Tuesday, December 31, 2013

UCF drops opening conference game to Louisville

    ORLANDO — The UCF Knights men’s basketball team struggled to keep pace with the reigning NCAA champion Louisville Cardinals, which led to a hard fought 90-65 loss on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the CFE Arena.

    Louisville players and coaching staff used this game to show that they are still a cohesive unit after all the unwanted distractions over the recent dismissal of star forward Chane Behanan.

    “Give Louisville credit,” said UCF head coach Donnie Jones during the post-game interview. “Their coming in here going through some adversity a little bit and knew they’d be incredibly focused after a loss at Kentucky.”

    This game was highlighted by talented players from Louisville, with teamwork and clutch scoring that grabbed an early lead over UCF and never relinquished it.

    Louisville’s Russ Smith shined with 24 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers to begin the second half of the game. Luke Hancock’s 16 points and 15 points scored by Montrezl Harrell rounded out the top three scorers for the Cardinals.

    UCF players were kept at bay throughout the game as Louisville set the pace and maintained control on both ends of the court. Only a small comeback near the end of the first half threaten to turn around this game, but was strongly dampened by a strong return by Louisville in the second half.

    UCF guard Isaiah Sykes lead his team with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, but lacked the ability to create headway alone with no other Knight players scoring over 10 points.

    “Every possession matters, I don’t think no team in this conference will be able to take plays off,” said Sykes after the game.

    UCF now plans to watch game footage from this loss to learn what they can to prepare for their next home game, which is a conference challenge against the Temple Owls on Saturday.

    Tip-off against Temple is set for 4 p.m. EST at the CFE Arena on the UCF campus.

By James Tutten

(All photos by James Tutten)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Diverse collaboration at annual holiday concert

     ORLANDO — Jon Territo has ended his first full-time year as director of bands at Valencia College with a first time collaboration of all Valencia College music performance groups at the annual Holiday Celebration Concert.

     “We collaborated for the first time with all four of these groups, I think it’s great, I think we need to do more of that because this is the fine arts campus,” said Territo following the last performance for the groups on Thursday, Dec. 5. “I really have a passion to try and collaborate to showcase the talents of the students as many ways as we can, and this is one great way to do it all together.”

     This concert featured Valencia’s Contemporary Ensemble, Valencia Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Valencia Singers, and Valencia Woodwind Quintet. These groups performed holiday music from the classic to modern style, which calumniated into a grand arrangement that embodied the entire music program at Valencia College.

     The upbeat glee club performance of Valencia Contemporary Ensemble started off the concert with classic caroling voices for songs like “Christmas Time” and “Jingle Bells.” Their set also featured a charming duet between Jade Roberts and Michael Woodbury of the playful tune “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

     Performers from the Valencia Festival Orchestra took the stage next to play classical music arrangements including “Christmas Celebration” and the Old English song “Wexford Carol.” A warm sound flowed from the diverse orchestra featuring more than 10 violinists, several brass and horns, and other woodwind and percussion players.

     The orchestra stayed in position after their songs as 40 vocal performers from the Valencia Singers entered the sides of the Performing Arts Center. Their opening song featured procession from “A Ceremony of Carols” that created a haunting ambience of sound as they worked their way to the stage. The Valencia Singers continued with the melancholy composition of “Hodie” that roared with a large sound that surpassed even the group of musician that presided them.

     One of the singers at this concert Joseph Ashenheim, performed with both the Contemporary Ensemble and Valencia Singers and described his experience as “It’s been very busy, but a lot of fun,” said Ashenheim. “Both groups are very good at what they do and it’s just been a pleasure to sing with both.”

     The evening of music reached its pinnacle of sound after the Valencia Singers finished their set. It was then that all the members on stage performed together as a dramatic showcase that embodied everything the spirit of the evening intended. Songs like “The First Nowell,” “Carol of the Kings,” and “Joy To The World” came to life with dramatic crescendos and rich tone that filled the auditorium.

     “The sound is really big, the sound is really full when we all come together,” said cellist Jennifer Cirtchlow. “I would like to play in professional orchestras in the future that record the soundtrack for movie scores.”

     This concert signified the end of the year and culmination of a semester for music students at Valencia College. The hope now by Valencia’s music directors is the continued progression of their music students and a program with more grand events like this to come.

By James Tutten

(Photos by James Tutten)

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