Tag Archives: west sacramento news

Summer camp for RCHS club members

The author, 17-year old Danny Thirakul, cheers for competitors in the Mind Olympics   (photo by Gunnar Hatzenbiler, also age 17)

The author, 17-year old Danny Thirakul, cheers for competitors in the Mind Olympics
(photo by Gunnar Hatzenbiler, also age 17)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 3, 2014 —

By Danny Thirakul
River City High School Interact Club

Five River City High School students start the new school year Aug. 20 having attended a different kind of summer camp – one that builds not only camaraderie, but character. The Camp RYLA campers are in the River City High School Interact Club, sponsored by West Sac’s two Rotary clubs: Centennial Rotary and Rotary Club of West Sacramento.

Camp RYLA – Rotary Youth Leadership Awards – proved to be a life changing experience for the five West Sacramento Interactors:  Jessica Ngo, 17, Danny Thirakul, 17, Jayne Chong, 17, Eric Arauza, 17 and JuliaMarie Quenga, 17.

Located at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Camp RYLA hosts “Interactors” from throughout Rotary District 5180. The high school juniors attend the week-long camp courtesy of full camp scholarships from their sponsoring local Rotary clubs. This year, Sacramento’s Pocket-Greenhaven Rotary Club also awarded a scholarship to River City Interactor Jayne Chong.

RCHS Interact Club President Jessica Ngo says the camp experience “makes you feel like you belong, pushes you to be open, to confront your fears, to be confident in yourself and your abilities, and above all be you!”

At the camp, students are sorted into different teams/groups, where they engage in different icebreakers. They also enjoy many outdoor activities such as archery, kayaking, mountain hiking, and swimming. The ropes course challenges campers both physically and mentally, Jayne says. Campers are encouraged to be open and face their fears with the help and support of their team. She said, “My favorite part was the ropes course because it was amazing how many were able to face their fears.”

Other self-esteem building activities include group games such as the Mind Olympics, Cross the Line, and Superhero. Campers also attend motivational speeches by special guest speakers, the camp directors, and camp counselors.

Throughout the week the teens learn a lot about themselves. Danny says, “They broke themselves down to the tiniest atom and rebuilt themselves bigger and better than ever.” While most of campers start out as strangers, by the end of camp, he says, they feel like family.

To learn more about the Interact Club at River City High School, go to:
http://rivercity.wusd.k12.ca.us/interact

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Flags going up again for popular 9/11 memorial in West Sacramento

JOHN VINSON at an earlier edition of his annual flag memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (News-Ledger file photo)

JOHN VINSON at an earlier edition of his annual flag memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (News-Ledger file photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER OF WEST SACRAMENTO

John Vinson’s popular flag display in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will return from September 10-14 at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and South River Road in Southport. Thousands of American flags will again be on display.

You can read what the organizer had to say about last year’s display in this News-Ledger article.

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Empower Yolo celebrates the ’50s with a fundraiser at Woodland venue

The unusual ‘Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Museum in Woodland boasts -- if you look closely, both an airplane and a car crashing into the walls, as well as a barber pole. Inside, there are antique soda vending machines and plenty of other Fifties flashbacks. (courtesy photo)

The unusual ‘Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Museum in Woodland boasts — if you look closely, both an airplane and a car crashing into the walls, as well as a barber pole. Inside, there are antique soda vending machines and plenty of other Fifties flashbacks. (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —  SEPT 3, 2014 —

Empower Yolo, which provides violence-prevention and crisis intervention services to women and children in Yolo County, will host a party and fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The “Rebels With a Cause: Driving Out Violence” event will be held at Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Museum, a Woodland landmark decorated with vintage 1950s memorabilia, antiques, and relics of classic car culture.

The end-of-the-summer soiree will feature “doo-wop” music, Motown and Fifties hits, a car show, a 1950s costume contest, silent auction and more.

The event starts at 4 p.m. on Sept. 20 at 52 Jefferson Street, Woodland. Buy tickets ($25) online at www.empoweryolo.org/rebels or at Empower Yolo, 175 Walnut Street in Woodland.  Ticket price includes the music, car show, drink ticket, hors d’oeuvres and a tour of the museum. Sponsorship opportunities available.

Empower Yolo is a nonprofit formerly known as the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.

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RCHS music director tries to pick up tempo; believes music has value to education, development

ANTHONY MARVELLI on stage. He’s chairman of the arts program at River City High School, and plays trumpet with a band in his spare time. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy photo)

ANTHONY MARVELLI on stage. He’s chairman of the arts program at River City High School, and plays trumpet with a band in his spare time. Click to enlarge.
(Courtesy photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 3, 2014 —

From Heather Wright
News-Ledger Correspondent

Anthony Marvelli is chair of the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department at River City High School, a professional brass player with area band “Joy and Madness,” and a mentor.
As a performer, he and his band combine sounds of soul, funk, and salsa to get people out of their seats to dance. As an instructor, he teaches a much wider variety of music. According to Marvelli, “Music has taken over my life and I love it!”  He believes music education, leadership skills, and community involvement are interconnected and is committed to expanding VAPA opportunities for West Sacramento’s youth.

It started when he was a kid attending the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in the 1980s.

“I used to attend these festivals every Memorial Day weekend with my parents, and fell in love with Dixieland Jazz. It was animated and fun, especially the trombone player.”

Even at Disneyland, he gravitated toward the French Quarter for the music and atmosphere. In fourth grade, he took classical trumpet lessons.

“In fifth grade, we got to choose our instruments. I had hoped to play the trombone like Dixieland jazz musicians, but it wasn’t an option.” So, he stuck with the trumpet, like many of his favorite musicians – Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and Clifford Brown – and continued playing at school.

What started Marvelli on a leadership path?

“In seventh grade, my band teacher commented that the lead trumpet is the band leader,” he explained. “I also got encouragement from my mother. I began putting together ensembles for the talent show and then in high school I took over the leadership position of the pep band.”

By this time, Marvelli knew he wanted to play music for the rest of his life. He majored in Jazz Studies Performance Music at the University of North Texas to parlay his love of music into a teaching career. “Then, to my surprise, my performance career took off.” He got gigs on Carnival cruise ships during school breaks, in cover bands, and for stars such as Engelbert Humperdinck, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, and Paul Anka.

As a performer Marvelli plays the trumpet, but as a teacher he provides instruction on wind ensemble instruments, including woodwinds, brass and percussion, as well as digital music production.

“This is my fifth year teaching at River City and directing the marching band,” he said. “Last year, our band outgrew the decades’ old uniforms and the school board approved funds to buy new uniforms. The kids looked so sharp last year in the MLK and Veteran’s Day Parades in Sacramento. Our wind ensemble continues to rank at the top of area competitions.”

Last year, Marvelli created a Big Band Ensemble, and it was so popular that the students voluntarily came to daily practice before school even started. All the bands perform at school and community functions including athletic events, rallies, holiday benefits, restaurant patios, and parades. RCHS also has a talented student jazz band – the Syncopating Sea Monkeys, directed by Felicia Weatherly. Coincidentally, the Sea Monkeys perform every year at the Sacramento Music Festival, previously known as the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee – Marvelli’s childhood inspiration.

Marvelli says that playing music is a journey where one learns to embrace creativity, to problem-solve in diverse situations, technical skills, how to collaborate with diverse groups and to navigate political situations. The goal is to be better than yesterday. It’s such a simple goal, yet one that drives perpetual personal and group growth. “As a teacher, I hope my students take it very seriously and that it permeates all aspects of their lives.”

Why teach music?

“Where do I start?,” Marvelli responded. “It begins with the individual. Musical training has vast positive effects on the developing brain which leads to improved school behavior and study habits, even staving off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, being a part of a school band teaches kids practical skills such as punctuality, appropriate attire and behavior. A band also serves as a microcosm of society – with democratic rule-making, establishment of leaders and followers, teamwork for improvement, and emphasizes the value of each role in the successful and smooth operation of the whole group.”

In the short four years that Marvelli has been at River City, the music-culture of the school has grown and he plans on supporting that growth throughout the school, district, and community.

Many of West Sacramento’s leaders have the common thread of a musical background. Perhaps coincidence, but more likely an indicator of the connection between music and leadership. Kids that played in their school bands are now mayors, supervisors, council members, and school board members. Those creative and collaborative kids grew into adults that use those skills to work with diverse groups of people to better their community. Marvelli hopes to foster this civic engagement and leadership in his students. In addition to the beautiful music created by teamwork, “the overwhelming sense of community that is felt creates this sense of being a part of the same organism. It’s really extraordinary to get that feeling,” he says in a passionate and persuasive tone.

Together with local leaders, Marvelli worked create the new K-8 Visual and Performing Arts Program being implemented this fall. “This program will get our kids into music and the arts earlier than ever and serve as a successful feeder program for the high school.”

He hopes to work with West Sacramento’s leaders to create a local musical festival which would include the school bands, other local bands, as well as the myriad cultural and religious bands from the area – Russian, Mexican, Muslim, and Sikh.

“This would showcase our local talent and cultivate an understanding and appreciation of many cultures and demonstrate the overlap in music styles, texture, and instrumentation there is among our diverse community groups,” he said.

For more information on events and performances or to make a contribution, visit the website at www.rivercityregiment.com and for regular updates, “like” them on Facebook.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014