After a year of all things virtual, the Fountain Valley High School Vocal Music Program is in full throttle, ready to bring back campus traditions.
The choir program hosted its annual Fall Festival on Oct. 30, selling wristbands for admission into the event and tickets to indulge in food, games and other novelty booths, adhering to the carnival theme.
The origins of Fall Festival trace back to 10 years ago, starting out as a haunted house fundraiser. The money raised went towards offsetting international travel and tour expenses which the VMP’s troubadours attend every other year.
“So we had started this fundraiser…and I had thought that there might be a way to combine it with a larger event to create something that’s even broader than just vocal music and the troubadours,” director Kevin Tison said. “So I created the Fall Festival.”
The decision to extend the event to all of campus, which welcomed other programs to collaborate and raise their own funds, has proven to be successful, and this year was no exception. Around 60 clubs and organizations participated.
“Last Fall Festival, pre-COVID[-19], we were probably around 1100 to 1200 people on campus and are estimating that we are over 1900 for this past Fall Festival, so a really big turn out,” Tison said.
Acknowledging the unanticipated long lines, Tison is already planning to facilitate a quicker check in process for next year. He also attributes the high turn out to club participation and expresses his appreciation for working with the students.
“They bring such wonderful diversity, their constituency of their people [and] create some really wonderful booths,” Tison said. “It really makes it more successful for everybody. I loved having them. They’re super respectful… hardworking… good kids [and] really fantastic leaders.”
A successful event such as this one requires preparation and dedication.
“Fall Fest takes about four months of planning…[including] attractions, ideas, concepts and the maze, how we want that to look, that experience,” Tison said. “The last five weeks get pretty intense.”
The haunted maze is one of the most sought after attractions at Fall Festival and choir students go above and beyond to ensure that those who dare to enter receive an experience worth their five tickets.
“This maze was one of the most well thought out, most intricate maze that I’ve ever seen because the makeup was on point, they had a whole sound system… [and] amazing props,” senior troubadour president Cameryn Nguyen said. “Their acting was really great so I think this maze was really successful.”
The maze committee is composed of choir students like junior Donovan Doan who planned the maze, reflecting the theme of this year’s Fall Festival, the “Unhappiest Place On Earth.”
“We really wanted to try something different, something new and we felt like the Disney theme gave us a pretty solid foundation that we could twist and make scary,” Doan said.
Beyond the haunted maze, Fall Festival attracted community members since clubs, sports and other organizations were able to share their culture through creative booths. Additionally, the choir program provided a petting zoo, dunk tank and carnival games while theatre also held a haunted house. From carnival games to camel rides and FVHS Crime Club’s pumpkin carving booth, there was something for everybody to enjoy.
All the funds raised from the haunted maze goes straight towards the troubadours. Clubs get 90% of the proceeds from tickets sold at the booths and the rest of the 10% goes to cover extraneous expenses throughout the FVHS VMP.