Posted in Posts about People, Uncategorized, Weekly Assignments

Election Night Viewing Party

Hey all! Check out this video that I made back in November during the election night

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Posted in Uncategorized

Singing Along With L’shir

Hello everyone! As the semester comes to a close I would like to share with you one of my favorite things on campus: the a cappella singing groups. I got the opportunity to become friends with several of the members in L’shir, and I would like for you to get to know them too.

At any given rehearsal, the group starts with simple breathing exercises meant to stretch the lungs and prepare them for singing. Assistant Music Director Liz Proteau guides the group through a series of inhales and exhales. “Breathe in for four and out for eight,” she says to the group. She is snapping out the counts to keep everyone on beat. They all breathe in deeply, then hiss the air out through their teeth, all of them sounding like puddles of oil dancing around a hot skillet. “Now in for four, out for twelve,” Proteau tells them. Her hands bob up and down, getting ready to conduct the chorus.

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L’shir beginning a warm-up routine during a closed rehearsal

 

||Click here for a slideshow of exclusive photos from a private rehearsal!||

This is what and average rehearsal looks like for L’shir, the University of Hartford’s oldest a cappella group. L’shir was founded in 2000, and began as a co-ed all-Jewish group. Slowly, they became all-denominational. Translated, L’shir is Hebrew for “to song”, a nod to making a toast and celebrating with music.

A cappella is singing without out using any instruments. Instead, the singers use their voices to imitate the sounds of instruments, giving it a more natural sound. L’shir consists of 14 members, with each member categorized into a classification of singing depending on their range.

Last semester L’shir lost six members, most due to graduation. Because of this, L’shir has accepted nine new members, seven of them being freshmen.

This year, L’shir is focusing on rebuilding what they had last year. They want to be able to get back to the closeness the members felt with each other, and of course, to get back to the previous level of skill they once had.

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Even though they’re newbies, several of the members are familiar with singing. Media Guru for L’shir Freddie Perez loves to sing, but fell into it accidentally. In the eighth grade, Perez signed up for Home Economics.

Unfortunately the class was full and Perez was moved into Men’s Choir, without being notified. “It was terrifying,” said Perez. “I was shy, but it helped me adapt.” Perez is able to laugh about it now because it gives him such joy.

Liz  Proteau’s has always loved singing. Proteau also has four musical siblings, as well as a musical set of parents. Proteau has been singing her whole life, be it with her family singing random radio hits around the house or in choir at church. Proteau’s talent comes naturally to her, and she is using that talent with her major of music production, to eventually help produce albums and demos.

Both of the directors take their roles very seriously. They are a part of a young e-board, with the other members only having served on extra semester than the two of them. They are all learning along the way, building a new foundation for L’shir and the other a cappella groups on campus.

Sometimes, being a manager of a group of young adults is hard. It is especially challenging when both directors are young adults. It makes it harder for them to gain respect and be seen as a figure of authority by the other members.

Many times during rehearsals, the members dissolve into chattering groups, abandoning their singing for the night. While Rahusen and Proteau try to rein them in, it’s difficult to take someone your own age seriously as someone in charge over you.

While L’shir won’t be releasing platinum albums and winning Grammy’s like famous a cappella group Pentatonix, they were just accepted into the International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella, a prestigious singing competition. Last year, one of L’shir’s members won Best Soloist in the Quarter Finals.

They don’t get school credit and they don’t get paid for all of the time they spend making sure the music side meshes with the business side. Yet one thing that they do get is the satisfaction that they are responsible for keeping their group the best it can be.

They may struggle and stress, but L’shir will always have something that they can fall back on when times are hard; the love of music that the members have, and their love for each other.

 

 

Posted in In-Class Assignments, Uncategorized

2015 Thanksgiving Gas Prices

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Everyone likes to say that their favorite season is autumn. And while getting to layer up in coats, sweaters, scarves and mittens, those colorful leaves only stay on the trees for so ling.

It all starts with October. The weather is unassuming, still offering warmth and sunshine. Next, you have the stress of picking out a costume for Halloween and figuring out what roads you’ll trick or treat on (or what parties you’ll go to).

Then, October quietly fades into November, and then you slip into December. You’ve gone from sunshine and getting to walk outside without a coat to fighting off colds and holiday’s practically every other week.

Before you know it, romantic strolls and hot cocoa by the fire turn to frantically keeping the house clean and making sure to cook everyone’s favorite potatoes for Thanksgiving. And Heaven forbid you don’t get your Christmas cards out in time.

Well, this year, let there be a little bit more sunshine for you on the holiday of giving thanks. According to GasBuddy.com, gas is expected to be the cheapest it has ever been for this holiday in a decade: just in time for everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday travels.

Gas prices are expected to be the lowest they have been in ten years, coming in at $1.99 a gallon for the national average.

According to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, the national average is at $2.072, with 60% of gas fill-up stations selling at under $2 dollars.

“We had lower prices in 2008 and 2009, but not for Thanksgiving,” said Kloza. “The cheapest markets are in the Great Lakes states.”

The states with the lowest gas prices are Indiana ($1.803), Ohio, ($1.804), and Missouri ($1.860).

Gas is relatively inexpensive in the southern states as well, including Arkansas ($1.881), Louisiana ($1.877), Alabama ($1.841), Mississippi ($1.855), Texas ($1.855) and South Carolina ($1.841).

gas graphThe state with the highest gas price is currently California, coming in at $2.740 a gallon in the Golden State.

With gas being an estimated average of $2.81 a gallon last year, we are down by more than a dollar.

The reason that the price for fuel is that the nation has an excess of it. US oil producers are still drilling despite the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) keeping production rates high.

Back in January, the national average for gas was $2.19, which was down from $3.31 per gallon the year before. Now, eleven months later, gas will be under 2 dollars for many states.

The highest gas prices we have ever had were seen back in 2008. Seven years ago, the average price of gasoline per gallon was $3.60, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Most people are not thinking about how great it is that gas prices are finally leveling out with crude oil prices, but rather that they got lucky this holiday season.

Of all the Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving, AAA estimates that close to 42 million people will drive at least 50 miles, with 67% going as far as 200 miles for the 2015 holiday. Hopefully, having such low gas prices will make that drive a little easier.

Posted in In-Class Assignments, Uncategorized

Dream Job

buzzfeed logoA job that would be truly fantastic to be a part of would be working for BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed has headquarters in Anaheim, California, with several satellite branches across the country and the globe.

Being able to work for a company that is Internet based would mean I would be a part of the “breaking news” world, writing stories about popular trends and world events practically as they are happening. BuzzFeed is more than just quizzes about what Harry Potter house you should be sorted into or what Disney princesses would look like in the real world; they also publish real stories about public events.

BuzzFeed also has several channels on YouTube with content that is relatable for ‘millennials’, and sometimes, even their parents. The whole reason I started to consider BuzzFeed as a place to work was because of their videos on YouTube. I follow a lot of “professional YouTubers” and I kept getting videos from BuzzFeed as suggestions to watch. I would soon find myself 10 videos deep on BuzzFeed’s channel, and I would be posting links all over my sisters’ and friends’ Facebook walls.

BuzzFeed has different content for every type of person: taste test videos; life hacks; “10 weird things all couples do” or “what it’s like growing up with a sister”. My personal favorites are the Try Guys. They are just a group of four men in their early 30’s trying out things that they regularly wouldn’t.

Their videos start with relatively normal topics, like, “Try To Survive In The Woods”, and slowly branch out into more–unique–ideas, like, “Try To Be Drag Queens.” At first I would just watch one or two and then go back to what I was doing before (like homework, ha!) and it quickly developed into me watching 40 minutes worth of videos, alone in my room, laughing until I cried or couldn’t breathe.

While most people would think that it is fun bordering on crazy, but that is just the kind of thing that I love. I love making people laugh, and I love getting to know people and seeing them in their everyday environments, and seeing what they do. The only problem with this is that I would classify myself as an outgoing introvert. I love hanging out with people, and I enjoy sharing the company of others. Sometimes, however, it is hard for me to get to know other people and open up to them. There are days when you just have to isolate yourself in your bedroom with all the lights off, binging on Netflix and Doritos.

BuzzFeed is made up of all different kinds of people, but the most important thing is that I see people there that are just like me. If I can see myself working there without even seeing the office or truly knowing what a job there entails, that’s how I know it’s a dream job.

Besides having a fun workplace environment, BuzzFeed allows workers to publish articles from home. Getting to stay in bed and work in my pajamas sounds like the ultimate dream job!

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