Monthly Archives: December 2014

My First Semester

Overall, my first semester of college has been an absolute blur. I have been incredibly busy every single day since August 25th with Blue Band and school work. With all the hecticness, I have been rather stressed out, but I think it was a good acclimating experience. College is obviously a lot different than high school, and this first semester has taught me that. So, rather than look at it through a pessimistic lens, I am thankful for this first semester.

My semester in RCL has helped me learn how to adapt. I did not do too well on my Civic Artifact speech, so I knew I needed to change what I was doing in order to get the grades I wanted on the next assignments. My time in this class has really taught me how to look at the world and all the literary characteristics of society with an analytical eye. I have been able to see what advertisers’ true intentions were when designing commercials, magazine spreads, etc. I have also been able to reflect and comment on shifts that have occurred in many aspects of society.

I am excited for next semester, where I will learn to make arguments with my writing. While we did not do much of this in RCL I, it is important to develop analysis skills before learning how to persuade others to follow my thinking.

I feel as though I began this semester off struggling to fit the assignment. However, this semester has taught me how to mold my ideas into the framework of an assignment, which has allowed me to do much better on the past few assignments. I think I have excelled in picking unique topics and taking a unique spin on these topics, which I think has made my work interesting and fresh.

I look forward to next semester, and the remainder of my time here at Penn State, because now I know that even though I may struggle at times, I will come out stronger. College is one long learning experience, and I am excited to see what kind of person I am when I graduate.

Carolina Crown’s 2014 Production, “Out of this World”

Carolina Crown’s 2014 production, “Out of this World,” follows Major Tom on his journey away from Earth into the far reaches of Space, his loneliness when communication is lost, and his happiness when returning home.

Evaluation

Overall Score: 95.45

General Effect: 37.00

This show tells its story very well. Through the use of electronics in the front ensemble imitating futuristic weapons and rocket launch sounds, the use of trampolines to create a “zero-gravity” feel to the show, and very Space-like and triumphant music, Major Tom’s story is told very well. However, the main thing missing from this show was visual representations of Space travel. Not many of the forms made by the performers explicitly represented space travel, and I think if more of these forms were utilized, the show would have been better.

Visual: 19.30, 19.60, 19.50 – 29.20

Color Guard: The main issue I had with the color guard throughout this show was that they did not catch my eye. This is not entirely their fault, for the drill being performed by the rest of the corps was very eye-catching because of its difficulty. However, the job of the color guard is to add color and flare to the show, and I do not believe they did this as well as they could have. Their flags were bright and shiny, and some of their work was difficult, but overall, I was not wowed by their performance.

General: As mentioned above, more could have been done to visually enhance this show. That does not mean that what was presented was bad. In the beginning of the show, the corps is spread out haphazardly on the field, and as ground control counts down to launch, the corps forms a uniform block. This effect is great as it shows the myriad of moving parts that go into a shuttle launch, as well as shows everything that could go wrong during a launch. Despite these possibilities for failure, launches occur very seamlessly and orderly, as evidenced by the drill. I also mentioned the high level of difficulty of this drill. The performers are running throughout the entire production, and their stamina is very impressive.

Music: 19.70, 19.80, 19.00 – 29.25

General Music: As mentioned before, the electronics used in the front ensemble add a very space-like tone to the show. Also, the music played by the whole corps is very reminiscent of a journey through Space. During the launch and travel to the far reaches of Space the music is very triumphant. At the time of the show where Major Tom is lonely and hopeless when communication is lost, the music wonderfully reflects these feelings. Also, ensemble voices were paired very nicely. For example, in the first movement, the tenor drums played with the mid brass (mellophones and baritones), the snares played with the trumpets, and the bass drums played with the tubas. This pairing of instruments highlights their respective ranges very nicely, and is pleasing to the ear.

Hornline: The hornline does a phenomenal job throughout the show of not letting their drill affect the way they play their instruments. Despite running almost the entire show, it sounds as if the hornline is standing still. The balance from player to player is incredible, and the sound is very pleasing. However, I feel that the hornline could have showed a little more dynamic contrast to add to the emotion of the show. In the ballad (the section where only the hornline and front ensemble play), I feel like varying volume would have packed a stronger emotional punch, especially at such a pivotal part of the story.

Percussion: The percussion was the worst of the five corps that I have evaluated so far. Granted, they are still performing at a very high level, but there were a lot of times where it sounded as if more than one person was playing. That being said, the percussion did a lot to add to this show. One of my favorite moments is when the battery plays on mufflers and metallic plates. This section does a great job of representing Major Tom drifting through empty Space, heading into an unknown world.

A nice little video of a snare drummer’s drum falling off during the finals performance. Luckily, the judge was there to save the day. This video also gives you a good view of how many fans there are in attendance at finals.