Celebrating the debut of the long-awaited Finn Fest
The school is back stronger than ever after two years without Art Expos, Field Days, or Talent Shows. The first-ever music festival, dubbed the “Finn Fest" after our school's mascot, has finally arrived. After being rescheduled from March 27th to June 2nd, the Finn Fest took place last Thursday. It not only provided a secure environment for students to showcase their musical abilities to the public, but it also gave many opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills, with pizza, ice cream, and beverage sales organized by clubs.
The Finn Fest flier, which contains information on the various stands and activities that will be available at the Finn Fest. Picture by Ms. Belinda Solis.
The event began at 11:45 a.m. and ended at 2:15 p.m., since it was one of the first instances that our school's musical shows featured a long succession of acts, with approximately 31 in total. As much as the Finn Fest felt like a replacement for the Talent Show, it was a fantastic opportunity for our school's young and flourishing artists to show what they're capable of doing in front of a large audience, and the performances were much more participatory.
The musical festival was a huge success and a pleasant surprise, with the contribution of many great people who most of us had no idea sang or played an instrument before, such as Ms. Yadely and Ms. Karla, the art instructor. And the festival's closing band, Soufflé, made everyone sing their hearts out at the end.
The closing band, Soufflé, playing “Oye Mi Amor” by Maná. Picture taken by me.
Getting ready for the Finn Fest was quite difficult, since we had to practice during and after school for roughly two hours in the heat of the gym on the days leading up to it. However, all of those hours of rehearsing and practicing paid off, and my expectations were met, if not exceeded.
The teachers and “La Banda” with Ms. Karla practicing after school a day before the Finn Fest. Pictures taken by me.
Even after many hours of practice, I, my bandmates, and everyone else involved were terrified (for the most part) of performing in front of the entire high school, middle school, and 5th graders, especially after two years of not participating in an event as big as this one. Even the biggest musicians in the industry, as Mr. Velarde said, are nervous before taking the stage; but the thrill and the audience win them over.
The Finn Fest was a success because the audience was able to make genuine connections with the performers. Students and the general public would frequently clap to the beat, sing the chorus part of the song being sung and sing along, or light their flashlights and chant the musicians' names; it was all very entertaining to witness and participate in.
Apart from the nerves I had before the event started, the excitement of being on stage and joking with my band mates, especially sitting in the benches clapping in unison, made me have an incredibly great time, better than I’ve ever had in any other school event. It was nice to see the teachers perform in front of their life-long students. The tribute to Ms. Noelia and the happy birthday song to Ms. Alejandra Bolaños were particularly touching. It felt like we were seeing our real-life best friends and teachers perform on stage, laughing, clapping, and yelling their names as if they were still teenagers. It also made bonds stronger between students and teachers, particularly if they were playing with the students, like Mr. Velarde and Ms. Debbie. It was also very fun watching new bands form at school, like “La Banda” and “Carpe Diem.”
Top: the teachers singing “Bésame Mucho” as a tribute to Ms. Noelia’s departure from the school. Second picture on the right: “La Banda” playing “Zombie” by The Cranberries with Mr. Velarde on bass and Ms. Karla as the lead singer. Bottom picture on the left: “Carpe Diem” playing “Wonderwall” by Oasis with Mr. Velarde on bass. Pictures taken by me.
My experience with my band was very heart-warming and surreal. We were all very excited to show the public that all of these days of practicing had paid off. I also made new friends and made stronger bonds with old ones, and it was very fun having Mr. Velarde as a guest in our band playing bass. As Maria Emilia Chamorro said, “I had a lot of fun with my friends. One of my favorite things was that I got to learn and relate with teachers I didn’t know were musical.” Mr. Velarde’s take, “It brought me back to my college years which was a lot of fun.”
Mr. Velarde and Maria Emilia Chamorro right after the Finn Fest.
Picture by Maria Emilia Chamorro.
I’ve loved how the music program has expanded this year, especially with the Finn Fest. I really hope this festival stays on forever and becomes a tradition, like Field Days. There have been many more activities that are developing to help these artistic students express themselves and get used to performing on stage.
I’d really like to thank Mr. Omar and Ms. Belinda for creating this huge event and for trying to make the school much more musical and artistic, making us feel more at home. As Mr. Velarde said, “Think of this as a message to keep on rocking and to keep exploring new experiences.”