This was a journalism project for my college’s Introduction to Journalism class. I had to write a story on the school’s Fine Arts production, a formal event that takes place twice a semester where the college invites performers to play incredible music and students put on astounding dramas and operas.
Pensacola Christian College freshmen faced their first Fine Arts last week, receiving many mixed opinions and emotions from upper classmen before the night of the performance.
“I knew it was going to be better than a normal symphony, and I really like symphonies, but that was about it,” said Christy Piper, freshman.
Like Piper, most freshmen at PCC had little knowledge about the campus formal event known as Fine Arts. Freshmen could glean facts from the chapel announcements, such as Fine Arts was a musical performance, that it featured the Harmonious Strings of San Paulo, and that the conductor was known for “getting the audience involved,” as attested by Rachel Moses during one chapel announcement.
But what the freshmen didn’t know was the opinions of Fine Arts from upper classmen.
“I got a a lot of ‘The first ones are always dumb and the plays are always fantastic,’” said Piper.
Other freshmen formed a lower opinion based on testimonies from older friends.
“I think it’s going to suck,” said Joel Harrington when asked about his expectations several days before the performance. He blamed his negative outlook on his friends’ word. “They say it’s long and boring because they don’t like music, but I like it so I don’t know. It could be okay. When I get in there, we’ll see.”
When asked to rate his expectations as a 1/10, Harrington gave a one, “probably not” a two.
Other challenges for the freshman class proved to be getting ready for the event itself Saturday night. Because of the formal requirements, girl dorms were overrun by ladies rushing up and down the elevators, brandishing hair straighteners and curling irons.
“I was kind of negative going into it, and I didn’t really want to get dressed up, but it’s actually kind of fun because I look like a half-normal person now,” said Dixon resident Rachel Wiedell amid the aftermath of typical Fine Arts carnage that cluttered the dorm room.
“I got to curl my hair and put makeup on for like an hour, and I smell pretty good,” she added with a laugh.
By the end of the performance, many freshmen changed their outlook on their first Fine Arts, listing their favorite numbers from the show, usually including the American song Fiddle Faddle, where the musicians jumped from their chairs without breaking a note in their score. Others specifically mentioned that they liked the Harmonious Strings conductor including the audience in his encores, inviting them to move with the music and sing as instructed.
Rachel Wiedell, returning to her Dixon room after the program, summed up her thoughts on her first Fine Arts series. “Tonight was amazing. I wish [the Harmonious Strings] were here every year.”