Features

Musical Theatre of Anthem Auditions

2014-10-22 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Audition for roles in MTA’s upcoming productions: “The Diary of Anne Frank” (ages 13 to adult) and their 2014 holiday show (ages 9 to 19). Registration materials available online. 11 a.m. Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42323 N. Vision Way, 602-743-9892, musicaltheatreofanthem.com.... More

Wheels are Turning for Bike Season Two

2014-10-13 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Paul Neal
Writer Tom Scanlon     It’s strange, in a way: Why hasn’t this sport taken off?   For generations, American kids have loved riding bikes, from the Schwinn generation to the current mountain bikers. Yet biking has never really been a popular organized sport in this country, especially at the high school level, where athletic kids might ride their bikes to practice and then focus on football, basketball or volleyball.   That might be changing, though. Last year, the Arizona High School Cycling League had its first season. It was almost an instant success, with 208 student athletes from 31 teams competing in the inaugural season.   A Boulder Creek team was right there from the beginning, not only taking part in the competition, but also establishing itself as one of the best teams, finishing sixth in the state.   You won’t find the BC team listed on the high school’s athletics website, as the bike squad is a “club” team, not officially affiliated with the... More

Happy Accidents: Kickin' Down Walls of Sound in Anthem

2014-10-13 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Michele Celentano
Tom Scanlon     It’s just another quiet Sunday afternoon north of Phoenix, and in one gated community the residents of a modern, spacious home are enjoying an informal family day.   The teenage boys are working on their project, the parents are watching appreciatively … and Anthem may never be the same.   Happy Accidents is what the Droban boys call a “progressive hard rock trio.” They crank out thundering, downhill racer-paced songs inspired by great rock bands: Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and even a few bands from the 2000s (think Muse).   Though Happy Accidents hasn’t yet shattered any windows or set off car alarms, they are loud. And, more importantly, they are good, playing technically advanced riffs that belie their ages.   Guitarist-singer-lyricist Sergei Droban, a sophomore at Boulder Creek High, is 15 years old. The John Bonham Jr.-like figure crushing the drums is Sergei’s kid brother D’mitri, a 13-year-old 8th grader... More

Boulder Creek Girls Look to Follow Boy's Volleyball Success

2014-10-12 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon   The Boulder Creek Lady Jags girls’ volleyball team reached 20-plus wins in three seasons under Sara Wildman, highlighted by a 25-13-1 record in 2010.   Last year, Troy Dueling took over as coach, and the season started … well, it wasn’t quite a train wreck, but it was pretty bad. The Lady Jags lost their first four matches under Dueling by a combined score of 10-1.   Finally, against Dobson, the BC girls gave Dueling his first victory. The rest of the season was up and down, with a few wins followed by a couple losses. Though the Lady Jags finished the season under .500, it was hardly as disastrous as it seemed at the beginning. So, a losing record. No big deal, like the Katy Perry song goes, right? Then again, last year could be a stepping stone toward a very big deal, if Dueling’s plan comes to fruition.   After finishing the girls’ season, Dueling went on to coach the boys’ volleyball team in the spring – and he coached them all the way to a... More

Timeless Singer Making Her Move

2014-10-09 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Writer Tom Scanlon     She’s the human jukebox.   You don’t even have to pop a quarter (or a dollar, these days) to get her to sing. This young singer performs as Talia, using just her first name. She is 23, looks even younger, yet carries herself with poise and aplomb, singing and playing piano like she’s done it all her life.   She has, by the way.   True, maybe she didn’t hit a high “C” and then sing “It’s a New Day” when the doctor gave her newborn bottom a spank; even so, it didn’t take Talia long to start a career that currently has her doing a musical residency at the elegant Phoenician resort. Here, as she has for the last three years, she performs four nights a week, 200-plus shows a year.   At the Phoenician, she dazzles tourists and locals alike, building a loyal following with her soulful, intense variations on everything from new pop to long-ago favorites. Indeed, hearing her takes on the like of Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My... More

Sharing the Romance of Travel

2014-10-09 | ImagesAZ | Travel


Photo Credit: Kerrick James
Writer Donna Kublin   "Photography is about Sharing," said international travel journalist Kerrick James, who tells his travel stories through pictures and words. With photographs and stories that have appeared in magazines such as Arizona Highways, Alaska Airlines and National Geographic Adventure, as well as published books and statewide and city guides throughout the West, James has sparked the imagination of readers with his distinctive style that shares the truth of the place and its people.   “There is a romance and an addictive quality to travel if you do it right,” said James, who travels about 180 days a year. “I share my love of travel with people through my work.”   He believes that photography is a form of communication.   “Photography is the universal visual language; it transcends barriers and connects cultures,” he explained. “You can go to a place where you don’t speak the language and as long as you have a smile on your face and show them what you... More

Blu-Tones: Look to break par

2014-10-08 | ImagesAZ | Music


Photo Credit: April Bennet
Writer Tom Scanlon   What could be cooler than getting paid to golf? Hmm … maybe getting paid to play music, too? Which leads us to Mitch Harrell, golfer-musician. Mitch is a Professional Golf Association (PGA) member who is also an executive at Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale.   His 2013 scoring average for three rounds (two events) is an enviable 66. And he sings and plays guitar in the Blu-Tones, an acoustic duo making waves in the North Scottsdale scene.   The band plays thoughtful covers of Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain,” the bluesy “Black and Blue” (“I feel like gum on your shoe…”), John Hiatt’s powerful “Train to Birmingham” and other classic rock, blues and casual country songs.   Mitch and his bandmate, Mark Petronzio, another golfer-musician who also works for Troon, have played at Rhythm & Wine, Troon’s club and The Herb Box.   Hearing their story, you may think they have been misnamed. How about the Rolling Troons, or the Sand Trap... More

Daughters of Stars Make Their Own Legacy

2014-10-07 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon     Randy Johnson was quite a ballplayer, a 6-foot, 10-inch fireball pitcher who won 300 games in the big leagues and had 4,875 strikeouts, second only to Nolan Ryan in the history of baseball.   So is it a big deal that his daughter, Willow, plays volleyball for Notre Dame Preparatory High School? Are the girls on the team starstruck seeing one of the all-time greatest pitchers in the stands?   Not really, says the talented young coach, Sara Fox.   “They’re all aware of it, but it doesn’t mean anything to them,” she says. “They’re more into Willow than her dad.”   Perhaps it’s the generation, where with YouTube and Twitter, everyone’s a star; perhaps it’s just that these girls were toddlers when the big lefthander was crushing batters. Perhaps it’s just that, well, like the Katy Perry song goes, it’s no big deal.   After all, former stars are rather commonplace around the girls’ volleyball team, and Johnson is just one of three... More

On The Leading Edge

2014-10-07 | ImagesAZ | Community


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson   Times, they are a-changin’.   Bob Dylan may have first recorded those words in 1963, but those times, they haven’t slowed down. There are few better examples than the leaps made in science in the last half century. Many of the most fascinating and transformative breakthroughs in disease diagnosis and treatment have been made in recent decades, and it’s not only what has been discovered and developed that has changed; it’s who is discovering it.   Step inside the sleek downtown headquarters of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and you won’t find stuffy offices or suits. Instead, TGen buzzes with life and is decidedly, well, young. Sure, there are plenty of well-versed senior scientists, but many of the researchers are Gen Y-ers, ripe with enthusiasm and more than comfortable in a world where information has always been at the working end of a computer mouse.   Among the stars is a young standout named Pilar Ramos whose... More

A Nightingale Sings and Soars

2014-10-06 | ImagesAZ | Community


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Tom Scanlon   For a first song, most budding musicians might pick something about school, or maybe a crush.   Not Madison Nightingale. Right there is the first thing that is unusual about this girl: her name. It’s almost like she was dubbed for a show business career.   And she did show a natural flair for music as a young girl. Encouraged by her parents, Josee and Brad, she followed the musical footsteps of older siblings Brittany, now 23 and a piano player, and Connor, 19, who played guitar and saxophone before getting sidetracked by baseball.   Shortly after the family moved to Cave Creek, Madison – or “Madi,” as she often is called – enrolled in Desert Harmony, the music program at Desert Shadows Middle School.   “The program is for children who excel at singing, dancing and performing arts,” says Josee. “She was required to try out and not only did she make it, she earned the role of soprano one and was privileged enough to be able to perform many solos... More

The Approach

2014-10-06 | ImagesAZ | Sports


Writer Nigel Spence This month, the Cochise course at Desert Mountain will play host to the Champions Tour season finale Charles Schwab Cup Championship for the second time in three years. The 2012 edition was won by Scottsdale resident Tom Lehman and in winning the final tournament, he also captured the season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup. That week, Tom Lehman played in honor of his longtime coach, Jim Flick, who was battling pancreatic cancer. Lehman’s inspired back nine on Sunday included birdies on four of his final five holes and a six stroke victory.   The 18th hole did not prove influential in the outcome of the 2012 Championship, but the reachable par-5 could prove pivotal in determining this year’s victor.   The Jack Nicklaus-designed hole features his signature split or island fairway design complemented by an array of native desert elements to produce a classic risk/reward hole. A long, accurate tee shot over the corner of the right fairway bunker is desired... More

Laughing Glass helps fill Empty Bowls

2014-10-05 | ImagesAZ | Community


Writer Peni Long   Well known locally for their custom glass dinnerware and architectural tile, Carole Perry and husband Don Carroll have been creating glass artwork for 22 years. Recognized in the fine art world for her signature glass tapestries, Carole found her life’s work in 1990 when she decided that the corporate world was no longer for her. She took a sabbatical from her stressful job and literally went off to the Oregon woods for a bit of soul searching to help her decide her next career move.   “The woods included a glass camp where I shared a cabin with one of the students,” Carole remembers. “My first day there was very wet and cold, and the only source of dry heat was the classroom. I went inside … and sort of never came back out.”   The rest, as they say, is history, and creative glass became her passion and new career. Two years after leaving the corporate world, she launched her creative glass business. Within 10 years, her husband had also quit his... More

From Grills to Guitars: Mad Coyote Joe's Wild Ride

2014-10-04 | ImagesAZ | Community


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
What do you get when you combine a fun-loving, self-taught chef with a catchy, unforgettable nickname? Answer: a recipe for great television.   When Joe Daigneault quit his job in the construction business at age 29 to launch Mad Coyote Spice Company, he did it with no marketing experience and zero industry background beyond his personal passion for food and cooking. But like most bootstrapping entrepreneurs, he was willing to work hard and try anything to get his business from shoestring to success story.   His methods to gain notoriety were effective, albeit unusual. Daigneault laughs as he remembers the time he volunteered to call a charity auction, though he’d never called an auction in his life.   “I told them I’d do it, but with one stipulation,” he says. “They had to call me Mad Coyote Joe.” Two hours later, Daigneault was a decent auctioneer, and Mad Coyote Joe was well on his way to becoming a local celebrity.   During its first month, Mad Coyote Spice Company... More

Inspired by Nature's Light - Fine Artist - Lauren Knode

2014-10-03 | ImagesAZ | Art


“I love the ever-changing brilliance of a sunset, the light glowing through delicately translucent petals of a flower, the shimmering ripples in a stream or waves gently making their way onto shore,” she explains. Lauren wants her paintings to provoke and awaken the senses and transport the viewer to a peaceful, quiet place within.   Lauren is the featured artist in Thunderbird Artists 21st Annual Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival being held at Carefree Town Center Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. A juried member of the Oil Painters of America and the Sonoran Arts League, she loves to paint large scale, especially her landscapes, and the end result borders on epic.   Her subject matter is mostly influenced by the desert, florals and water. She often takes photographs of the subject in lighting conditions that interest her, then creates a drawing using elements that make for an appealing composition. She then translates her sketch into a painting, most often in oil, but also pastel and... More

Taste of Cave Creek

2014-10-02 | ImagesAZ | Community


If you’ve been waiting for a special occasion to try Cartwright’s for dinner, the big day has arrived – but don’t stop there. On Oct. 15 and 16, you can sample many of downtown’s foodie-famed spots, as well as its music, spirits and more at the 2014 Taste of Cave Creek.   Now in its 20th year, eight of the last hosted and run by the Town of Cave Creek, the annual food festival showcases cuisine sampling from nearly 25 local restaurants with a side of wine, beer, music and more in the open-air setting of Stagecoach Village. It’s a chance to taste test popular restaurants and bars or preview those new on the scene.   “We do this midweek because these restaurants are busy on the weekends,” says Adam Stein, town marshal.   Stein serves as co-chair for the event, which is put on as an invitation for folks to check out the town and its libations and fare.   “Our sponsors, Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln, also help with radio advertising, so people come up from... More