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The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Bowie celebrates fine arts programs

We Love Austin Music Initiative turns heads in the cafeteria during a week-long event
The week-long performances allow students in these programs to show off their skills and experience playing music for a live audience.
ALL+EYES+ON+THE+MUSIC%3A+Choir+teacher+Aaron+Bourgeois+assists+student+with+choir-led+karaoke+booth.+
Gabby Bochey
ALL EYES ON THE MUSIC: Choir teacher Aaron Bourgeois assists student with choir-led karaoke booth.

As guitars are tuned and drums are tested, the cafeteria buzzes with student chatter. Students and teachers collaborated to put on the We Love Austin Music Showcase. Through collaboration amongst the fine arts programs, students from each elective perform a practiced piece to the rest of the student body during lunch hour in the cafeteria. Students were presented with jazz combos, live piano solos, sing-along karaoke, and dancing.

“We Love Austin Music is an initiative by the city of Austin, but it is really through non-profits like Texas Cultural Trust, Austin Music Foundation, and Kane TX radio station,” music theory and piano teacher Randy Cantu said.

The week-long performances allow students in these programs to show off their skills and experience playing music for a live audience.

“We love Austin Music Week, is the effort of the Texas Cultural Trust to bring awareness to the art and music programs specifically on our campuses,” Cantu said. “We hope that one day, schools all around will be doing this.”

The fine arts programs hope that by exposing other students to these electives, more students will be inclined to partake in the programs and explore different musical pathways at Bowie.

“A big part of this event is the involvement of the student body and their leadership,” Cantu said. “It has been cool seeing people come out and ask, ‘Hey, can we talk about this photo and this video.’”

The execution of the activities required a lot of coordination and planning. The participating students, their teachers, and staff helped showcase the events, which paid off as many students enjoyed the performances.

Jazz band warms up on the keys for their lunch time performance. (Will Olenick)

“It was a matter of having a conversation with the music teachers about their interest and availability for these events to take place,” Cantu said. “This also goes for the students and whether or not they wanted to participate.”

Students volunteered their time to participate in these daily performances. Teachers communicated with their students about the opportunity to perform in the cafeteria to showcase their electives.

“Our band directors told us that the band was going to kick off the week with some jazz combos, and since none of the other saxophones wanted to do it, I decided to participate,” senior Layth Rafati said.

Participants were notified of the showcase and had only a tiny amount of time to prepare. However, students and teachers quickly set up instruments, speakers, amps, and microphones.

“We weren’t given a ton of time to prepare for only a couple of days,” Rafati said. “In that time, someone in our group recommended 2nd Line, which some people might recognize; it’s pretty easy to throw together, and it was pretty easy to fit a couple of solo sections in as well.”

Even with quick preparation time, participants still enjoyed performing alongside their friends and putting on a show for the audience.

“I jumped on the opportunity to help with the choir spirit day,” senior Laura Schulze said. “It was fun seeing everyone get excited about singing songs and hearing their friends sing.”

A sense of community and positivity fills the cafeteria when students watch their peers perform their small performances. Many students say they enjoy this different type of background entertainment, making their lunch period more enjoyable and kickback-filled.

“I think this was good for morale on campus,” junior Emma McMillian said. “These pieces of fun entertainment switched up the school environment and made the cafeteria a more lively place.”

The event’s first two days consisted of the guitar and live music program, orchestra, and piano electives. Starting the week off with the jazz band, participants set the tone for the rest of the week.

Trombone player Olivia Hernandez preforms in the school cafeteria, kicking off the We Love Austin Music week.

“I enjoyed the first two days as it was more background music,” junior Emma McMillian said. “I particularly liked the jazz band. I could still hear my conversation amongst all the instruments, making for a really calm environment.”

The following days consisted of musical theater and choir karaoke. The choir program provided an open mic for anyone who wanted to share their singing talent, and musical theater surprised their peers by breaking out into a dance.

“The musical theater performance caught me a bit off guard, but it was still entertaining, and they definitely caught people’s attention,” McMillian said. “The choir was interesting as it got other people involved. I liked the more low-key performances because they were more comfortable to endure.”

Many students thought the event should have taken place in the courtyard. However, We Love Austin Music had to be relocated to the cafeteria due to weather conditions.

“I wish the weather had been nicer, and we could have held the event in the courtyard,” Schulze said. “It would have been more enjoyable, as the music would have been less overwhelming to everyone in the cafeteria and would have been a bit more of an optional atmosphere for students.”

Although the weather limited the events, students, teachers, and staff made the best of the situation and came together to provide great entertainment.

“I like it in the cafeteria because more people can be involved and entertained,” McMillian said. “It was nice watching other students and their creative abilities.”

More We Love Austin Music will be planned in the future. Since Austin is the world’s music capital, students and teachers want to celebrate that on not just our campus but on others all around.

“I’m hoping we can celebrate this in conjunction with the city and the community every day,” Cantu said.

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