New York City’s Backtrack Vocals coming to Saegertown tomorrow

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

On Thursday May 3, Backtrack Vocals (an award-winning New York based, five-person a cappella group) will perform for Saegertown High School students at 1 p.m. in the auditorium.

In addition, the group will offer workshops for students in Mrs. Susan James’ chorus classes on topics including movement/stage presence, group vocal improvisation, beatboxing, and singing solos.

Backtrack Vocals performs around the United States at universities, concert halls, festivals, high schools and private functions. Noteworthy locations they’ve appeared at are Carnegie Hall, Apollo Theater and Beacon Theater.

Mrs. James is excited for the opportunity. “I hope it will help them [chorus members] see the possibilities of where singing could take them. I want them to have a different perspective than just their music teacher,” Mrs. James said. “As for everyone else, I just want them to have a good time and see something they don’t usually see live.”

The group’s web site states: “Backtrack explores the power of the human voice through unique vocal arrangements, tight harmonies and world-class beatboxing. The group pushes the limits of a cappella, creating impressive covers of past and present pop music, writing inspiring original compositions and daring to take on unexpected genres such as classical and electronic music.”

Backtrack has won multiple awards such as the 2017 Steve Harvey’s Sing Off Winner, 2017 International Championship of A Cappella Open (Final); Best Beatbox, 2017 International Championship of A Cappella Open (Northeast Semi-final); First Place, Best Arrangement, 2017 Aca-Challenge; First Place; Audience Favorite and 2016 YouTube Next Up competition Winner.

Backtrack has accumulated almost ten million views on their YouTube page ‘Backtrack Vocals,’ with 109,800 subscribers. You can visit them at their website, www.backtrackvocals.com, Facebook, Instagram, or download their music on iTunes.

 

Art students create cover for Alumni Banquet

by Hannah Nicholson, opinion editor

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From left to right, Meadow Campbell, Carla Conrad, Melanie Twiford, and Paula Stachuletz

Several weeks ago, Saegertown art teacher Mrs. Papinchak assigned her students to create a cover for the program of the Saegertown Alumni Association’s annual banquet. This is a yearly assignment for Papinchak’s students, but this year the outcome was unusual. While there is usually just one winner chosen, this year there were three: Paula Stachuletz, Melanie Twiford, and Meadow Campbell.

“I thought it was really nice that they picked three winners this year. There were a lot of entries,” Papinchak said. Carla Conrad, a representative for the alumni association, met with the students personally to deliver the checks for their contributions to the banquet. Each student received $25.

The students were all happily surprised to have won. “I was very surprised. I did not expect to win, so it is a pleasure that I actually did,” Campbell said.  

The banquet will be held at Smith’s Country Garden on August 4 where the three art pieces will be displayed.

‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’: a thrilling follow-up to a classic

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

The year 2017 was filled with many award-winning and extravagant films. At the end of 2017, however, another hit was released that had a special touch to it that can’t be denied. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” is a follow-up to the 1995 classic film “Jumanji” that is based on a story of four teenagers who get sucked into a video game that they’ve never heard of or seen before. The teenagers, Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany have to live the life of the avatars that they’ve chosen and beat the game with their hilarious new attributes in order to return home.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” adds an uproarious twist when the actors in the film get transformed into the avatars that they’ve chosen, many of whom are completely opposite to their real life personalities. Spencer, a nerdy student played by Alex Wolff and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is Dr. Smolder Bravestone. Fridge, the athletic football star played by Ser’Darius Blain and Kevin Hart, is Franklin “Mouse” Finbar. Bethany, the dramatic beauty queen played by Madison Iseman and ironically Jack Black, is Professor Shelly Oberon. Finally, Martha, the self-conscious loner played by Morgan Turner and Karen Gillan, is Ruby Roundhouse.

The four characters can exit the game, but they have to defeat all of the levels with the three lives they received when they first entered Jumanji. Characters who lose all their lives will die in the game and never go back to their real-life home. Therefore, the four teenagers who have transformed into adults in the game have to “find the missing piece, return the jewel back to the Jaguar, lift the curse and save Jumanji,” as said from the tour guide in the film, Nigel.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is a success with a rating of 76 percent, beating the original 1995 “Jumanji” film by over twenty percent.  Rotten Tomatoes notes: “‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.” iMBd (Internet Movie Database) rated the movie a 7/10, narrowly beating the original film, which was rated a 6.9/10. The movie is currently ranked forty-second on the all time worldwide box office gross list, crushing its predecessor, as the original “Jumanji” film is currently sitting in the 509th slot on the very same list.

The first time I watched the trailer for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” I was in love from the start. When I watched it in theaters; the movie was unlike any other I’ve ever seen before because of the thrilling action, mystery, and hilarious comedy that it offered. It was statistically one of the best films of 2017, being the fifth best worldwide box office film of the year behind “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Fate and the Furious”, and “Despicable Me 3.”

Veteran Panther Press movie reviewer Dustin Steiger said, “‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ was a comedic masterpiece, and I would definitely recommend watching it!” “It was enjoyable from the get-go and it kept the audience laughing, myself included.”