Friday, December 29, 2017

What is New Hope’s Favorite Holiday Song?

Kayla Paul-Koch & Zach Meixler
Staff Writers
With the holiday season of course comes the abundance of festive music to put us in the happy and jolly spirit. Although so many songs to choose from, students at New Hope have voted for their favorite holiday song in a recent poll sent out.
 The more classic songs like "It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" surprisingly received the lowest number of votes which shows how taste in holiday music has evolved.
 The responses indicated that the infamous and iconic song "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey received 26.2% of the votes, winning the poll. In second place, the lesser known cover of "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer" by DMX won 18% of the votes. And in third place, "Jingle Bell Rock" received 10.8% of the votes.
 Through this poll, it has been shown that people’s favorite holiday tunes have strayed away from the more traditional and jazzy songs and that holiday music today is evolving to become more pop.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters

Riley Brennan

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has released on Dec. 15, and following the release weekend, has posted 22.2 million at the international box office.
  The movie has brought in less money than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though the circumstances are different. When The Force Awakens was released, Dec. 21, 2016, many countries were well into their holiday breaks. However, with The Last Jedi premiering on the 15, majority of countries were not in the midst of break. The Last Jedi is predicted to make up the difference throughout the holiday season.
  The film has received a score of a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, but has been received differently among critics. On the Rotten Tomatoes website, only 54% of viewers said that they liked the movie. These statistics are very representative of the buzz that has surrounded the movie, which has received mixed reviews. Senior Max Chuma felt very strongly, saying, “I hated it. They talked too much, the dialogue was corny, and not enough lightsabers. It was heartbreaking.” However, Senior Adam Sommers enjoyed the movie saying, “It set up the next movie really well, and while there wasn’t as much action as I thought there’d be, it was still really enjoyable.”
 The movie picks up where The Force Awakens leaves off, featuring both old and new characters. The Last Jedi follows a typical Star Wars movie, with the forces of good and evil at work, with the presence of plenty of spaceships and planets. There are definite twists and turns within the film, plenty of character develop, and as surprising amount of jokes and humor. The late Carrie Fisher, who stars as her iconic character Princess Leia, was given a tribute following the end of the movie, acknowledging the bittersweet experience of seeing her on screen. Fisher was also paid tribute at the premiere screening of The Last Jedi, where director and screenplay writer, Rian Johnson dedicated the night to her.
  Despite the mixed reviews, many fans are hoping for a follow up movie. There is buzz that a Star Wars IX is to come, under the guidance of J.J. Abrams, who is currently believed to serve as director, a screenwriter, and a producer of the film. The movie is predicted to be a released in 2019, as the departure of director Colin Trevorrow set production back slightly. The future of the next film, and anything beyond that, still seems to be very much in the air, but only time will tell.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

New Hope's Top 5 Albums of 2017

Stephen Prager
News Editor

Over the past week, New Hope students have been nominating and voting for their favorite albums of 2017.  We received over 50 votes encompassing over 20 very diverse albums.  Below are the five that got the most votes from New Hope students and a brief introduction to each.

5. Ed Sheeran - Divide (4 Votes): Ed Sheeran is best described as “perfectly pleasant”.  He’s almost wholly inoffensive and, under the right circumstances, offers easy-listening tracks that are exceptionally warm and comforting.  But since the inception of his role as an arena-filling torch-bearer for the Coldplays and Snow Patrols of yesteryear, his act has become rather stale.  His most recent album, Divide, reroutes his career somewhat by questioning and re-evaluating his notions of fame and success.  Its opener, “Eraser”, offers an uncharacteristically grave meta-commentary on the emptiness of stardom and gives way to several attempts by Sheeran to reinvent his tired standard sound.  For example, instead of a lead single like the sweet, but ultimately weightless “Thinking Out Loud”, Sheeran gives us “Shape of You”, a beat-heavy ode to a mysterious woman with an enthralling figure.  The album still dips into Sheeran’s seemingly bottomless well of airy acoustic tracks, which makes it hard to embrace as a full 180 degree turn.  But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Divide tracks that diverge from the beaten path are enough to make Sheeran an act worth following up on.

4. Pink Guy - Pink Season (5 Votes): One’s enjoyment of “Pink Guy’s” sophomore release is truly a matter of taste.  The brainchild of Youtube comedian Filthy Frank, this mixtape is packed to the brim with complete, unadulterated absurdity.  The album is purely humorous, with most of the material being derivative of the strange, puerile comedy found on Frank’s Youtube channel.  While the overtly raunchy material is largely hit or miss, the best tracks on the nearly 80-minute-long album are the ones with twisted concepts that come clean out of left field: the most notable of these are “Dog Festival Directions” and “Goofy’s Trial”.  The former is a cheery-sounding ukulele track with lyrics that provide nothing but detailed directions to a Chinese festival dedicated to the consumption of dogs.  The latter is a skit depicting Goofy, the lovable Disney character, taking the stand in court after perpetrating a mass homicide - a skit made absolutely hilarious by the deadpan seriousness of the prosecution and defense attorneys countered by Goofy nervously and insanely uttering “garsh!” and “hyuck!”.  It’s not humor that will work for everyone, and the album is assuredly not for the faint of heart, but it has some riotously funny material for fans of black comedy.

3. Harry Styles - Harry Styles (6 Votes): The eponymous debut album for the newly minted solo artist Harry Styles is impressive for a number of reasons.  For one thing, it manages to successfully shed the specter of One Direction in a way that’s believable, avoiding the trap of artificial edginess that some of his former bandmates fell into upon their first solo releases.  But it is also comfortably more mature than his One Direction outputs as well.  The album manages to survive on its own merits because, while everything fits into the box of accessible pop songs that won’t alienate the rabid 1D fandom, there is enough variety to keep the album engaging. 

2. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN (8 Votes): If nothing else DAMN. is proof that Kendrick Lamar is capable of producing more subdued tracks with roaring success.  It may not pack the raw intensity or thematic unity of its successor To Pimp a Butterfly, but DAMN. arguably has just as many high points.  Lamar is as venerable a writer as ever, as shown on dense narrative tracks like “XXX” and “DUCKWORTH”, which explore death and fate with remarkable deftness.  But on DAMN, Lamar also displays a breezier, more effortless appearance than he has in the past, and it results in anthemic tracks like “YAH” and “PRIDE” that rival the best of his career.

1. Khalid - American Teen (11 Votes): There is no better messenger to explain human connection in the information age than a person born into it.  American Teen’s creator, Khalid Robinson, is only nineteen years old, but is responsible for what might be the most insightful, relevant album of 2017.  On American Teen, Khalid explores the trials of love and loss in a way that is simultaneously original and immediately understandable in the modern age of communication.  The intimate communications he describes are complicated by a distance that is unique to the modern age - this is illustrated beautifully in the album’s breakout hit, “Location”, where he finds himself pleading with his online love interest for the barriers that are intrinsic to their internet relationship be torn down.  American Teen is a unique window into the world of the modern teenager.

Honorable Mentions:
Imagine Dragons - Evolve (4 Votes)
Lorde - Melodrama (3 Votes)
Tyler the Creator - Flower Boy (2 Votes)
Grace VanderWaal - Just the Beginning (2 Votes)
Halsey - Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2 Votes)

NHS select choir groups perform in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic

Victoria Siano

The NHS school district has a lot to be proud of, and its music programs are no exception. As early as June of last year, and continuing throughout September and November once school was back in session, the members of NHS’s select choir groups - Chamber and Madrigal Choir - practiced singing various christmas songs to prepare for their trip to Prague, Salzburg, and Munich.
  Led by the wonderful Mr. Bateman, the students had managed to perfect each song - even one that was in Czech - before leaving on Nov. 25. Once there, the group had a very busy schedule, performing in some highly regarded places such as the St. Nicholas Church in Prague, the Salzburg Cathedral (one of the oldest churches in the world), and the Silent Night Chapel in Austria (which stands on the site where the Christmas carol it is named after was first performed on Dec. 24, 1818). In addition to performing in these locations, on the last day of their trip, the group had also managed to squeeze in performing at a local nursing home, where they managed to bring a lot of joy to some of its residents and kick off their holiday season.
  Despite the exhausting demands of their performing schedule, the select choir groups still managed to have some fun and check out some of the tourist locations. In Prague they had visited the Old Town Square and saw the Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Hall, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Old Royal Palace. While in Austria, they had toured the St. Peter Churchyard (Mozart’s birthplace), the Great Festival Hall, the Christmas market (where many did much of their Christmas shopping), Fortress Hohensalzburg, and the salt mines. Similarly, while traveling through Germany, the group had managed to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle (which inspired the design of Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World) and The Marienplatz. 
  Over all, the select choir groups had a fantastic time on their trip, and are most certainly looking forward to their upcoming one to Italy in 2019.

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Hope Can Die of Laughter Thanks to the Mask and Zany Production of Candide

Jen Abele
Features Editor

Mask and Zany’s Production of Candide, directed by Mrs. Pittner, enjoyed a successful run from Nov. 9-11. The bawdy, chaotic, nature of the adaption made the show very entertaining.
 The show’s title character, Candide, played by Ben Dupont, is the illegitimate nephew of a German Baron, Blake Poulsen. He grows up in Baron’s castle, taught by the scholar Pangloss, deftly handled by Daniel Scanlon. Candide falls in love with the Baron’s daughter Cunégonde (Hope King). When the Baron catches the pair kissing, he banishes Candide from his kingdom. Candide is then drafted into the Bulgar army, flogged repeatedly, and does everything in his power to be united with Cunégonde while being accompanied by Cacambo (Phoebe Liucci), Dr. Pangloss, sheep, and others.
 Freshman Katelyn Cowen played Ben Franklin, Surgeon, and Slave Bladder. Freshman Sophia Danis played Unlucky Beggar, Revolutionary number two, and Mademoiselle YouYou. Freshman Caleb Ferraez played Bulgarian Soldier number one, Don Fernando, Don Issachar, and Sheep. Freshman Logan Palau Woman Soldier, Sexy Woman number one, and Ensemble. Freshman Anna Prager played Rattoli and Ensemble. Freshman Blake Poulsen played Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronckh, Grand Inquisitor, and Martin the Hyper-Active Pessimist. Freshman Meghan Siano played Lucky Nun, Mademoiselle MiMi, and Revolutionary number one. Freshman Jonah Silberman Heinrich Thunder-Ten-Tronckh, Biscayan, and Sheep.
  Junior Aidan Lear played Executioner number one and Sexy Woman number two. Junior Lola Dardzinski played Paquette, Cunégonde’s chambermaid. Junior Lauren Adler played the Amazonian Queen, Drill Sergeant, and Sheep number three. Junior Jaya Batra played the Bulgarian Deserter, Hot Grandmother, Woman Soldier, Amazonian Princess, and Sheep. Junior Tara Chumbley played Viceroy of Inquisition. Junior Sarah Harrison played Inspector General, Voltaire, and Sheep number two. Junior Grace Leister played as Woman Soldier, Horse number two, Bulgarian Soldier, and Ensemble. Junior Zach Meixler was part of the ensemble.
 Senior Sophia Carroll played the Baroness Thunder-Ten-Tronckh, woman soldier, Madame, Amazonian Princess, and Horse #1. Senior Isabella Mailer played Executioner number one, Sheep, and slave auctioneer. Senior Grace Zander played The old woman with only one buttock.
 The stage crew featured a collections of extremely talented people.  The set design was done by Morgan M. Manfredi; lighting design was created by Michael Howell; Tyler Horn served as the technical director; choreography was crafted by Bernadette Del Prado; properties artisan was Emma Repasy; Ryan Keating was the stage manager; Quinn Reinert was ASM; Michael Howell served as the light board operator, and  sound operation board was handled by Bryan Houlton. Technical Consulting was provided by McAfee Madding, art by Grace Leister, and Ms. Mary Dupont was the volunteer coordinator. T-shirts were provided by Kampus Klothes, and  videography services were provided by Mr. and Mrs. Giorgi and Alex DiGena. Amy Parker did the production photography and the snack stand was managed by Ms. Mary Dupont.
 Lola Dardzinski and Hope King were both in charge of the Marquee board. The carpenters who built the set were Tyler Horn, Michael Howell, Henry Chouteau, and Jerry Sun. Costumers were Amy Parker, Wendy Meckes, Parker Miele, and Sophia Borzilleri. The electricians were Michael Howell, McAfee Madding, and Henry Chouteau. The Run Crew were Deanna Bock, Sophia Borzilleri, Joey Buck, Henry Chouteau, Alex DiGena, Chloe Elias, Christian Keating, Matthew Lieber, Kaylee Lynch, and Jerry Sun. McAfee Madding Jr., was also in charge of sound design.
 Mask and Zany’s Candide was comical from beginning to end. It was a strong start to the year for Mask and Zany. This spring Mask and Zany will be performing Pippin.
  Those interested in seeing Candide should see Mrs. Pittner for a DVD.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Harvey Weinstein has been expelled from the television academy

Victoria Siano

On Nov. 7, 2017, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was banned for life from the Television Academy as a result of his sexual harassment and assault accusations from a number of women.
 The news of Mr. Weinstein’s charges had raised questions regarding his future in the nonprofit organization. In a hearing last month is was decided that the organization would take disciplinary action against him, the decision of which would be made after a hearing, which took place on Monday, Nov. 6, and the Television Academy’s governance voted to expel him from the Academy for life.
 The organization issued a statement to Variety magazine: “The Academy supports those speaking out against harassment in all forms and stands behind those who have been affected by this issue.”Due to this, the Academy has found the accusations made about Weinstein to be deeply disturbing and horrific, and as a means of better preventing such people from taking part in the organization, has been accelerating a process to review a potential membership code of conduct it had been reviewing before this information was discovered.”
 In a response to this issues, the company has released a statement claiming: “We are determined to play a role in protecting all television professionals from predatory harassment, ensuring they are able to practice their craft in a safe environment.”

 This banishment is just the most recent in a series of professional condemnations brought on by the recent accusations about his mistreatment towards women, with some of the other punishments consisting of being kicked out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, BAFTA, and being fired from the Weinstein Company - a company which he had co-founded. The forced departure from TWC has resulted in Weinstein suing to gain access to his personnel files and company email account.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Saturday Night Live Returns

Riley Brennan
Co-Editor In Chief

As September came to a close, and an abnormally hot fall persisted, Saturday Night Live returned for Season 43. The comedy sketch show, which recently dominated at the Emmy’s, the show and actresses/actors alike winning multiple awards, started the season off strong with host Ryan Gosling, and musical performance by Jay-Z. The show’s cold open featured Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, with appearances by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (played by Aidy Bryant), and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (played by Kate McKinnon). The three tackled current events, which was a reoccurring theme throughout the show. During the Weekend Update segment, anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che covered topics such as President Trump and his actions towards the hurricane in Puerto Rico, where Che’s strong word choices towards the president earned him a healthy amount of criticism and backlash. SNL however, is known for the strong opinions and stances they take on politics, which this season premiere was not lacking. During Jay-Z’s performance on the show, he made his own political statement by wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey.
 Politics aside, the show had numerous funny and random sketches and bits. Ryan Gosling reprised some of his roles from his last appearance on the show, and occasionally struggled to hold in laughter. This included his monologue, which revolved around his role in the movie La La Land, featuring a surprise appearance from his co-star, Emma Stone, where the two joked about “saving” the jazz music genre.
 The premiere also featured three new additions to the cast, including comedians Heidi Gardner, Luke Null, and Chris Reed. The three replace ex cast members Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer, and Sasheer Zamata, all who left at the end of last season.

Overall, Season 43 shows promise, which is a good thing seeing as it has big shoes to fill after last year’s season, earning the title of the most watched season in 23 years.