Hooch’s Response to Parkland Shooting

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

On Feb. 14, the United States stood in disbelief and mourned what took place in a Florida High School. A heartless 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz entered a peaceful Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and shot innocent high schoolers taking the lives of 17 victims. This had not been the first time that innocent students’ lives have been taken as the Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings took many lives as well. But this massacre was different. Communities, especially high schoolers, are voicing their opinions and fighting for change to prevent another similar shooting from happening. Chattahoochee High School has decided to make a few changes to ensure safety of its students as well.

Teachers are now told to keep their doors closed and locked from the outside during class. This is to help prevent an unauthorized person who has entered the building from entering the classroom. Though teachers are complaining about the hassle of having to open the door for a student trying to enter during class, the new rule is appropriate because it helps keep the students safe during class. There is also a new police officer who is patrolling the campus and hallways during school hours.

Though the main entrances by the atrium will still be unlocked, all other entrances except the ones in the cougar lair are now locked during the school day. This is because the school wants to limit the number of entry points for an intruder to enter through. Students have been complaining how they cannot enter the school from the doors by the bus canopy, but they understand that the school is taking these actions to ensure student safety.

Chattahoochee continued to prioritize safety as they asked students to congregate in the gym rather than outside during the walkout on Mar. 14. There, students were around teachers, the police officers and locked doors. Administration felt it would be dangerous for a mass of kids to be outside on school campus where any infiltrator could effortlessly come. Though not many other schools pursued stringent safety rules, Hooch was not influenced because actions to any extent would be taken to protect students.

While students and teachers continue to adjust to the new changes, they all understand that administration is prioritizing safety over anything else. No one wants the Hooch community to be victims to be victims of a massacre and these drastic modifications are being to done to keep the school safe.



Hooch Tennis Seeking Redemption

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

Coming off a state championship loss, Chattahoochee boys’ tennis entered the season with high expectations as they were hungry for the championship title. Though the team lost key seniors like Daniel Li, they believed they actually got better with incoming freshman Filipe Costa, a five-star recruit who is currently ranked first in the state for his class. The team has the elements for success: great leadership, talented youth and determination.

The squad was looking dangerous as they effortlessly outmatched their opponents and won 4-1 in their first two games. But then everything fell apart. The young stud Filipe Costa required immediate knee surgery from a previous injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Struggling to replace one of its marquee players, the unit went on a depressing ten-game losing streak. All of a sudden Hooch boys’ tennis did not look like a title contender anymore.

More than ever, the team was searching for a spark to somehow overcome their losing streak and start demolishing opponents like they had done at the starting of the season. That was when star-player Pranav Iyer (JR) took initiative to bring the team out of its slump. Iyer, a three-star recruit who is currently 15th in the state, knew he was more than capable of propelling his team back to their prime. He preached improving every day and playing hungry. He encouraged players who have not seen much playing time to compete harder than ever to reach the top of their game.

All of a sudden, Hooch boys’ tennis looked like a completely revamped team. Saathvik Rukanagari (JR) explained how the team is playing with a new level of determination and “embracing the chip in their shoulder.” The unit looked to pull out of their decline with a win against a tough North Atlanta team and pulled through with a 4-1 win. The pack is back looking like the lethal and confident squad it had been at the starting of the season. Now the boys are looking to finish the season strong and have an opportunity to play in the state tournament and claim what they failed to last year: the state championship win.


After NRA Policy Change, Delta’s Tax Cuts Crash and Burn

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Fla., Delta Airlines began to reconsider its relationship with the National Rifle Association of America (as have other companies in various sectors). Ultimately, Delta “rescinded a one-time group travel discount for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, and asked the organization to remove [their] name and logo from their website.” This prompted Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly to pull a tax exemption for jet fuel directed towards the airline.  

Compared to fiery condemnations from elected officials, student protesters and celebrities, Delta’s handling of its relationship with the NRA could be described as being less dramatic. In fact, the rescinding of the discount came as part of a renewed push to “remain neutral” and stay away from such a divisive issue like gun control – Delta CEO Ed Bastian voiced that “we are supporters of the 2nd Amendment, just as we embrace the entire Constitution of the United States.” While it appears that Delta intends to refrain from taking either side in this debate, Casey Cagle, the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, was quick to retaliate.

“I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle tweeted soon after Delta announced its new policy toward the NRA and its members. Because Cagle holds an incredibly important position in the Georgia legislature, his statement was of particular importance – without Cagle’s approval, the tax cut for fuel aimed at Delta would be doomed to fail.

As Republicans scrambled to strip the provision that would have given the airline millions of dollars, the public and other state officials were quick to comment on Cagle’s tweet, accusing him of extortion and offering Delta the chance to relocate its headquarters out of Atlanta. “@Delta, if Georgia politicians disagree with your stand against gun violence, we invite you to move your headquarters to New York,” tweeted the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was not the only governor to make such a plea though it is unlikely that Delta would move away from its base at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

Delta declined to shift its operations to another state, and the Georgia General Assembly moved to strike the $50 million dollar exemption for jet fuel from a larger tax bill, following up on Cagle’s threat. The Republican-led Senate voted for the new version of the exemptions, and the Republican House overwhelmingly agreed to approve the jet fuel free version after having already voted for the original bill.

Though Governor Nathan Deal (R) signed the exemptions into law, he stressed the importance of “Southern Hospitality” in how Georgia deals with private companies, as well as cautioning against poorly thought out policies and political maneuvering. Several Democratic representatives raised points that companies such as Amazon might avoid Georgia in the wake of this decision, further stressing the importance of this issue.  

Last Days With the NRA

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many turned to the National Rifle Organization (NRA) to respond to yet another national tragedy. Interestingly, some members of the NRA and other firearm owners have hurriedly dropped their memberships and surrendered their weapons to the authorities in the hope of avoiding another such tragedy. I

spoke to one former member of the NRA (and full disclosure, my father), Adam Benn, about his own experiences to better understand this complicated issue and the decisions gun owners make in the aftermath. The interview below has been edited for clarity:

Ethan Benn: First off, thank you for taking the time to discuss this issue with me. So, when did you join the NRA?

Adam Benn: It’s my pleasure. About 10 years ago, I think.

Ethan: So, about 2008?

Adam: Yes, although it’s been a year and a half since I stopped renewing my active membership with them.

Ethan: What were the requirements for membership, then?

Adam: Well, it was really whether or not you were willing to pay the fee.

Ethan: So it really is a paid member organization? I’ve seen the NRA as more of a lobbying group than an organization of members.

Adam: Well next to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), to my understanding, it’s the second largest paid member organization in America.

Ethan: Now that we’ve talked about you joining and later leaving the NRA, was there a- or what was the- certain breaking point when you decided to leave the NRA?

Adam: The NRA was vehemently opposed to really allowing any change to what’s been touted as “common sense” gun laws. Even things that were so simple that someone shouldn’t or couldn’t object to; it was like they were going out of their way to object to everything, even things that wouldn’t go against the Second Amendment. Their feeling was carte blanche: you should have the same rights as any other American citizen, even if you were on a No Fly List or something. There was an opposition to anything and everything, but you can’t always be right.

Ethan: I think that’s something that a lot of people who aren’t in the NRA feel, too. Could you elaborate on your carte blanc statement?

Adam: The NRA is fine with you getting guns even when you’re on a No Fly List. These guys aren’t protecting the second amendment. Rather, they are protecting firearm manufacturing companies and munitions companies. They only have the interests of Remington, Winchester and other multi-billion dollar companies in mind, but not the interests of the individual gun owners or American patriots at heart.

Ethan: That’s quite harsh. Normally, the NRA would sent out its spokesperson Dana Loesch or Wayne LaPierre to beat things like that back. So, what about Wayne LaPierre? Why do we always hear about him?

Adam: Part of his position is to be the spokesperson for the NRA- he interviews well, he speaks well, and he’s essentially the poster child of the organization.

Ethan: Do you think any one person, like Wayne LaPierre, might be responsible for the radicalization in the NRA?

Adam: Well, I think what it really came down to was after the end of the Clinton assault weapons ban, the NRA became self-aware that they have a very large ability to lobby- they can bring in a lot of financial support and tons of money to control politicians for themselves and their own financial benefit.

Ethan: Would you say that the NRA conflates being pro-gun control with being anti-Second Amendment? Have their lobbying and large donations blurred the line and forced politicians to toe a line between the two?

Adam: I think they associate anything that bans any and everything related to firearm use as being anti-Second Amendment. My problem is that the Second Amendment needs to be adapted to relative times and relative terms. For example, bump stocks aren’t guns- they’re pieces of plastic which modify the gun. But bump stocks aren’t being accurately reported and people are being misinformed, both by the media, lawmakers and the companies which manufacture them.

Ethan: Speaking of firearms and their modifications, would you support the banning of certain weapons or add-ons?

Adam: I would literally surrender every gun I own and do everything in my power to convey to people the message that giving up your firearms is worth it to save just one life. If someone wants to take a life, though, they’re going to anyway. My instinct is that it’s not going to make a difference. In 1986, the National Firearms Act pulled fully automatic weapons from the shelves to inflate their value and limit their availability. The weapons out there today all do the same thing- you pull the trigger once, one bullet comes out. The difference is that these assault style weapons have larger magazines, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To some extent the NRA tries to educate the media, but nobody wants to listen to them.

Ethan: If the NRA is trying to educate the public, do you think there’s anything the NRA could do to fix its reputation and image?

Adam: I do- they could stop supporting the multi-million dollar firearm companies. They need to get back to their roots and teach youth how to use sport and hunting rifles safely and responsibly. Things like how to clean and maintain a weapon or hunt humanely and have pride in ownership, and especially self defense, were really their mantra.

Ethan: What are your thoughts on the “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” line? That’s something the NRA seems to promote after mass shootings.

Adam: I agree to some extent, as I own firearms for personal protection and to protect my family, but trying to stop the bad guy from getting guns in the first place is a better idea. I think the NRA’s response is just to sell guns and give guns to everybody, and I think that’s part of the problem I have with this. Selling a gun to an 18-year-old is asinine. At the end of the day, the people we have to be considered about aren’t going to listen to anyone else about limiting firearms- they’re going to steal or buy everything and anything they want for the purpose of doing as much harm and destruction they want. Banning certain weapons or munitions will only negatively affect lawful gun owners: the rules can’t just apply to law-abiding citizens because as long as bad guys have this stuff, there’s no point.

Ethan: That’s certainly one way to look at it. I don’t think that there’s just one solution to this deep-rooted issue, and you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but we’re of the same opinion on that. Hopefully, more conversations like this might push our country closer to a solution. Thank you for your time!

Adam: And thank you for having me.

The Statue of Libbyty

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Though written nearly two-hundred years ago, these words, forever associated with one of the grandest symbols of the United States, have taken on an interesting meaning during renewed debates over immigration. The center of the national debate over undocumented immigration is now not Washington, D.C. but Oakland, California. Several weeks ago, Mayor Libby Schaaf intentionally warned her community before an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid to apprehend and deport undocumented criminals occurred, sparking the ire of ICE and conservatives. The Trump administration’s decision to move against California’s sanctuary city policies certainly hasn’t helped to cool down the issue.

First of all, the term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition or standing – there is no specific checklist of requirements for a town or other municipality to become a sanctuary city. However, most cities described as such have several characteristics in common, the foremost being that local leaders and officials discourage or even outlaw their own police forces from asking persons about their immigration status or cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The latter happens after an undocumented immigrant is already apprehended, and when ICE issues a request to extend their detainment in order to deport them (Vox goes further into depth in this video) Regardless, this “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to illegal immigration is meant to foster a sense of community and security between local law enforcement and those they serve, as well as push migrants towards social services like hospitals and schools. It’s important to note that even though a town, city or county may not be cooperating with ICE, the person apprehended by the police can still be deported at a later date.

Unsurprisingly, the complicated interactions between federal and state (or local) authorities over the even more divisive and undefined policy of sanctuary cities poses, as I see it, a few questions: (1) What gives mayors and city councils the jurisdiction to designate their municipalities as sanctuary cities, and why do they? (2) When the federal government (or the agencies which represent it) come into direct conflict with local authorities over actions and policy, who “wins?” (3) If the Republican party claims to be for states’ rights, is it unprincipled for its members to not support state and local governments who decide to be sanctuary states and cities, respectively? With any luck, these three questions will give us some place to start.

With that rough definition out of the way, we can dive into the how and why of sanctuary city policies. To me, the answer is in the name itself- they’re sanctuaries. Mass migrations of people out of Mexico and Central America and into these counties and towns, albeit illegally, is a continuation of a historical theme. “The concept of sanctuary derives from the ancient imperative to provide hospitality to the stranger,” writes Elizabeth Allen for the LA Times, and “the sanctuary cities of the 2000s are part of this American tradition.” In a country which preaches the equality of opportunity and egalitarianism and whose citizens generally claim it to be the best place in the world to live a successful life, having refuges for families who’ve trekked hundreds of miles through desert and rough terrain is morally and ethically correct. After all, only a few cities have policies like this. While the reasoning of “it’s the right thing to do” is admittedly weak, it really seems to be one of the main arguments for sanctuary cities.

But warm feelings and compassion don’t supercede the law- federal agencies and local police departments often find themselves at odds because of sanctuary policies. So which is superior, and why? I’m inclined to say the federal government, especially due to something known as the “Supremacy Clause:”

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

This clause essentially states that the laws made by the federal government, (assuming they are constitutional) are supreme to state regulations and legislation. While I’m no constitutional scholar, I would assume this also applies to the agencies which execute federal laws. And now the scale has tipped further into the federal government’s favor, as the Trump administration’s Department of Justice moves to sue the state of California over their sanctuary state status. Via CNN:  “‘The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,’”  [said] Sessions [to] law enforcement officers at the California Peace Officers Association … ‘“We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win.’” Generally, when the federal government decides to fight against states, it comes out the winner, and this does put mayor Libby Schaaf and other pro-sanctuary politicians in an interesting legal predicament. Some members of the GOP have advocated that they be tried for treason for failing to uphold federal law, but what about all the times they’ve encouraged states to shirk national policies in favor of their own local ones?

Health care. Environmental protections. Gay marriage and LGBTQ rights. Gun control. Tax cuts and reductions. If members of the Republican party and American conservatives want to accuse Democratic mayors of shielding undocumented immigrants, and in the process, meddling with the enforcement of federal laws, then they need to acknowledge their past sins as well. From crying “leave it to the states!” to clinging onto the Tenth Amendment as close as possible, it is beyond hypocritical for those opposed to sanctuary cities, but who also opposed following the policies of the Obama administration, to suddenly fall in line behind the Trump administration’s crusade against sanctuary cities. Apparently, the federal government suddenly ceases to be a behemoth of oppression against states when Republicans are in charge.

Regardless, none of this changes what mayor Schaaf did, and what other mayors, city council members, sheriffs and police officers will likely do themselves. Whether she wanted to or not, and I certainly hope she didn’t intend to, Schaaf did help truly criminal undocumented immigrants escape ICE- not families of four, mind you, but gang members, robbers and thugs. Schaff and other advocates for these types of policies are right in that it’s incredibly important not to mix people who came to this country illegally for a chance to work and raise a family with drug smugglers and undesirables, who come to the United States to incite violence and ruin communities. This goes both ways, though- if you don’t want ICE to target relatively innocent families, then don’t allow criminals to hide behind them as a shield, as announcing an imminent raid doesn’t help anyone.

And to cap it all off, I don’t think anyone person mentioned in this article is one-hundred percent correct about the issue- Sessions, Schaaf and so many others are really, in my opinion, exploiting this issue for personal gain. Deporting criminals looks good to the American right as it continues to push the Trump administration’s “rule of law” sentiment, and claiming to protect innocent migrants is the heartwarming story that liberals and progressives can’t get enough of.

Illegal immigration into America, and the sanctuary cities that result from it, aren’t going to be solved by simple, ideological solutions. There must be some sort of balance between upholding the laws of the United States and remaining morally principled- undocumented immigrants are people, too. With any luck, that solution might come soon.

The Wonderful World of Animals

ChrisRonzoni, Editorials Editor


The Wonderful World of Animals

          Elephants are some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. With cognitive capabilities rivaling that of other highly intelligent animals, such as dolphins and apes, elephants are incredibly fascinating. They are extremely social and altruistic, meaning that they are greatly concerned with the well-being of others. Nothing makes this more evident than the almost human-like grief and sorrow they display at the death of a herd member — going so far as to cover the deceased with branches, leaves and dirt while remaining by their side for several days. This empathetic behavior even extends beyond their own species as there are countless documented incidents of elephants attempting to aid wounded people or even mourning deceased humans as one of their own.

However, this respectful and intelligent behavior may soon be reduced to a memory. For many decades now, illegal poaching and extensive habitat loss has created an increasingly turbulent environment for all elephant society. So much so that reports of unprovoked and lethal elephant attacks are now commonplace and rapidly increasing all over Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Biologists and other experts believe this abnormal level of aggression to be an unforeseen side-effect caused by humanity’s continued mistreatment of the species. Much like humans, young elephants need guidance and time to learn from their elders. Calves need to learn how to behave, how to communicate, what to eat and what not to eat, what’s dangerous and what’s safe. It should go without saying, but children need their parents. However, due to illegal poaching, a lot of calves become orphans at an early age and, thus, their natural development is interrupted. Not only that but, because of their intelligence and strong familial bonds, seeing their loved ones being brutally massacred and mutilated right in front of their eyes is about as traumatic as it would be for a human. These events can significantly impair normal brain development and cause hyper-aggression and unpredictable behavior similar to that of people suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Not only is humanity slowly driving the species towards extinction, but due to our ruthless means of doing so, we may also be responsible for their mental, social and intellectual decline in the process.

Let’s forget about humanity’s failures for a second; it’s just too depressing. Let’s focus on one of nature’s failures like that of the platypus, an animal that would honestly make a lot more sense if it were inspired by “Pulp Fiction” rather than the other way around. The platypus is one of the only five remaining species of monotremes. Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs, as opposed to giving live-birth. The Platypus was discovered by European explorers in 1798, and a specimen was later examined by zoologist George Shaw. Its strange features made Shaw question whether or not this was a hoax. Again, how can one not. It looks like a reversed beaver. He writes in a scientific journal from 1799 that “Of all the Mammalia yet known it seems the most extraordinary in its conformation; exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a Duck engrafted on the head of a quadruped.” He also writes, “…it naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means.” In more modern terms, was this just another social experiment by some 18th century YouTube prankster or could the specimen truly be that of a real creature? Evidence for its existence and its supposed egg-laying capabilities remained highly debated topics for almost a century. Of course, we now know this Scrooge-McDuck-looking thing of an animal is more real than it first seemed.

Owls are one of the many creatures of the night that few get to truly behold. What is even more rare of a sight would be a fully functional parliament. As strange as it may seem, a parliament is a collective noun for a group of owls. Besides having a permanent “How the hell did I get here?” facial expression, owls also have a knack for necks. All 200+ owl species can rotate their necks and heads up to 270 degrees, which makes humans and owls the only two species capable of doing this. The only difference is that when humans do it, we die. Owls are able to survive such extreme neck twisting as they have 14 vertebrae while many other vertebrates have a lot fewer. For example, we humans only have a laughable seven. Like many other nocturnal species, owls do not have eyeballs; rather, they have eye-tubes. This peculiar shape allows for exceptional night vision. However, as the eyes are non-spherical they are completely fixed in their sockets which is why owls need such flexible necks.

If you live to be 90 years old you will be older than people who have yet to reach or surpass that age; you will also have spent 32 of those years asleep. Instead of dreaming about your dreams, that’s 32 years you could’ve spent awake going out to achieve those dreams. But if you’re a dolphin or a duck, sleep isn’t half as wasteful. A few select aquatic and avian species have developed what’s known as unihemispheric sleep, which is the ability to sleep with one half of the brain while the other half remains awake. This ability can be quite beneficial for different reasons. In the case of birds capable of unihemispheric sleep, such as chickens and ducks, they literally sleep with one eye open. This allows them to constantly keep an eye out for potential predators. On the other hand, various aquatic animals, such as dolphins, Aquaman and whales use this ability to surface for air even when they are half-asleep. It’s been widely scientifically unproven that if humans had this ability, we would spend this extra time speculating over what we would do if we had more time.

On the softer side of things, male humpback whales can spend more than 24 hours continuously repeating the same 10-20 minute song. So, what you hear when swimming with whales may be one of the hottest mixtapes to hit the blue market. Either that or Chewbacca is in dire need for help. The purpose behind these extensive musical performances largely remains a mystery to scientists. Researchers believe it could be to attract females, to challenge other males or a form of echolocation. What we do know is that these songs often spread amongst humpback whale society much the same way the latest pop-music can spread across the globe in our human society. It begins with a localized population of whales producing a unique string of melodies and after roughly two years’ time, the song has moved between numerous whale populations across the pacific. And the songs are often heavily remixed along the way. Each year, a new viral hit takes form and the underwater music industry continues to thrive.

Overall, our world’s animals are truly one of a kind. Why we decide to drive them to extinction through pollution, poaching or simply over-hunting is beyond the ken of many scientists and researchers. We continue to learn new things every day about our world’s animals; one can only hope they will all still be around for our future generations.

Behind The Curtain

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

The musical theatre department at Chattahoochee High School is well known for their spectacular plays and musicals, particularly the spring musical. Chattahoochee has tackled shows such as: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Chicago,” “Hairspray,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Grease” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Every spring, the students and faculty of Chattahoochee as well as the local community can expect to be dazzled and amazed by Chattahoochee’s spring musical. This year, the musical theatre department has pushed new boundaries with “Follies,” a show composed by the famous Stephen Sondheim. As someone who has worked on these musicals for the past four years, I am able to give an exclusive, insider review of how a fantastic spring show comes to fruition.

Before auditions can begin, the spring musical must be approved, and the rights must be purchased by the directors. This is why it can be somewhat difficult to choose a show. First, you have to make sure the rights are available and how expensive they are. The average cost of rights is $4,500-5,000, with Disney shows costing upwards of $6,000. Shows that are currently on Broadway or on tour cannot be purchased. Additionally, it is important to consider the size of the musical theatre program when choosing a show. If it is a small program, it makes sense to choose a small show. Once the rights are secured, the show must be approved by the administration, so the show is not announced until all these factors are certain.

Many people don’t know how long the cast, crew, directors and orchestra work on the musical. The auditions usually take place around November, and the cast meets in December to read through the script together. In January, rehearsals begin: they alternate between music rehearsals, where the cast learns their songs; dance rehearsals, where they work on choreography; and blocking rehearsals, where the cast works on how they will move across the stage during scenes. Most of these rehearsals last a couple of hours, ending around 6 or 7 p.m., and the stage manager attends these as well as other crew leaders like assistant stage managers or directors’ assistants. By the end of January, the cast is expected to have mostly memorized their script and music.

In February, the rehearsals start lasting longer, the set is being built and costumes begin being made. Here at Chattahoochee, we hire a technical director to help design and build the set, but cast and crew is still expected to come to set builds on Sunday afternoons. For costumes, there are costume designers and seamstresses to make sure that costumes fit the characters and show. By this time, the crew is also attending rehearsals in order to learn the pace of the show.

This year, “Follies” required even more work and dedication than other musicals due to the complex nature of the show. It required elaborate costumes, stunning dance numbers, strong singing and acting, and intricate makeup, particularly for those who were playing older characters. On the technical side, the lighting for the show, which was fantastically done by Ireland McCreadie (JR), needed to showcase the duality of the show taking place in both the present and past.

In March, the show is just around the corner, but there are still a few more regular rehearsals before the dress rehearsals start. Once the finishing touches are put on the set, blocking and costumes, the dress rehearsals begin. For dress rehearsals, the cast must be in full makeup and costume and have microphones by 5 p.m. Once we start running the show, we don’t stop except for a 10 minute break between acts. When rehearsal finishes, the cast takes off their microphones and costumes, and the cast, crew and orchestra all eat dinner together. It’s a fun time for everyone to come together and bond over delicious food. Dress rehearsal week is busy and tiring, but it means that we are that much closer to putting on an amazing show.

On show days, the energy and excitement is high. The crew must be ready to go around 4:30 p.m., and the cast must start getting ready at 5:00 p.m. in order to be ready for warm ups at 6:20 p.m. The orchestra arrives around 6:30 p.m., so they can be tuned and ready to go for the 7:00 p.m. show. Once everyone is ready, we gather in the chorus room for warm ups and pre-show traditions. After warm ups and traditions are finished, the cast and crew gets into places backstage, and the orchestra settles in the pit. The house manager lets the stage manager know how many people are still in the lobby, and once everyone has made it to their seats, the lighting designer or assistant dims the auditorium lights, letting people know that the show is about to begin. Then, the pre-show announcement plays, and the orchestra begins to play, opening the show. Behind the scenes, the stage manager is calling cues over a radio from the tech booth in the back of the auditorium, quick changes are happening backstage and microphones are being checked and having batteries changed. Once the show is over, the company bows, and the cast, crew and orchestra go into the lobby to be greeted by family and friends.

However, the musical process does not end until after closing night because after the final show, we have strike, where the set is taken down and put away for the next year. Once this is finished, the musical season is officially over for the year, and we wait anxiously for the next exciting show to begin.

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