‘American Idol’ singer visits Walnut Teen Center

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By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Walnut teens made it very clear that they have their own “American Idol.” The middle-schoolers packed the Teen Center on Tuesday to talk to contestant Adanna Duru.

The 18-year-old Diamond Bar resident wowed the celebrity judges with her rendition of “You And I” by Lady Gaga. The trio said “yes” to the young woman, who is in the advanced cutthroat competition, which aired Wednesday. She also will be in next week’s show.

“Good job, baby. You’re what we call the full package,” cooed judge Jennifer Lopez.

“I thought you sounded great … you hit every great part of your voice, which sounds like all of it,” agreed judge Keith Urban.

Duru said she even got a Tweet from Lady Gaga saying, “You killed it!”

The 2014 Walnut High grad took time out of her busy schedule to talk to the local teens. Duru is studying at UC Riverside.

Many remembered Duru competing in season three of “The Voice.” She was a sophomore at the time.

“I just wanted to be a singer. I didn’t know what type of music I wanted to make,” Duru recalled. “Since then, I’ve learned so much and being on the show now I know everything I want to do. It’s been so fun so far.”

The rising star reminisced about going to Suzanne Middle School just down the road in Walnut. There she joined the casts of “Willy Wonka” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Cecilio gives 10 electric string instruments to Walnut High

Walnut High instrumental music director Buddy Clements thanks Cecilio Instruments for the electric string instrument donation on Sept. 16.

Walnut High instrumental music director Buddy Clements thanks Cecilio Instruments for the electric string instrument donation on Sept. 16.

The Walnut High School Instrumental Music Program received a donation of ten electric string instruments on Sept. 16.  Cecilio Musical Instruments presented the school with four cellos, five violins, and one bass valued at $10,000.

A group of students eagerly watched, as bags of streamlined instruments were carefully unpacked in the orchestra room. The new strings seem futuristic with hollow-shaped frames equipped with an electric outpost for sound and option to be played silent with headphones.

“We want to thank the wonderful people at Cecilio for making this incredible donation, said Instrumental Music Director Buddy Clements.

The school already has big plans for the instruments. An electric string group will be added in front of the marching band’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed field shows. The group will make their debut performance at a football game in about a month.

“We’ve never seen anybody do this before, so we think it’s pretty innovative,” Clements said.

The specialized strings will also be used with the jazz band and a new western-swing ensemble. Clements said the he kids have been really excited about the new strings.

“They’ve been talking about it and dreaming about it. We couldn’t make it happen, but Cecilio made it happen for us,” he added.

Senior violist Julie Banagale was the first to hold one of the new red mahogany finished electric cellos.

“I’d like to play this!” she said.

Two community members, Betty Tang, president of the World Youth Education and Jennifer Pak, WHS parent and president of the Diamond Youth Symphony Orchestra, stepped forward to coordinate the donation for the school music program.

“We were inspired by the leadership of Principal Jeff Jordan and tireless efforts of directors Dr. Buddy Clements and Corey Wicks,” Tang said.

This is the second year Cecilio has donated to Walnut High.  Last year, they boosted the string program by adding 14 cellos, 10 violas, two basses, saxophones, trombones and more.

“We’re glad to help out.  When we learned there was going to be electric strings with the marching band on the field – it’s going to be great! I can’t wait to come by and see it,” said Cecilio spokesman Derek Zimmerman.