This semester’s first-year students were shepherded by Andy Abad and Patrice Rushen, two GRAMMY-nominated professionals and professors of popular music performance in USC Thornton. There was no shortage of good words for them among the students. At the intermission, Abad thanked his young performers for their hard work and sang their praises, informing the audience that they were witnessing “the future of pop music.” It was easy to see that the thrill of performance was at the forefront of each performers’ mind space. Many of the performers did not face any anxiety before their sets. While she may find herself a bit nervous offstage in “party settings,” Balady noted that she doesn’t suffer from any pre-performance jitters. Mariah Quintero, a first-year pop music student, performs with cohort at Tommy’s Place on Wednesday night. (Lindsey Yu | Daily Trojan) “Performing is very much a mental thing,” Morcote said. “You just have to get in the mindset and have fun with it.” The night opened with an electric rendition of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” led by Quintero, a junior majoring in psychology who is entering her first year in the popular music program. Her magnetic stage presence and natural chemistry with her band set the tone for the night; it was clear from the start that this cohort wasn’t lacking in spirit nor talent. One performer, Tippy Balady, asked the audience for a little “Respect” before launching into a soulful rendition of Aretha’s finest. Song selection ranged from fast-tempo, high energy numbers, such as Amii Stewart’s “Knock On Wood,” to more reflective and romantic tracks, such as Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The student performers had no trouble adjusting to the range of moods, finding their emotional base and engaging with whatever feelings the song demanded. Whether that called for sky-high ecstasy or subtle melancholy, they were tapped in. This proved to be a universal feeling among listeners, as many of the audience members found themselves standing up and dancing along to the soulful renditions of some of their favorite ’70s hits. It was very much a concert environment, and it would’ve been difficult not to crack a smile and bust a move while watching such a charming and lively group of young professionals. The Thornton School of Music’s first-year popular music students assembled at Tommy’s Place Wednesday for their first showcase. At the event, which was also their midterm, students divided into four bands to perform a set of ’70s Motown classics. Though their “first-year” label might imply inexperience, these students occupied the stage with uninhibited confidence, ready to put on a show. The performers’ sense of enjoyment was intoxicating. Their energy was infectious and lit up the basement at Tommy’s. For keyboardist Isabella Morcote, a freshman majoring in songwriting and popular music performance, getting in the right headspace was paramount. From the start of the night it was clear that this cohort — which welcomed themselves with a show-circle and group cheer — was a close one. Sam Bellavance, a freshman popular music major and bassist at Thursday night’s performance, recalls being extremely nervous for the first midterm in the fall, as he was unsure what to expect. But as time passed and the group became more comfortable, all nerves melted away. “It’s no ego, all love,” Quintero said. “This group really supports each other. We take each other to places we never would’ve imagined.” Throughout the night, there was no end to the adoration and gratitude the students felt toward Thornton’s faculty; it was clear they were all thankful to have a team of such encouraging and professional mentors. “The cohort becomes super tight within the first semester,” Bellavance said. “I love all of them, and I’ve been working gigs with some of the other singers too.” As she took the stage blinded by blue light and surrounded by an imposing crowd, Mariah Quintero was not one for nerves. She had put in the work and was ready to let that speak for itself. For her and her peers, that work spoke volumes. “Support” was the word of the night, as there was a tangible feeling of encouragement throughout the room. When the final performance of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” began, much of the room stood to sing and dance along with them. As singer-songwriter Cordelia Degher, a freshman majoring in popular musical performance, belted the final note and the night’s journey came to an end, it felt like a triumph for the entire cohort. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Balady, a freshman majoring in songwriting. “I was more excited to perform and do my craft. On stage, it’s me being my truest self.” “Everyone is actually really encouraging,” Balady said. “A lot of people think that it’s a high stakes, high pressure situation, but … everyone’s really there to support and we all learn from each other.” This sentiment was echoed by freshman popular music student and bassist Austin Brown, who appreciated how quickly the group had transitioned from cohort to community. “We’re really just kind of like a family,” Brown said. Throughout the semester, students were given three songs each week to perform and master for class. Of these, four songs were selected for the final showcase. As the showcase was a midterm, some of the songs were repeated between the bands, but they never felt stale. Each group brought their own personal flair and artistic choice to the songs; some opted for more contemporary vocals, while others adhered more toward the gospel-influences of the original Motown artists. Though each group’s arrangement varied in approach, there was a consistent energy throughout the show that unified the four bands. While their classmates performed, other members of the cohort shouted cheers of encouragement and even took to the floor to dance along to their friends’ performances. “The faculty is unparalleled,” Quintero said. “They give us such individualized attention and want to see us grow.” Throughout the department, encouragement and enthusiasm were abound among students to staff.
3. Caldwell makes a statementâ€¦Â One week ago at this time, the Bluejays were sitting at 1-1, having just played two low scoring games and having undefeated West Elk up next. Caldwell then throttled the Patriots 54-20.â€œWe really finally put it together offensively and played up to our capability,â€ said Sean Blosser, Caldwellâ€™s head coach for the fourth year. â€œDefensively, we got too complacent on tackling in the second half, and that was disappointing â€¦ But offensively we were completing drives that we werenâ€™t doing the first couple of weeks.â€ 1. The slate of Sumner County football games this week â€¦ 2. The last week before the stormâ€¦For 11-man football teams, the all-important district season – which determines what teams get into the playoffs â€” wonâ€™t be for another three weeks. But for the eight-man football teams, district begins next week.So this might be the last week to do some experimentation. Next week it gets all too real. 6. So what kind of team does Caldwell really have?â€¦Well, the Ward brothers are pretty good. Darin, who missed all of last season due to injury, is the senior quarterback. He runs a multiple zone scheme power-play offense, that may be in eight-man, but is as very much as sophisticated as any newer 11-man schemes out there.His younger brother, Colten, is only a sophomore but is already dominating defenses as a running back. He rushed for 195 yards and had five touchdowns.Defensively, Caldwell is a swarming machine playing mostly out of a 3-3 formation and manning the gaps. And the defense is not dominated by one person either. Against West Elk, eight different Bluejays made more than two tackles in the game. Sam Wencel led the evening in tackling against the Patriots with 7.5 tackles. Dilyn Lee had 7, Kyler Bruey, 7, C. Ward 6.5, Ross Kuhny 4, Kaden Halling 4, D. Ward 2.5, and Ian Young 2. â€œWe pride ourselves with great defense,â€ Blosser said. â€œIt may be eight-man football but we want to keep our opponent under 14 points every week.â€ 7. Elsewhereâ€¦ Oxford looks to reboundâ€¦The Wildcats had a promising start to the season. But that ended quickly in a non-league game with Udall where Oxfordâ€™s heated neighbor shellacked it 54-6.Oxford should rebound nicely against Flinthills, which is 1-2, which beat Elk Valley but was shellacked by Cedar Vale Dexter and Central of Burden. Caldwell at Cedar Vale/Dexter Skyline at Argonia-Attica Belle Plaine at W. Trinity 9. South Haven at Central-Burdenâ€¦Â This will be an interesting matchup. Central-Burden was manhandled by Argonia-Attica 74-34 last week. South Haven lost to Cedar Vale-Dexter 40-6. But both teams have the ability to win. South Haven beat Sedan 44-38 in week #2.Cardinals are 1-2 going in. Week #4 Douglass at Conway Sprgs. 10. Conway Springs and Belle Plaine should have uneventful weekâ€¦ Last week, the No. 2 ranked Conway Springs had the potential of losing to Garden Plaine, while winless Belle Plaine was hoping for a win over Bluestem. Neither scenario materialized.Look for Conway Springs to win big over Douglass this week. Belle Plaine may already be looking toward basketball season as it travels to Wichita Trinity this weekend.Follow us on Twitter. by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Ten things you need to know about Sumner County football for this weekâ€¦ 5. A different yearâ€¦Expectations are nothing new in Caldwell. But last year the Bluejays opened with really high expectations after making the playoffs the year before. Then everyone got hurt. Five players suffered season-ending injuries and one more was hampered for most of the season.In 2014, the expectations were not so high going in, but Caldwell is looking good so far. The Jays opened with a two-point win over Central-Burden on opening weekend in a game that was considered a good learning experience.â€œWe didnâ€™t know what to expect and we learned quickly that we had a lot of work to do,â€ Blosser said. â€œIn the long run, it was better for us to get a scare like that. Because since then we have been getting better each week.â€Then came the Udall game. Caldwell lost to what may be the eventual 2014 South-Central Border League champions. Udall must be pretty good after beating Oxford 54-6 last week. South Haven at Central-Burden Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments 4. Caldwell to battle Cedar Vale-Dexter and then huge district aheadâ€¦The Bluejays have their work cut out for them when they travel to Cedar Vale/Dexter Friday. The Spartans just put away the Cardinals 40-6 last week. But Blosser knows this is a game that wonâ€™t define Caldwellâ€™s season.â€œWe are more concerned about districts instead of the league to be honest with you,â€ Blosser said. â€œWe know we have to be on the top of our game because once district starts next week, and it will be a killer.â€Caldwell will open district hosting 3-0 Argonia-Attica, before traveling to Pretty Prairie and South Barber.â€œWe have to be ready to play,â€ Blosser said. 8. Pratt Skyline at Argonia-Atticaâ€¦The Titans have been impressive so far off to a 3-0 start in only its second year in existence.A&A, though, will be playing its toughest team of the season thus far at Attica. Skyline beat Pretty Prairie, which is pretty good, 52-34 last week. Oxford at Flinthills