The studio was being filled with chords and perfect pitches as I was setting up the studio. The plan was to take photographs of Kristen Redaniel but instead she was drawn to the piano. As her fingers were hitting every note to perfection, with no sheet music to guide her, her angelic voice surrounded the air with a muse of serenity. Ever since she was a little girl, Kristen has always loved music. She has made that her dream, reality, and future to be a part of music. Throughout her life, Kristen has gone through many heartbreaking obstacles, but music has been her escape to overcome them. She was first introduced to music back when schools provided musical education for their students, but due to many budget cuts schools are now cutting those art programs. Kristen wants to help spread that musical outlet to children because she wants them to experience the same music education sheâ€™s received and also help them find a path to a potential music future.
By Jessica Vergara
Kristen is 17 years old and the youngest of her two sisters. When she was nine, her mother died of breast cancer and that was a very tough time for her. Kristen has been in choir since elementary school and is now in the highest choir at Mountain View High, Madrigals. Two years ago, Kristen was in A Capella and they were planning a tour to Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving break. During this time, Kristen’s family was going through financial struggles. After her mother died, her father tried his very best to be a single father of three daughters and keep their house. In the end, they eventually lost their house to foreclosure and that put her father through a lot of stress (Nguyen).
In late November, her father went missing and he wasn’t heard from again until Christmas. Two kayakers saw a dead body floating in the Santa Ynez river. On December 29th, a lady from the Santa Clara Coroners department came over to tell her older sister that the body identified in the river was indeed their father, and according to her oldest sister, “[Kristen] was an emotional mess.” After losing her mother to breast cancer, she lost her father too. Her father was her musical inspiration. They both loved to sing and play guitar. Her father knew how to play guitar and she wanted to teach herself how to play it too. Kristen settled herself by taking the computer Danielle was using to type
her homework to use it as her sheet music. She started playing a cover of Viva La Primadonna on the piano while she and Danielle were harmonizing. Kristen is very oxymoron character. Her favorite artist are usually “non-hop-hop, mainstreamed” artist like: Regina Spektor, Fun., Pan!c! At The Disco, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Fleetfoxes, and Monsters and Men, but she really likes the band Fun., a very mainstreamed and popular artist on the radio. She says that they’re great live and they use autotune as a stylistic effect rather than hindering their voices to hide the fact that they can’tsing. She’s the type of person who cares about the meaning and story of behind the song lyrics rather
than who the artist is. She is also not the type of person who listens to music whenever she’s feeling sad because it’ll just make her more manic depressed. In eighth grade, we were auditioning for a solo in an upcoming choir concert. One girl sang “My Immortal” by Evanescence. She left the room crying and I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that the song reminded her of her mother. Without the presence of her mother, Ms. Jill Denny helps fill in as a second mom to Kristen. She really helped Kristen when her father went missing and after he passed away. She paid for her trip to Puerto Rico, she’s going to pay for her vocal lessons, and she’s even paying for the phone she’s using now! “She’s
definitely like a second mom to me, but until last year she’s been spelling my name with an ‘i instead of an ‘e’ but I was like ‘that’s OK, that’s OK with everybody...’” (Redaniel). Ms. Denny also fought for Kristen to stay at Mountain View after the school threatened to kick her out because she didn’t live in the district anymore. Kristen and Ms. Denny, along with other choir students, help out at Oak Elementary to provide music to those children there because the schools doesn’t have the funds for music classes. I went in one Wednesday morning to see how these morning choir classes were like. When I walked in a ton of little children came running through the door excited to sing. It
was 7 in fricken’ morning and these kids are already up! It was crazy! I told Ms. Denny how surprised I was and she told me, “well they’re all are having fun so they don’t care what time it is!” Ms. Denny created this program so that these children can have a comfortable place to sing and be with their friends. “Music creates community. When you find somebody that has similar music taste to you, you automatically click with them. You’re automatically friends” (Redaniel). Studies show that “listening to a certain type, or types, of music can give teenagers access to a peer group of other teenage listeners” (Allen). These kids now have a safe place where they can sing and be with other peers who also
“helping others is a big part of what I want to do” love to sing. “When you enter a music room and you focus on singing, all your problems just disappear because that’s all you’re thinking about” (Redaniel). If you’re in a room with people who love to do the same activity as you do then you’ll most likely build a great friendship. Kristen has met a majority of her friends through choir, and that wouldn’t have happened if they all weren’t comfortable with each other and didn’t share their love for music. Ms. Denny, Kristen, and many others are trying to bring that music environment to younger generations so they also can have that opportunity to be exposed to that atmosphere. Kristen is creating a new club at Mountain View High School called Improv Club. “It will give people
a place to express themselves in a creative way” (Redaniel). Not only will it give people a chance to practice their acting skills, play fun theater games, and perform in front of small audiences, they will also fundraise for the Saving The Arts Program to help save the arts in schools that can’t afford it. “If there weren’t any arts programs at the school I don’t know what I’ll be doing with my life, so helping other people find that outlet is a big part of what I want to do”(Redaniel). If arts can be saved at schools, there will be more children exposed to the benefits of music, arts, and even acting that can improve their life skills. Kristen is now a senior and has many options for college majors. In sophomore year, Kristen was in a
musical when she realized her love for musical theater. Even though Kristen would love to major in musical theater, she realized that she’s a “terrible dancer” so she has decided to major in vocal performance which is what she’s been leaning towards this whole time. According to Kristen, if she somehow became deaf and couldn’t listen to music anymore, she’d kill herself, but then she said, “I could be one of those special people that could feel vibrations. Like be able to tell pitch through vibrations. Then I would either die or get into a really good college because they’ll be like ‘Oh my god, she’s deaf and she can sing. This is the best girl ever!’” (Redaniel).