Three things made this year’s ArtBeat Fall Fusion a truly special event: great lighting and decorations, talented performers, and most importantly, tasty waffles. Although ArtBeat was founded a few years ago, the success of the 2019 Fall Fushion solidified the group as a prominent fixture of RHS for years to come and signaled that the organization would prosper on after last year’s crop of leaders graduated. The most recent event marked a tremendous turning point towards the larger goal of improving school spirit and making RHS “cool again” after a few years of poorly attended spirit weeks, pep rallies, and Junior-Senior dances.
So what made Fall Fusion so “cool” and in-touch with what students wanted? The performances spanned across multiple student groups, providing a variety of entertainment for attendees to enjoy, and the entire event was planned and orchestrated by a student committee that understands what RHS students enjoy.
The three student presidents of the ArtBeat committee, Jake Rubenstein, Tammi David, and Saori Takahashi, worked extremely hard to coordinate this event, as did the rest of the club’s members. Fall Fusion was the first event they planned as new leaders. Rubenstein commented that “coordinating Fall Fusion was an exciting but exhausting task.”
Since the courtyard was rained out, the event was moved to the Campus Center; despite this sudden change, the lighting and overall setup was spot on. Takahashi added that although “this year was the first time that Fall Fusion was held inside because of the rain, it lended well to the welcoming atmosphere [Artbeat was] going for.” There were tables surrounding the main performance area and concert-goers sitting around the room in different configurations. The overhead spot lights were dimmed considerably, and Christmas lights were adorned all over the room. There was also a decorative display of pumpkins that help tie the theme of the event together, each painted with one letter of “A-R-T-B-E-A-T.” Finally, there was a station with ArtBeat members serving waffles. The event was a great success for Ridgewood High School and ArtBeat, and all of the attendees enjoyed the carefully curated atmosphere that accompanied the music.
Another aspect that made the night so exceptional was the ability to watch students perform in a small, intimate environment, not a formal, curricular band playing in a packed campus center with the lights on full blast. For an observer, it was refreshing to see RHS musicians perform alternative genres of music at a school event. From rock to folk to jazz, the 2019 Fall Fusion had music for all different tastes. Takahashi remarked that the “focus on creating a more friendly and casual environment where the performers, band and especially solo acoustic acts could connect with the audience” made this year’s event truly unique.
The efforts of the ArtBeat committee were successful. The audience was really into the music and people were clapping and dancing along. For Rubenstein, serving as both a drummer and a leader, “performing was a blast and it was amazing to watch the other acts.” Everyone was smiling with glee, happy to see their fellow students performing. There was a long list of musicians that performed over the entire two hour period, and each of them showed immense talent and appreciation for their craft. Some of the performers even put up hilarious backdrops on the projector screen, like a 24-hour loop of Ron Swanson sitting in front of a cozy fireplace.
Rubenstein noted that while “it was difficult to accommodate everyone’s needs for instruments, amplifiers, and other equipment, it all paid off during the event.” The ArtBeat committee was rightfully satisfied with how the event turned out, as were the musicians and attendees. Takahashi remarks: “We saw kids dancing and having fun, which is exactly what we wanted!”
Check out our video from the event: http://www.rhshightimes.com/artbeat-fall-fusion-video
Graphic: Jake Rubenstein