Singers perform in Vocal Solo Show

By Caroline Sturgeon ’20
Lilah Weisman ’20 performs Sara Bareilles “Love Song” Credit: Caroline Sturgeon ’20/SPECTRUM

Members from Wolverine Singers, Madrigals and Vocal Ensemble showcased their voices during Middle School Vocal Solo Show. The event was held at the Saperstein Theatre on March 5. Students each picked songs ranging from the popular “All I Ask” by Adele to “La Vie en Rose,” a French song originally performed by Edith Piaf.

The artists spent a lot time working together, and they also got to have individual lessons to perfect their songs.

“We would go in with [Choir Director Nina] Burtcheall and [Middle School Accompanist Christopher] Wong and sing it for them. We also worked with a vocal coach named Clark Harris who helped us with choreography and voice technique,” Scarlett Strasberg ’20 said.

The show featured artists who had performed in the show before as well as artists who sang in the show last year.

“I was so excited to perform and be there in front of so many people because you don’t get a lot of opportunities to do that. This was also very nerve-wracking. Singing in front of so many people can be scary because you always have that feeling that you are not going to do well,” Alexandra DuManoir ’21 said.

Students said that the environment during the show was very supportive. Artists voiced that they were thankful and excited to have a place to share their talent and be supportive of each other.

“I was most excited about singing my song because I have worked very hard on it, and I was ready to perform it in front of everyone,” Alec Davila ’20 said.


Cooking Column: Quick n’ Go Edition

By Sarah Reiff ’20 and Astor Wu ’20

Being a student with a busy life, it’s hard to find time to make breakfast every morning. We all would rather stay in bed for those extra 10 minutes then get up and cook a meal. For this issue, Cooking Column brings you fast and easy breakfast ideas that you can prepare in under 10 minutes and eat on your way to school.

CC Quick n' Go logo AWU.jpg

Our first recipe is a classic and simple Double Berry breakfast parfait. If there is no time to prepare something the night before a school day, then these parfaits are the perfect last minute option. They’re super easy to make and are very mess free.

Double Berry Breakfast Parfait

smiling with berries
Credit: Giselle Dalili ’20/SPECTRUM

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup of Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup of a combination of strawberries and blueberries
  • Granola to your liking
  • Honey


  1. Put a layer of yogurt in a jar or plastic container.
  2. Layer yogurt and fruit one to two times.
  3. Put a drizzle of honey and granola for taste.
  4. Repeat steps until your container is filled.
  5. Enjoy!


The second recipe we have is for a unique Fro-Yo Popsicle. You can make these popsicles a few days in advance, freeze them and then just grab them in the morning on your way out of the house for the rest of the week.

Fro-Yo Popsicle

Credit: Giselle Dalili ’20/SPECTRUM

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups your choice of fresh fruit- feel free to mix and match any fruits
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Pour an even amount of mixture into your popsicle molds (if you don’t have any popsicle molds you can use a paper cup)
  3. Freeze for about 6 hours or overnight
  4. Enjoy!


Check out our video tutorial where we demonstrate that both of these recipes can be prepped in under 10 minutes at We hope you enjoy these tasty recipes!


Worth The Hype: Yeezys by Kanye West

By Robert Osborne ’20
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Credit: Robert Osborne ’20/SPECTRUM

On Dec. 3, 2013, Kanye West and Adidas released a sneaker called “Yeezy.” It was named after one of West’s albums “Yeezus,” which came out months before the shoe release. He has come out with four models of the shoe and will soon expand into the sports arena with a football and basketball sneaker. These shoes have taken off in popularity and have become a figurehead for the Adidas brand. However, most editions have a hefty price tag and are not easy to come by. On the first day of sale for the “Yeezy 350,” the first Yeezy shoe, it sold out within 10 minutes. The shoes retailed for $350, but considering the limited supply (9,000), they were resold for a much higher price (around $1,000 – $2,000 depending on the model). As a result, fake Yeezys were made and were sold for only a fraction of the cost and are almost a direct replica of the real shoe. Also, even though the shoe is made by Adidas, it is rare that they are sold in an Adidas store. Therefore, most people end up buying them online and are sometimes sold fake Yeezys without knowing. Thanks to the collaboration with Adidas, the shoe has Adidas’s signature sole material: Adidas boost. West originally collaborated with Nike to make the “Air Yeezy” in 2009 and the “Air Yeezy II” in 2012, but he decided to work with Adidas due to creative differences and Nike’s refusal to share royalties on his shoes.

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Uploaded with Permission of Fedor Kirilenko ’20

Some students like Yeezys while others are not fond of the shoe.

“Yeezys are not worth the hype because they cost too much for what you’re getting… I can buy fake Yeezys for half the price. They look ok but I would not wear them,” Viswa Douglass ‘21 said.

Others think that the shoe is outdated.

“I personally do not really like Yeezys. They are too expensive for what you are getting out of them.  They do not seem very comfortable and do not seem that interesting.  They used to be really cool, but now they are just normal,” Langston Holly ‘20 said

Other students offered a word of advice for potential buyers.

“I love Yeezys; in fact, I have the original model on right now and they are so comfortable and I love them. The technology that Adidas uses is absolutely insane. Overall, retail is $200 and they run out quickly. I would suggest waiting for new releases.  I would recommend the shoe to a friend because it is so comfortable, and it is so cushiony; the materials and quality of the shoe is great.  It is for people who have a lot of money and people who are willing to spend it on shoes,” Fedor Kirilenko ‘20 said.

In an online survey sent to the Middle School, 42 percent of 331 respondents said that they would give Yeezys a thumbs up and 58 percent said they would give them a thumbs down. Even though Yeezys are comfortable and attention grabbing, I would give them a thumbs down because of the expensive price for an average shoe.



Yale a cappella group visits campus

By Giselle Dalili ’20
Students react to the Yale a cappella group’s performance. Credit: Giselle Dalili ’20/SPECTRUM

The Baker’s Dozen is one of Yale’s many male a cappella groups performed for the Middle School Madrigals and Vocal Ensemble on Jan. 12. The group was touring the West Coast when they sang for the Middle School during their Los Angeles stop. Although the Baker’s Dozen sang during the Madrigals’ and Vocal Ensemble’s class, the show was also open to anyone with fifth or sixth period free.

The Yale group performed at the Middle School specifically because one of the singers, Teddy Sokoloff ‘15, used to sing in Boys Chorus and Madrigals.

“It was nice to see an old student come back with his new choir,” Choral director Nina Burtchaell said.

The group consisted of male Yale students who were both upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. They began the show by introducing themselves and the fields they are majoring in. They also told jokes, which students said made the performance more fun.

“The whole performance was great, but what really added to it were the jokes that they told,” Vocal Ensemble singer Naomi Ogden ’20 said.
The Baker’s Dozen sang a range of songs without accompaniment. In between songs, the group chatted with the audience. Students said that the overall feel to their performance was light and upbeat.

“It was a fun environment. I really enjoyed the songs they sang because they were so different and had funny lyrics,” Vocal Ensemble singer Rileigh Repovich ’20 said.

After the performance, the group divided the higher voices and lower voices of the Madrigals and Vocal Ensemble and taught them the Yale fight song, “Bulldog”. At the end of the session, the two groups joined and sang the Yale anthem. Students said they were very excited to sing the song because it made them feel as if they they were a part of the group.

“It was such a privilege to sing their fight song. It was so interesting, and I hope that the Baker’s Dozen comes back next year,” Madrigals singer Nina Neumann ’20 said.


CAIS Music Festival takes place

By Hannah Han ’21 and Celine Park ’21
Students from multiple schools perform together at the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Credit: Astor Wu ’20/SPECTRUM

Students from seventh to twelfth grade travelled to the Viewpoint School to perform for the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Music Festival on Feb. 3. Middle School Performing Arts Chair Emily Reola and Upper School Symphony conductor Mark Hilt selected a few students to attend the event which occurred on Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

Middle School Symphony cellist Lauren Cho ‘21 explained the preparation process for the event.

“On Friday we rehearsed from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The practice itself was rigorous. We had auditions to decide which chair we were seated in and the choice of auditioning for a solo,” Cho said.

The symphony played three pieces, and Middle School Symphony violinist Kailey Suh ‘21 described what it was like to play them.

“The first piece is Concerto in D Minor by Antonio Vivaldi, which I had the hardest time playing… because it was really quick. The second piece is Holberg Suite Prelude by Greig, a heavy march band-like piece, and the last piece was the Third and Fourth Movements of Legends by Loris Chobanian,” Suh said.

Suh said she felt intimidated but felt that the experience was worthwhile in the end.

“At first I was scared because I thought the kids were better and older than me, but when we started rehearsing it was really fun. I think we all did very well,” Suh said.

Jazz musicians hold show

By Isabel von Mende ’20

Middle School Jazz Band musicians performed in the “Winter Big Band Jazz Concert” on Feb. 3 in the Saperstein Theatre. They played a setlist of nearly 20 pieces including James Van Heusen’s “Come Fly with Me” and Karl Suessdorf’s “Moonlight in Vermont.”

The band consists of wind instruments and a rhythm section. Students meet five times a cycle and are taught by performing arts teacher Starr Wayne.

“[My favorite part of the concert was] playing with the Jazz Explorers because you get to play whatever you want[…]My favorite song was ‘Fantasia.’ The Jazz Explorers played it, and it was my favorite because I got to play a drum solo in it,” drummer Andy Lee ’20 said.

Madrigals singer Alec Davila ’20 joined the ensemble to sing Charles Trenet’s “Beyond the Sea.”

“It was a really fun experience just being with all my friends and knowing how hard they worked. I loved the outcome of everything[…]So far this year, performing with Jazz Band has definitely been a highlight,” Davila said.

The students, faculty and families that came to the concert said that they really enjoyed it.

“I had a couple of really good friends in it. It sounded really fun, and I wanted to watch them to see what they were working towards because I know that my friends have been working really hard,” Jessica Gestetner ’20 said.


Guest choreographer visits

By Alex Daum ’20

The dance program hosted Teresa “Toogie” Barcelo to teach students in Intro to Contemporary Dance and Contemporary Dance Workshop I and II on Feb. 17.

Barcelo grew up in Miami and has been dancing for most of her life, connecting with her mother’s Spanish heritage by learning classical Spanish dances, such as the flamenco, starting at age four. When Barcelo moved to Los Angeles, she used her multiple talents in the fields of visual art, video and photo direction, choreographing and improvisation as a multi-disciplinary artist.  Barcelo met performing arts teacher Joe Schenck at Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, where Barcelo is now the Associate Artistic Director.

Schenck told of the specific ways that Barcelo’s dance style will influence the dance students.

“I hope that the students came out of Toogie’s classes with some more tools for creating choreography and new ways for accessing original movement and creative movement […] Hopefully they will have a deeper sense of creativity […] and instead of trying to recreate other dances that they have seen I want my students to become the creators themselves,” Schenck said.

Students said that when Barcelo visited the Middle School, she focused on using the whole body to dance.

“I really took away the idea of incorporating every part of your body to express yourself through motion because I think that when many think of the word dance, the idea of only using your eyes or your fingers to help express yourself comes to mind. It was very interesting what she said, and I think we all gained something,” Jakob Adler ’20 said.

Eighth, ninth grade artists show work

By Samantha Morris ’21

The artwork of eighth and ninth grade students enrolled in first semester visual arts courses was exhibited in a showcase on Jan. 26. The event was held in the Arlene Schnitzer Gallery from 3:30-5 p.m. Although initially scheduled for Jan. 12, the showcase was postponed to allow seventh grade art more time to be shared. The event featured works from all visual arts electives, and the display will remain viewable until the beginning of March. Students have said that they are appreciating this extended opportunity to observe art.

“Every time I walk into Wang Hall, I pass the art and enjoy seeing the work of my classmates,” Natalie Barnouw ’21 said.

The event was organized through the combined efforts of all visual arts instructors, who began curating pieces in early January. The showcase was formatted as a gallery opening, and attendees viewed the art while the Middle School Jazz Explorers performed. Pizza was also served, along with baked goods brought by a student.

“It was so exciting to see the art and listen to music. I feel like it was a really good way to show our community what we have been doing,” art student Ella Moriarty ’21 said.

This event was designed to honor students in first-semester visual arts classes, and to acknowledge all the hard work they have done. There will be a second showcase at the end of the year featuring the work of those in second-semester art courses. Students, parents and teachers attended this recent showcase.

“I thought the best part of the whole show was the collaboration and having the Jazz Explorers there to perform. It just made it a very festive show, and everyone was very proud to see their work and proud to hear the music of our students,” Visual Arts Department Head Katherine Palmer ’98 said.









‘Rogue One’ meets expectations

By Tanisha Gunby’21


“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was released on Dec. 16 and had the second-biggest December opening ever. It is the first standalone film in the “Star Wars” series and made $155 million at the box office during its first weekend.

The story takes place in the days leading up to “Episode IV — A New Hope.” The film focuses on Jyn Erso (Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones), who unwillingly becomes part of the Alliance, the group that fights against the Empire. When she was a young girl, her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), a former scientist, was forcibly taken by the Empire to build their most powerful weapon, the Death Star. Without the Empire knowing, he put a small weakness in the design of the Death Star’s defenses which could allow the Alliance to destroy it. When the movie takes place, Jyn and a small band of Alliance fighters must capture the Death Star’s plans quickly before it destroys the rebellion.

The majority of the film is set over a few days and seamlessly links to “Episode IV — A New Hope,” in which the Alliance uses the captured plans to destroy the Death Star. The director cleverly uses computer-generated imagery to bring back the commander of the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin, who was played by the late Peter Cushing in “Episode IV.” However, the film relies heavily on fast paced action, fighting and special effects rather than a strong storyline, which was characteristic of Episode IV.

Overall, “Rogue One” is an enjoyable standalone film and a must see for “Star Wars” fans who want to learn more about the “Star Wars” story.

Rating: 4 stars

Cooking Column: Holiday Edition

By Sarah Reiff ’20 and Astor Wu ’20

Now that winter break is over, students are starting to reminisce about the holiday cheer. This issue, Cooking Column brings these delicious Peppermint Cake Pops, with winter’s chilly feel to block out Los Angeles’ burning hot weather. Even though this recipe takes time, the end product makes it worthwhile.

Peppermint Cake Pops

Note: In order to make cake pops, first need to bake cupcakes that you crumble to make your cake pops.

The complete peppermint cake pops. Photo credit: Giselle Dalili ’20/SPECTRUM

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
  3. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will look very thin but don’t worry, that’s how it should look).
  5. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners until they are ¾ full.
  6. Bake for around 25 minutes, then let cool.

Ingredients for the Peppermint Frosting:

  • ½ cup room temperature butter
  • 6 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Place butter into a stand mixer. Mix slightly.
  2. Add cream cheese and mix until fully combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add powdered sugar slowly and mix on low speed until fully combined.
  4. Increase to medium speed and mix until the texture is fluffy.
  5. Add vanilla and peppermint extract.
  6. Slowly add heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  8. Use at once or store in refrigerator (frosting will last for several days but you may have to re-beat for the best texture).

Optional decorations:

  1. Melt ½ cup white chocolate to roll the cake pops in.
  2. Crush up 5 candy canes to also roll the cake pops in.

Making the Cake Pops:

  1. After letting the cake cool off, crumble it into little pieces.
  2. Take frosting and combine it with the crumbled cake pieces. Make sure everything is evenly incorporated and that you can form little balls with the cake-frosting mix without it falling apart.
  3. Using either hand or an ice cream scooper, create little balls with the cake-frosting mix that are your desired size.
  4. Cover the balls in the melted chocolate, and then roll them through crushed peppermint sticks.
  5. Put a peppermint stick into the cake pop so you can hold the pop.
  6. Put in freezer until the chocolate has hardened.
  7. Enjoy!