually kind father: Leah’s intellectual one, Rachel’s passionate one, Billah’s caring one, and Zilpah’s distant one. When Jacob’s family packs up and leaves Laban, who had become greedy and abusive, Dinah recounts life on the road for months until the clan finally settles in modern day Israel. Life for Dinah changes with her new location, and visits to Egypt introduce her to her true love and future husband, a young king. They live in happiness for only a brief reprieve before a tragic event provides a catalyst for the greatest adventure of Dinah’s life.

I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons, but primarily because I found it fascinating to see what life was like for a woman in Biblical times. Dinah had very little interaction with her fathers and brothers, but came to know her mothers better than she knew herself. Dinah portrays Leah as strong and wise Rachel as more beautiful, loving, and sensitive; Zilpah as mysterious and constantly making predictions of the future; and Billah as lovable and quiet. I also liked the way the story was told. The author matches the narration to Dinah’s age, for example, she observes different things at age 10 than at age 20, and responds to her surroundings differently. The Red Tent is not hard to read at all and written in modern English, making it quick and enjoyable.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes history class at school, but without all of the small details and memorization. This book transports you, and while you are in the desert with Jacob’s family, you cannot help but learn about their beliefs, culture, and way of life. I would also suggest this book as a read for girls, because it focuses mainly on a woman’s role and issues only a female would have faced. Finally, I think it is important to have a general knowledge of Jacob’s story in the Bible because it provides a foundation Anita Diamant builds on. Overall, I would give this book a solid five stars because once I cracked the spine I could not bear to put it down until I had finished!

Fay’s Favorites: What tops her reading list?

If you didn’t already know, this is Mrs. Christine Fay, one of the greatest English teachers here at Hanover High School. Mrs. Fay has been teaching English at Hanover High since September of 2003. This year, Fay is teaching sophomores, juniors and two sections of Advanced Placement Language and Composition. In the past, she has also taught freshman and seniors, but she truly enjoys teaching juniors because “they start to get serious about making some major decisions regarding their futures.” She likes to help guide them through that whole process.

Mrs. Fay’s favorite book is Angle of Repose by  her favorite author, Wallace Stegner. In this 1971 novel, you read about a man’s family living in the Midwest during the gold rush. Lyman Ward, fictional narrator of the book, also includes details about the disappointments of his life, including his divorce. “It really starts to feel as if you are living with the characters,” says Fay.

Interestingly enough, Fay found her love for reading at a very young age. At just the age of 7, Fay had started reading chapter books. Little House on the Prairie, one of the children’s books from the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was what opened Fay’s eyes into reading and she hasn’t stopped reading since. Not only was she reading at age 7, but she wrote a few books herself! “I used to write little picture books,” says Fay. More recently, Fay edited and published Walled-In: Anthology of the Apes! I guess you could say she’s definitely stepped it up since her picture book phase. This is not a novel, but a compilation of original writings, written by her AP students. A copy is available in the library or you can purchase this on!

Although Mrs. Fay could recommend countless books to countless students, one book she would recommend to all HHS students is Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco. This tells of the author’s experiences being bullied in school. “It makes you think twice before you say something” says Fay. ” And it gives you hope that it gets better.” It teaches you that “sometimes great adversity can lead to great success.”

Critiquing The Critics: The Cinema Snob

Well, I’m advertising a lot of “That Guy With The Glasses” producers, aren’t I? This man is certainly worth speaking about. Brad Jones created this character back in 2007, wanting to speak his disagreements with Roger Ebert, another movie critic. Roger Ebert was going into a large rant about a “slasher” film and “nothing more,” as Jones claims. So, he created “The Cinema Snob” out of his love for  Ebert’s and fellow critic Gene Siskel’s works, and to say what he thinks about all the films he’s watched.

The Cinema Snob, surprisingly, goes over exploitation films that were all directed and made in the ’60s-’80s. There have been a few ’90s movies put in there, but those were special occasions. He goes over exploitation films about these subjects: murder, sex, African Americans (when he does, he mainly makes fun of the white people acting in the film), gross-out humor, and plenty more.

Many watchers of his show claim it to be very crass and offensive. In each of his reviews, the delivery of his jokes are all deadpan, and they’re in NO WAY dead. The jokes are usually a homerun with me, and I enjoy watching every second. Also, I think people don’t like him because he tries to act pretentious, which doesn’t work some of the time. His fans urge him to do most of his reviews in the cynical and snarky sort of manner . . . So to see them sort of lose their minds in the comments posted in response to the videos makes me laugh sometimes.

Also, “The Cinema Snob” doesn’t usually do requests, which amuses me. He’ll do whatever he wants, and this proves that he doesn’t need his fans telling him what to do . . . Unlike “The Nostalgia Critic” (Doug Walker), who does practically everything his fans request.

Brad knows what makes a good show, and that’s being himself. He’s usually snarky, but is nice in real life. So, when he edits the episodes, he will usually throw out a hint as to what he’s going over. Also, he knows how to entertain. Brad gets in front of the camera, with the review script mostly memorized, and does whatever he thinks will get a laugh . . .  Which, most of the time, works out just fine.

Sure, some of the jokes can be rather offensive, but that’s his thing. After all, you have to offend at least 10 people to make at least 100 people laugh, right? That’s Brad’s philosophy, and it’s mine too. One day, I plan to make a review series, so I look to Brad and many other reviewers on “That Guy With The Glasses” for whatever I need (humor delivery advice, what content I want to look at, etc).

Overall, I think that “The Cinema Snob” is really funny, which is crucial for a series like his. You need to have a sense of humor when reviewing movies that people don’t know all too well, unless they have an “underground” following, in order for the movie to “leave a mark” that everyone can remember.

I give him a 4.5/5. I think that he could put a little more emotion into the delivery, but I think (in a way) that it’ll kind of mess up the show for him, so  it’s a 50/50 point.

Honest Review: “To Boldly Flee”

Hello, and welcome to another “Honest Review.” I realize that you are probably looking at the title of this movie and are thinking, “What the heck? I’ve never heard of this movie!” Well, let me give you some background.

This movie exists on two websites ( and, and is directed by the fabulous Doug Walker. Doug has already formed his instant fame online with his famous series “The Nostalgia Critic.” So, here came another feat to direct. He has other movies besides this one, but nothing is as good. Trust me when I say that Doug is not only an excellent director , but a great actor and writer as well.

This movie, as you guessed by the cover, is heavily sci-fi, with comedy sprinkled in. The actor list would be too long for me to get into, so I will say their names along the way. Let’s get started, shall we? Let’s review “To Boldly Flee” (contradictory much?).

Anyhow, we begin with Paw (Paul Schuler) sitting on his car, as he hears some odd frequencies from another planet coming in. Don’t ask me how this is possible from an Earthly laptop, but it just is. He then goes to his friends Joe Vargas, Leo Thompson & Lewis Lovhaug  to discuss what he has heard. Something big ends up happening, for this is the comeback of Nostalgia Critic’s (Doug Walker) old and supposedly dead friend, Ma-Ti (Bhargav Dronamraju). Before Lewis can even think about leaving, a robotic and evil version of himself comes in and locks him in the closet. Uh oh.

Speaking of  Doug, he has a psychotic enemy named Terl (Noah Antwiler), who is trying to get him arrested. Nobody would take a fake alien from the movie “Battlefield Earth” seriously, so the Nostalgia Critic  was only placed under house arrest. However, we see that Noah has the spirit of “Ma-Ti” trapped inside of him, so the Nostalgia Critic  and the others try to get to it. After getting all of the information they need, and the Critic realizing that the house arrest anklet is nearly impossible to bypass, he decides to create a spaceship to go to the source . . . The “Plot Hole.” This is where Ma-Ti is being held, so he can basically mess around with the planet however he wants.

Anyhow, after the spaceship has been built, it’s up, up, and away . . . To Nostalgia Critic’s house? I suppose that’s a clever way of working around the house arrest, isn’t it? All kinds of antics ensue while up on the ship, but let me explain the most important ones:

1.) JesuOtaku (Hope Chapman), after a shock from a machine her and CR (Chad Rocco) were building, she turns incredibly intelligent and begins to build all sorts of crazy machines to help Nostalgia Critic (Doug) out.

2.) Noah gets kidnapped, only to be saved by his friends SadPanda (Julien Diaz),  Sage (Bennett White) and . . . The Nostalgia Critic  in a Judge Dredd outfit? Awesome.

3.) Terl and Zod (also played by Doug) capture one of the shipmates, the Cinema Snob (Brad Jones). Not awesome, considering he’s the one who knows how to fix the missiles that were deactivated.

After all of this craziness happens . . . Oh wait, I’m forgetting someone, aren’t I? Lewis’s  robotic version of himself, of course. Oh, he just goes and turns Nostalgia Chick (Lindsay Ellis) and Todd in the Shadows (Todd Nathanson)  into robots. The oblivious Nostalgia Critic ignores this completely (for humor, I suppose), and allows Noah (the actor playing Terl) to be hooked up to a machine. This machine will allow the others to go into Noah’s mind, to “see” Ma-Ti ask him some questions. Good, but I’m still confused about why the Nostalgia Critic didn’t do anything about the obvious robots standing right in front of them! This is not answered as Film Brain (Mathew Buck) enters Noah’s  mind, to go to see Ma-Ti and ask him some questions, mainly to get the answer as to what Ma-Ti wants Nostalgia Critic  to “remember.”

Meanwhile, Cinema Snob confronts the “Executor” (“Emperor” spoof) of the ship, which Terl  and Zod help to run. Cinema Snob converts over to the bad side, making one of his friends on Nostalgia Critic’s ship seem to shiver. Luke, Cinema Snob’s friend, tries to get Cinema Snob back over to the good side, and does so when he goes over to Zod and Terl’s ship to fight the “Executor,” and wins.

All the while, everyone on Nostalgia Critic’s ship is now under a different commander. Phelous is telling the Nostalgia Critic’s  crew to attack the enemy  Zod and Terl’s ship. This attack includes the infamous Mario “blue shell,” created by JesuOtaku (Hope Chapman), Paw , and CR. HOLD ON. While all of this is going on, Nostalgia Critic  is going to the “Plot Hole”, which I guess is a gateway to the “real” world… As the Nostalgia Critic  meets his writer… Doug Walker himself.

Okay, here we go:

Cinema Snob: He turned back to the good side (Doug’s), along with Luke

Zod, “Executor”, and Terl (Noah): All killed with the assault from the crew of Nostalgia Critic’s (Doug’s) crew… Rather quickly, I might add.

Nostalgia Critic : Tries to go into the “real world”, but claims that it is probably just as “phony” as the world he’s in.

Happy ending? You bet! Everyone is re-united and the villains (Zod, Terl, and “Executor”) were all defeated forever. Well, the only bad thing is that Nostalgia Critic had to sacrifice himself over to the “Plot Hole” in order for it to die down, and allow everyone else to be safe.

My Final Take: Honestly, I am not that big of a fan of Sci-Fi, but this movie was amazing. The actors did an excellent job, Doug Walker himself is an amazing writer, the special effects (as expected) were well done, and there were only slight nitpicks to pick out.

Nitpicks: Okay, for one, how did Paw’s EARTH laptop pick up signals all the way from SPACE?

Second, if the “Plot Hole” was left alone for so long, why didn’t it take over space? (I guess Mathew really did tame the “Plot Hole” after all!)

Lastly, if the Cinema Snob knew the technology of Nostalgia Critic’s  ship well enough, wouldn’t he sort of know the villains’ (Zod, Terl, and “Executor”) ship too? If so, why didn’t he just escape before the three could take in away?

FINAL RATING: I give this movie a SOLID 10/10. If you have at least 3 hours to spare, give this a watch. I’d recommend it highly.

Honest Review: Film version of Cuckoo’s Nest strayed from the book

Hello, and welcome to Honest Reviews. Today we’re taking a look at the 1975 film version of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which I recently watched in my Senior Humanities class. Something definitely flew over this “nest,” but it wasn’t a bird. It was the mind of this director. Milos Forman was trying to recreate some of the … rather eventful things we’ve heard about this classic American novel published in 1962 by Ken Kesey. But, to be quite honest, he failed amazingly.

Let’s address something, though, before I get into the negatives. Jack Nicholson is amazing in this movie as McMurphy, a rather hyperactive individual who causes some problems (including strangling someone in the end); there’s no denying that. His acting is magnificent as usual, although I admit that’s coming from someone who loves his acting style.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… Let’s talk all about what made this book-to-film adaptation so very wrong.

 We have all of the characters as described in the book, set in a brutal mental ward in the 1960s. Oh wait, no we don’t. Harding doesn’t have those rather delicate hands that the book mentions. Oh no, you should see the size of them! They could fit a child’s head inside of them! For those of your wondering who Harding is, he is supposed to be a rather smart individual and very talkative. He is in the book, but the movie practically strips all of his dialogue (or makes it too simplistic).

But the Nurse is still there, right? Yeah, but she’s not looking as the book described. You would think that she would have the body to match the vivid descriptions of the book, but no. In this book, the Nurse really seems to be described as a rather busty looking woman, with an obnoxiously mean personality. Played by actress Louise Fletcher, Nurse Ratched has the body of a rather anorexic-looking woman.

There are way too many inconsistencies in this film to count, so why don’t we bounce back over to the positives for a moment?

To be honest, I think that Fletcher plays her part really well. I mean, she has the same attitude the Nurse has in the book, despite her physical differences. When it came down to the voting process of whether or not to allow the patients to watch the World Series, her attitude was still stone cold, refusing to count the votes. Nicholson does a great job of portraying McMurphy’s boisterous and vibrant personality, seeing as his acting is usually off the wall. In fact, I think everyone does a good job, in terms of line delivery. The director proves he did indeed read the book with the accurate portrayal of the scene where Candy (a newer female character) breaks into the ward with some booze to share.

Now back to the inconsistencies that drive me up a wall.

 For one, the novel is supposed to be told from the point of view of Chief Bromden, the rather strong and silent type, so when the movie randomly makes the switch to McMurphy’s point of view, it threw me completely off. Not only this, but McMurphy seems rather energized for someone who just entered a mental institution in the ‘60s, doesn’t he? Maybe there’s something in his mind telling him he’s actually insane. I’d say Nicholson himself is insane and not McMurphy, but ignoring potential mental illness, let’s move on. The hospital seems more frantic than it was described in the book, doesn’t it? People running around screaming, mumbling to themselves in the halls… It feels like an early ‘90s MTV music video. Am I supposed to be enthralled… Or creeped out?

And while the movie actually manages to follow through with Bromden revealing that he can talk, he doesn’t talk as much as he did in the book! sigh See, you can’t look into the light for too long in this movie, can you? Before you know it, you will be burned. Also, hey! Milos also got the whole Nurse strangulation thing right too, another MAJOR plot point… That happens just before McMurphy is sent up to be lobotomized. How ironic. The Nurse feels weak at that point, all (probably) because she’s lost her dignity and pride, all because she refused to send McMurphy up when she could’ve earlier on in the story.

 At least the director got the ending right! It’s a miracle! Yes, the whole “Chief smothering McMurphy” thing wasn’t ignored after all. I mean, I understand if you don’t think that McMurphy should live after being lobotomized, but let the man die on his own. That took some dignity out of McMurphy for me to be honest. I am still happy that the Director incorporated the correct ending, and didn’t fade to black or something.

In fact, let me end the review by saying this: This movie was okay. I mean, it wasn’t crystal clear in terms of getting some details correct… like some major dialogue! But, the acting was well done, Forman at least carried over a majority of the scenes correctly, and the movie was in the right spirit. Although mental hospitals are completely different nowadays, I still got goosebumps before I even get to the ending!

 Overall Rating (IMDB Based):  7.5/10

Concert Showcasing Vocal, Instrumental Groups Hits a High Note

As a part of March is Music Month, music students collaborated to create an amazing night of vocal and instrumental music on March 13. The 90-minute Collaborative Concert is always an excellent performance to go to, and this year was no exception. It gave parents an opportunity to see their own kids who are in band or chorus, and also take a listen to the other wonderful groups performing. While Concert Chorus has only about 20 kids or so, there is still excellent sound quality. Sure, with plenty of foreign pieces, there were some nerves that definitely were on the rise. I assure the nerves were unneeded. After all, students gave a performance that everyone deserved to see!

By Steve Ryerson
By Steve Ryerson

But, why do we do this almost every year? Seems like tradition to me, and this has been confirmed by band director Mr. Ketchen.

The collaborative concert has been a tradition since before his arrival at Hanover High School in 2008, Mr. Ketchen said. He firmly believes that the tradition is a fantastic way to model both the vocal and instrumental ensembles, without creating a concert that is much too long. When asked if he had a favorite ensemble amongst the larger group, Mr. Ketchen explained that he cannot pick favorites, as he said, “I only compare the ensembles with themselves.” This means that he asks each instrumental group how they feel about their performance over a certain amount of time (a week, 3 days, etc.). Mr. Ketchen and I do share one thing in common: We both love the whole collaboration itself. I personally enjoy the band’s performances every year I’ve been a part of this concert, and I’m sure Mr. Ketchen has enjoyed some of the vocalists performances as well.

By Steve Ryserson
By Steve Ryserson

Ms. Bertelli, the chorus director, said she enjoys the joining of each of the ensembles. I agree, since the result is usually a wonderful night full of even better music. When Ms. Bertelli is spending some time in the “Music Library,” picking the music that will be performed, she keeps in mind that she wants the audience to say that they “at least loved one piece.” The songs she picked are very diverse, and included, “Cantique de Jean Racine” (French piece), “Salmo 150” (Latin piece), and one of my personal favorites, “Gate Gate” (Indian or Buddhist piece).

Ms. Bertelli said she loves Chorale because they’re the “babies,” who can easily gain a whole new learning experience. She and I both love Concert Chorus because of the fact that we’re all in it together, and that we learn in such a large and educated group. VOX is in her sights as well, due to the fact that the girls are “game” for going over pieces that are worthy of taking to any of the competitions, and those always come out fantastic. Each of these ensembles gave it their all, even if some were performing with the band.

By Steve Ryerson
By Steve Ryerson

Overall, I felt like this was an amazing experience, especially with the way that the Jazz Ensemble ended the show! It felt like there was a wall of sound all around us the entire night. Ms. Bertelli and Mr. Ketchen told their students that there were some small mistakes they might need to fix for  the M.I.C.C.A (Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association) festival, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they both thought the concert was certainly better, in terms of quality, since September, and showed how much students have grown with their hard work.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Movie Review

By Jillian Drummy

Despite being out for over a month now, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still making its way through theaters throughout the country and the world. It has now had close to six weeks in the box office, and has been a commercial success- truly living up to the greatness of the first Hunger Games film. A change to the second film of the series was the loss of the director Gary Ross, who directed the first film. Under the pressure to create theatrical work just as great, new director Francis Lawrence did just so. The film follows many of the book’s most unique details, and the setting of the film was completely accurate to the vast and imaginative world fans pictured in their minds. Many dedicated fans to any series will say that the movie is never as good as the book, and however true this may be, Catching Fire did come very close. Today, after six weeks, it currently holds the place of the 36th highest grossing film of all time, trailing behind some of the most famous movies of all time.

Seeing the midnight premiere was a personal highlight for me as a fan, to have a first viewing and finally end the very long wait. To add even more to an already great film, the large amount of additional cast members that were added on to this film were excellent. In Catching Fire, many new characters are introduced and play strong roles through the book, and the movie as well, and continue to be present within the remainder of the trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence, reprising her role as Katniss and a recent winner of an Oscar, came back even strong. Not only did Catching Fire personally impress me greatly, but with the evidence from its box-office success and critical reactions, it left other viewers feeling just as satisfied.

The Night Before Christmas: A Holiday Instrumental Concert

The Auditorium came alive on December 19 for the annual Hanover High School Winter Band Concert featuring Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Ensemble. All of these instrumental groups rehearsed during and after school in the months leading up to this concert.

Concert Band is Hanover High School’s traditional “school band” and it started off the concert as it always does with five pieces. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson) started the concert because it is a classic holiday song that most people are familiar with even if they do not recognize the name. Next was Farandole (Georges Bizet), in which the flutes and clarinets had a brief solo. After that, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring is a famous Bach chorale. All chorales are known for their relatively simple melodies, what makes a chorale special is how the rest of the Band comes together with separate harmonizations to support it. In fact, almost every person in the Band played a separate part in order to make the piece come together as beautifully as it did. The relative calmness of the chorale was a perfect contrast for the excitement of Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson). The trumpet section really took the lead in their rousing performance. Concert Band’s final song of the night was ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (arr. by Bill Holcombe), which featured the narration talents of Superintendent Ferron. He narrated the famous poem while the Band played music to set the mood. Out of all the songs Concert Band played, this was the song that the most work and practice went into. While everyone was nervous of how it was going to sound going into the Concert, everyone in Concert Band was overjoyed at the performance.

After Concert Band left the stage to a standing ovation, Percussion Ensemble quickly took the stage. Percussion Ensemble is an afte- school group of the Concert Band percussionists. For the Winter Concert they performed an arrangement of O’ Holy Night. The uniqueness of their chosen arrangement quickly captivated the attention of the audience.

Jazz Lab followed. Jazz Lab is a group that allows any interest student to join and play solos over traditional jazz standards. For this concert, two standards were played: “Red’s Good Groove” by Red Garland and” Listen Here” by Eddie Harris. During the performance of” Red Good Groove,” Chris Clarke (alto sax), David Raab (clarinet) and James Burke (guitar) all performed solos. Soloists for “Listen Here” included Nate Hanrahan (soprano sax), David Raab (clarinet), and James Burke (guitar). It was clear that the audience was impressed with the variety of instruments and solos that were made from these two jazz classics.

Immediately after the applause died down for Jazz Lab, Jazz Ensemble performed. Jazz Ensemble is an audition-based band which emulates a 193os era Big Band. Big Bands are composed of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and various percussion.  In addition to performing at concerts, they are available for community events (gigs) and compete in competitions in the spring. For this concert they played two Christmas songs: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a medley of famous Christmas Carols called “Christmas Joy and Spirit.” Their traditional jazz standard was” Second Line (Joe Avery Blues),” which featured soloists Bobby McDermott on trumpet, Jake Prescott on alto sax, and Brian Meehan on tenor sax.

 To see a video of the Holiday Band Concert please visit

Gaming Review: Call of Duty vs. Battlefield

By Anders Carlson

In today’s gaming market, first and third person shooters reign supreme. In particular, two franchises; Call of Duty and Battlefield, make huge sales each year. And I’m here to decide which one is best, or maybe just list their positives and negatives.

Call of Duty: Call of Duty has received a bad rap the last couple games for “being the same game but with new maps and guns”, glorified DLC. I feel that new CoDs offers more to the player than just maps and different guns. The multiplayer in CoD games has always been the benchmark for the FPS genre. Fast paced, easy to learn and not prone to lag, it has gained a large amount if players. People also cite the lack of graphical improvement went compared to Battlefield, but Call of Duty has always been made for consoles, so high end graphics are not really attainable on 5 year old hardware. This means that any computer can run most Call of Duty games. In the end, Call of Duty is a fun, easy to play, but very limited FPS.

Battlefield: One thing you can say is that it is expansive, the average Battlefield map is twice as large as a Call of Duty map. It is also more ambitious, featuring usable fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and other vehicles. Up to 32 players are common place. This makes Battlefield a much more varied game to play, with air battles, tank charges and large scale infantry fights all happening on the same map. Battlefield also uses the Frostbite Engine, which produces some of the best graphics in video games however, this also limits the game. I believe that the FPS genre is best played on a PC, and even my PC, which can run most games at the maximum setting, cannot run Battlefield 4 since the graphics card is out of date. It is 1-2 years old, which in terms of a computer is not old at all. Even Battlefield 3, which is 2 years old, I can only run at medium settings. This means that to be able to run it, you really need a high grade computer, which most people don’t have. But when it does run, it is a incredible game.

These two games are extremely different in their appeal, and choosing between them is really up to your needs. Do you want your FPS to be quick, easy and basic, or grand, open and varied? It really is up to you.