The Warrior•Arts October 9, 2009
Astounding Aspiring Artist: Alexandra Lamancusa Junior’s Paintings Fly above the Rest by Lexi Evans ‘10
Synesthesia, the popular Sherwood band, frequently plays at the Coffeehouse. photo by Ben Durham ‘10
Oakdale’s Coffeehouse Has Both Old and New Sounds by Taylor Janney ‘10 Ask just about anyone who Sherwood’s most recently successful and popular band was, and they will say Sky Solo. Since many of the members graduated last spring, students expected not to see them around for a while. However, Sky Solo is back, along with several other bands, when they will all be performing in the first of the year’s Coffeehouses. Over the past few years, Oakdale Emory United Methodist Church’s teen Coffeehouses have promoted a fun, safe environment for students of local high schools to hang out one night a month. High school bands sign up to play, while their fellow peers gather to listen to the music and socialize. The first Coffeehouse of the school year will be held October 24, featuring Sky Solo, as well as Ham, Synesthesia, and many more up and coming bands. “I’m certainly excited to play for the ‘new Sherwood generation,’ because I feel that over the course of the last few years, Coffeehouse has become an almost traditional, if not expected aspect of the Sherwood social scene,” says Ryan Clarke (’09) of Sky Solo. “It’s going to be disconcerting to see some of the more regular bands absent from the line-up, but I am greatly looking forward to hearing what new sounds Coffeehouse has in store for this upcoming school year.” Reunion seems to be a common theme for this first Coffeehouse, as Synesthesia will also play at the event. While Andrew Bezila (’09) was able to return to the band, fellow band mate Max Ozenberger (’09) will not be able to attend and play at the Coffeehouse. “We were all so excited when
we found out that we would be able to play another gig with Andrew,” says junior Wyatt Shapiro, another member of Synesthesia. Despite the absence of members, from the upcoming performance, both Sky Solo and Synesthesia seem to have been drawn even closer together due to the separation. “In a way our absence during the school day has brought us closer as a band. When practice rolls around each week, it’s like seeing my family again rather than simply some of my best friends from school whom I also passed in the hall yesterday,” says Clarke. “We are working more efficiently together and having more productive sessions.” Synesthesia has noticed a similar reaction as well. While the rest of the members are still at Sherwood, Bezila attends Montgomery College, making it easy for the band to rehearse together. Ozenberger attends the University of Maryland at College Park, causing him to miss out on rehearsals and performances. “It’s always upsetting to not be able to play with our band in its entirety, but that doesn’t stop us from making music and performing together,” says Shapiro. While all the members of Ham still attend Sherwood, they too are looking forward to the first Coffeehouse. “We’re really looking forward to playing as the only allsenior band at Sherwood, as well as performing new originals and bringing even wilder stage presence,” says senior Hays Dowdy. Fans can see these bands play at the first Coffeehouse for free, as well as enjoy other bands in the line-up including No Time For Brainstorming, Artificians, 8 After 9, Captain Caramel’s Teamo Supremo and New Agenda.
Alexandra Lamancusa loves birds. In fact, she loves birds so much she devotes almost all her free time painting them. “I’ve liked birds since sixth grade when I did a report on owls and then I just went all out with it.” says Lamancusa. “There are so many different kinds of birds and each one has its own expression. You can have really ugly birds, really pretty birds, really graceful birds, really clumsy birds; they are like people.” Her paintings range from birds of prey to the exotic birds of the jungle to even ordinary ducks. “I think ducks are pretty awesome because they’re these weirdo birds who think they are all important walking around, their heads always high up. They’re always thinking they are the tough guy when they really are just this small fuzzy weirdo looking creature,” Lamancusa explains. Lamancusa started painting when she took her first art classes in middle school, starting with tempra paints but eventually moving on to acrylics as her preferred medium. She has never taken formal art classes outside of school, which is surprising considering how well she paints. Art teacher Angel Praisner recalls first meeting Lamancusa as an incoming freshman. “ She made an appointment with [me and fellow art teacher Lisa Ryan] to let me know that she was interested in being in something more than just Foundations as a ninth grade student. We don’t normally encourage that but we let her come in. She brought in a few drawing and her sketches really backed up [the decision to move her into a more advanced art class],” says Praisner. “I like finishing pieces, because then you can look and go, ‘Look, I made this.’ It looks really bad in the beginning, I don’t like the beginning. But I do like thinking of the ideas, too. Sometimes it’s just as much fun to think of something and then not do it,” she says. Lamancusa keeps a journal with her that she doodles her ideas in so she can keep track of her ideas and her progress as an artist. For Lamancusa, inspiration strikes everywhere. She is influenced by her family history, the birds she loves and her thoughts. “Some of [my pieces] I base off of different themes and such, like the decay of the Native-American society. My dad is really into studying crows and their symbolism in Native American history. My mom is a craft person.” Like most artists, there is meaning behind Lamancusa’s pieces. Her bird paintings are more than just mere pictures for passer-bys to look at. “I want people to see the emotions that animals have,” Lamancusa explains.
From top to bottom: Lamancusa’s Native American inspired piece The Raven and The Moccasin; Toy Mice; and Lamancusa finsihing another painting, one of Greater African Flamingos. photos by Angel Praisner “I want them to see a relationship with the animals themselves, I want them to feel like the bird almost. Or at least understand what the bird means. Or sometimes, I just want [people] to like it. Because just sometimes I just want to [paint], so it’s like ‘why not’. I just want them to see the happiness and stuff.” Lamancusa loves to spread the joy that art has brought her. She is very generous with her paintings, and has even given some away to admirers of her work. She encourages other artists to always improve their work and believes that as long as their art has meaning, it’s something worth pursuing. This year Lamancusa is in Studio 3 preparing her portfolio
for AP Studio next year. “She has just complete natural ability. Not to say she can’t be taught other things, it’s just her innate ability. Her understanding of the color theory and how colors react with each other are outstanding and they have been since ninth grade,” Praisner says. Last year some of her pieces were selected and showcased for competitions in the past, all winning recognition and awards. Despite her success Lamancusa doesn’t let her skill get to her head. “I don’t think it matters as much as to how good you are [at art],” she says, “I just think that if someone [does] something not as technically artistic but [with] the same amount of meaning—that is what is good to me.”
October 9, 2009
Remembering Les Paul by Marcus Lee ‘10 Highly regarded as one of the greatest musical innovators of 20th century, Les Paul made numerous contributions to elec-
tronic music over his long life and career. In conjunction with Gibson Guitar Corporation, Paul helped design one of the most influential guitars over the past 50 years, the Gibson Les Paul. Originally produced with a gold top, the Les
Paul guitar has seen hundreds of different colors, models and designs. This guitar has been the favorite of many artists such as Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and Slash. “Without him, the electric guitar would not be the same,”
1915-Lester William Polfuss is born on June 9 in Waukesha, WI 1946- Les Paul begins his experimentation with overdubbing, echo, delay and other recording effects
1948- Les Paul releases 1927-Les Paul rethe album cieves his first “New Sound,” guitar, a Sears Roebuck which contains Troubadour extensive use of 1941-Les Paul creates the overdubbing design for the first solid body electric guitar, made out of a 4 by 4 board with an Epiphone neck. He calls it “the Klunker.” It is rejected by Gibson.
effects. One technique credited to Paul is overdubbing, or sound on sound recording, in which a person can take multiple recorded parts and play them simultaneously on the final recording. 2005- He is inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
1983- Recieves the Trustees Award from the Recording Academy
1952- After being initally rejected, Gibson releases the first Les Paul model: a solid body electric guitar called the “Gold Top”
says senior Ron Pendleton who has studied and worked with electronic music throughout his four years at Sherwood. “It sounds vague but it is true.” In addition to guitar-modeling, Paul made fundamental contributions to sound recording and
1964- Les Paul retires from performing, but not from creating new electronic devices
1988- He is inducted into the Hall of Fame with moniker, “Architect of Rock’n’ Roll”
2009- On August 13, Paul passed away from complications from severe pneumonia in White Plains, NY
1997- He is awarded a technical Grammy by the Recording Academy