Posted on 10 February 2013 by La Habra Journal
By Jane Williams
For the La Habra Journal
Top performers- Sonora’s Wesley Landis, Whittier Christian’s Bethany Garcia and La Habra’s Riley Gallagher received the La Habra Rotary’s recognition of top performing arts students last month.
The La Habra Rotary honored the top performing arts students and the biggest contributor to school spirit at each high school during its January Student of the Month luncheon.
One top performer has quickly distinguished himself while performing in drama productions on Sonora’s stage. Wesley Landis caught his love for the stage early while a student at the Academy of Performing Arts in Victorville. All told, he performed in 100 shows while living in Victorville where he also sang with the Master Choir.
Landis came to Sonora in his junior year where he captured the lead role of Billy in “Carousel” and was the leader of a band of Renaissance actors in “The Company of Wayward Saints.” This February he will have a lead role in “Little Mary Sunshine.” He is a hard-working actor who captures the inner meaning of the text and his character.
Landis also has a passion for music and has formed a band, 21 Accents, in which he plays bass and is the vocalist as well as songwriter. The band received rave reviews when performing their indie rock at the Sonora Talent Show. He plans to expand his theatre resume next year at Fullerton College’s theatre arts department.
The two other top performers distinguished themselves with musical performances. Bethany Garcia plays the saxophone for Whittier Christian’s marching and concert band as well as the Herald Jazz Band and its wind ensemble. Bethany leads the Pop Concerts for students and has taken over the Drum Major duties for the band.
A gifted musician, she received the school’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Award last year. She spent the summer as an intern at Rivera First Baptist church, belongs to NHS and just to round things out plays indoor soccer.
La Habra’s Riley Gallagher picked up his first trumpet in the sixth grade. When he got to seventh grade, he held the first trumpet seat in the Rancho Starbuck band. He also played soccer.
He went on to La Habra High and was consigned to the third trumpet seat as a freshman and joined the ukelele club. He also played soccer and tennis and received his black belt in Tae Kwan Do while maintaining a grade average sufficient to place him in the Top 100.
By the tenth grade he performed with the marching and concert band and was the first trumpet while continuing to play soccer and tennis. In 11 th grade he continued his first trumpet duties and started to play in the jazz band. He also joined St. Matthews United Methodist Church’s hand bell choir, played on the varsity tennis and soccer teams, and joined the calculus club and continued his Top 100 status.
As a senior he continues to play first trumpet in the marching, concert, and jazz bands, belongs to NHS and added singing with the Chamber Singers Choir under David Montoya’s direction. He’s cut back to just varsity tennis. In addition he helps serve and man the homeless shelter at St Matthew’s, helped with the children’s classes and played community concerts with the hand bell choir. He also plays his trumpet at area churches.
He plans to major in engineering and hopes to continue playing music with a jazz or symphonic band in college. He has applied to a number of UCs and several private colleges.