All band, all music

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photos by: Jennifer McGowen, staff photographer

honor band

The Mt. Vernon High School band added another award to their long list of accomplishments. The band has earned the “All-Music Award” for their accomplishments this year. The last time the band earned this honor was in 2013, and before then the band had only won it three times.

In order to earn the award, the band must earn a gold at a state marching competition, a gold in a jazz festival, a gold at a concert band festival, and must have one ensemble and one soloist earn a gold at the state final level. The Mt. Vernon band met, and exceeded in some cases, all these requirements, with more than 30 students earning gold medals at the state solo and ensemble finalist.

Students at Mt. Vernon were obviously astounded upon hearing this news.

“It’s super cool that they are able to do that,” said Stephen Shilling, 12. “We have a talented band program here at MV.”

The Mt. Vernon band will participate in all the required events next year, making them eligible to receive the award again in 2017.

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Sanders rally

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photo by:Mackenzie Carpenter, Photography Editor

Bernie rally

I recently had the pleasure of attending a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders in Indianapolis. It was a very positive experience, and it only confirmed my furthered support for the candidate. Being my first political rally, it was also an interesting chance to take in the atmosphere and compare it to what I have seen of rallies for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

The rally started around 7, but I arrived at about 5. Monument circle was already packed with supporters for the candidate, cheering with signs and singing songs. There were a number of performers who kept the atmosphere alive with folk music before Sanders arrived. In addition, the main Sanders organizer for the area, a local IPS English teacher, gave a short speech about her support for Sanders before he arrived.

There was something different about this rally that what I have seen of Trump’s rallies. There was more of a sense of community among the members. Of course most of us were there to see Bernie Sanders, but we were also there to support each other. At Trump rallies it often seems like the members gather in some sort of weird, adulative ceremony for Trump, fuling his ego.

Sanders finally arrived, by way of helicopter, which was the only viable mode of transport considering he was campaigning in Fort Wayne a few hours earlier. In his speech, Sanders focused primarily on his plans to improve America, rather than speaking about other candidates. It is notable that Trump’s speeches are often accusatory. Although Sanders had points in his speech where he accused others for contributing to problems in America, they were not the focus of his speech. He also laid out his plans to cover the cost of his plans, something which candidates have attacked him for not doing.

MV students who attended the rally had positive opinions.

“I thought that Sander’s speech was powerful and really moving,” said Geneva Pleasant, 11.

All in all, the Sanders rally was a success and I am glad to have been able to attend.

Zayn is zaney

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

 

In March of 2016, Zayn Malik released his new album entitled “Mind of Mine.” This is the first album he has released since his departure from the popular boy band One Direction.

The album has a primarily R&B and pop vibe. However, I believe that this style draws heavily from his previous band, as the pop influences that were present in One Direction also show up in his newest album. His attempt to set himself apart lies heavily in the lyrics, which have proven to be more meaningful than in his past band, in my opinion.

One of my personal favorites on the track is “fOol fOr YoU,” which has a simple, melodic vibe. Malik’s use of piano at the beginning compliments the rest of the song’s melancholic lyric base.

Some students have similarly positive opinions of the new album.

“As a whole, I liked the album,” said Geneva Pleasant, 11. “But I thought that the song ‘Mind of Mind’ was supposed to have an R&B sound, but it ended up being pretty pop-based.”

Others did not like the album.

“I really didn’t like it,” said Leanza Valenti, 12. “I honestly thought it sounded too much like One Direction.”

In any case, songs from Malik’s album have reached the top of the charts and have received mixed reviews from fans of One Direction.

What Grinds My Gears

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

Mike Pence recently signed a law that severely restricts the right of women to obtain an abortion, as established by the Roe v. Wade supreme court case. Under the guise of protecting women, the bill prohibits abortions due to the fact that the baby will, or might, have “any disability.” In addition, the bill prohibits abortions due to ancestry, a thinly-veiled attempt at prohibiting abortion due to incest.

The bill purports to protect from discrimination, preventing women from having an abortion due to a fetus’s sex or race, but this is nothing more than a cover-up of a bill whose primary purpose is to restrict women’s rights.

The fact of the matter is, a woman should not be required legally to provide a reason for her abortion. She should not have to register with the government a pre-approved reason for abortion. This is an invasion of privacy and, as I see it, a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of a reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s person and effects.

No woman would seek an abortion out of pleasure. It is not an easy decision made out of some sadistic joy of destroying a potential child, it is one of deep consideration and emotional turmoil. The decision to obtain an abortion is a private concern, and the government has no right to invade this domain of intimacy.

In addition, the bill puts a financial burden on women. Under the bill, women must pay for funeral and cremation services if she is the victim of a miscarriage. It has been tradition for the hospital to cover the cost of a miscarriage, but this bill somehow charges women responsible for the miscarriage.

Opponents may say that harsher restrictions on abortion protect women from complications during abortion. However, the data of such procedures discount any reason for concern. According to the Center for Disease Control, legally obtained abortions have a mortality rate of 0.0007%. The mortality rate for colonoscopy-specific deaths, according to the CDC, is 0.007%. Compared to the mortality rate for colonoscopies, which is a recommended procedure for many adults, legally-obtained abortions are ten times less deadly.

The right to an abortion was guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. Also under this case, women are not required to list a reason for obtaining an abortion, calling into question the constitutionality of the law passed. Planned Parenthood v. Casey granted the right of the states to place certain restrictions that do not pose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

It is my belief that this bill places an undue burden on women and invades their right to privacy as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

“Hello” Adele

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photo by: Mackenzie Carpenter, Photo Editor

Adele CD

Adele Adkins has taken the stage once again with her new album, “25.” The album is the first after a four-year sabbatical that the star took in order to raise her son, Angelo Konecki. It has enjoyed record sales, surpassing the record for most first-week sales of any song, although this may also be due to the fact that music is now widely available for download on the Internet. Adele’s prowess has yet to heed as her album was at the top of many charts in the end of 2015.

The album is beautiful, featuring many heartfelt songs as one would expect from Adele.  From the popular “Hello” to “Remedy,” the album features slow songs with powerful vocals and telling messages. Adele opened her heart in “Remedy,” which was the first song she wrote that ended her period of writer’s block, according to Adele.

“I really enjoyed ‘When We Were Young,” said Mary Decker, 12. “Adele’s voice was so powerful and soulfull.”

My personal favorite of the album was “When We Were Young.” Adele crafted this song with a certain subtlety, yet the lyrics spoke volumes, conjuring images and sentiments of nostalgia from prior relationships.  Her soulful voice lulls the listener with beautiful lyrical phrases that cannot be ignored in Adele’s lyric-centered work. Her backup singers provided support during appropriate times in the song, pulling it together and making it seem complete. It is the kind of song where you just sit and soak in the music, listening silently, without a care in the world.

I cannot pick out a major negative point for the album. As a whole, it was a very soulful work, and I could feel Adele’s personality and experiences shining through the work and her carefully crafted lyrics. The album is near perfection, and I would award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What Grinds My Gears

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

You wanna know what grinds my gears? Mental illness mislabeling. This may seem like a petty issue, but such mislabeling abets the mental illness stigma that exists today, which is largely due to ignorance of mental illness.

We all have that one eccentric friend who likes to keep their room unnecessarily clean. It is fine to make jokes about it and poke fun, but it is not okay to say, “Oh my gosh, you’re so OCD.” Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a serious mental illness and when the term is misused, it propagates a stigma that keeps Americans misinformed about the reality of mental illness.

“The stereotyping of mental illness is both detrimental to the people who suffer from it as well as the societal perception of mental disorders,” said Sabrina Woods, 12. “And it’s even worse that it happens as often as it does.”

This misuse includes the word “depressed.” Just because someone is very sad does not mean they are clinically depressed. Clinical depression is a very real mental illness from which 3-5% of people across the world suffer. Claiming that someone is clinically depressed when they are only sad also contributes to the public ignorance of mental disorders.

When mental disorders are misunderstood and stereotypes are propagated, people with mental illness are shunned and forced to deal with prejudice that is detrimental to their well being.

Trump gets trumped

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

Adding to a lengthy list of political blunders, or as some see them, political successes, Donald Trump has once again managed to create a PR scandal– but this time, for himself.

Trump scheduled a press conference in preparation to announce that he is receiving support from over one hundred black ministers across the nation. The move was part of an effort to appeal to the black minority in the United States, which largely supports the Democratic party. Trump sent out invitations to several ministers to come to a meeting with him to discuss his endorsement.

Earlier this year, Trump held many smaller meetings with black ministers, some of whom ended up supporting him. They all stated that Trump did not make any sort of monetary donation to the church.

However, things fell short of Trump’s expectations. Several ministers refused to meet with Trump, some even denounced the invitation. As a result, Trump canceled the press conference, which was met with a strong media response as he had been advertising the conference beforehand.

Donald Trump gets trumped

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

Adding to a lengthy list of political blunders, or as some see them, political successes, Donald Trump has once again managed to create a PR scandal– but this time, for himself.

Trump scheduled a press conference in preparation to announce that he is receiving support from over one hundred black ministers across the nation. The move was part of an effort to appeal to the black minority in the United States, which largely supports the Democratic party. Trump sent out invitations to several ministers to come to a meeting with him to discuss his endorsement.

Earlier this year, Trump held many smaller meetings with black ministers, some of whom ended up supporting him. They all stated that Trump did not make any sort of monetary donation to the church.

However, things fell short of Trump’s expectations. Several ministers refused to meet with Trump, some even denounced the invitation. As a result, Trump canceled the press conference, which was met with a strong media response as he had been advertising the conference beforehand.