What is Blink?


Nazret Degaulle

The WHHS Chamber Orchestra practices for their Blink performance. Violinists SENIOR Kat Swift and Sophia Krumm, ‘25, use class time to practice their music.

Blink Cincinnati is a large-scale, illuminated outdoor experience in downtown Cincinnati featuring light up murals, buildings and sculptures. It is known as the nation’s largest immersive event with over 100 installations and traversing 30 blocks. 

From Oct. 13 to Oct. 16, Blink also showcased a parade and a stage for performance groups. 2022 marks the first year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that Blink was held.

This year, for the first time ever, WHHS was featured at Blink. WHHS is the only school in the region to have a stage to show off their fine art department’s music, art and acting at Blink Cincinnati. Two WHHS groups were present every night of Blink. On Thursday, WHHS Theater and Chamber Orchestra were featured. On Friday, WHHS Choir and the Freidas performed. On Saturday, The WHHS Steel Drums students and adults played. On Sunday, the WHHS Wind Ensemble and the Myles Ellington Twitty Jazz Quartet, featuring alumni from WHHS, took the stage. 

The WHHS fine arts department has been busy preparing for Blink for months now with many fine arts teachers working behind the scenes before students were aware of WHHS’ involvement. While students were told to keep quiet about the light show at first, now that the wait is over, here is an overview of the work WHHS students and faculty put in to have a successful and entertaining performance.

Wind Ensemble:

Wind Ensemble performed at Piatt Park during nightfall on Sunday, Oct. 16, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

“It’s exciting to know that we have an opportunity to showcase the talented students of Walnut Hills,” said Andrew Peoples, the Wind Ensemble assistant band director.

In a variety of ways, the band will be lit up, from their glasses to glow sticks. Alas, the stage will also be lit up with neon lights. 

“We’ll be all lit up and we’ll play five pieces of music. Then we’ll have some solos and ensembles,” Peoples said. 

Visual Arts:

 Together,the visual arts department, with the help of Ceramics, Jr Art and Art and Mural Club designed the Blink stage. This includes a considerably large flower with crystal light bulbs in it’s center and large ceramic flowers.

“We’re making these big flower lights, [using] petals and putting glow in the dark tape and paint on them. Then we’re putting a light in the center,” Sana Sukjia, ‘24, the president of Art and Mural club said

Along with the flower lights, art teacher Liz Lloyd was working to produce numerous painted clay flowers that were put on the stage. 

“I’ve worked with art club the last few weeks getting them to make flowers. I demoed it and showed them how,” Lloyd said.

“We made these clay flowers,” said Sukjia. “We painted them and put them in the kiln, so then they’re little flowers that we’re gonna have a lot of.” 

These projects have been in the works for months, with prepping starting as early as June 2022. Many visual arts students worked very hard to contribute to Blink and are proud of the results.

“It’s really cool that we’re able to contribute to the city of Cincinnati and our club at school would be able to send our kids to do that,” Sukjia said. 


If while attending Blink you spotted life size bugs walking among the crowd and began to wonder whether aliens had finally invaded. Don’t panic! Those were simply the WHHS stagecraft classes’ contributions to Blink. 

The classes have been hard at work for several weeks crafting these puppets to parade around the festival on opening night. 

“It’s a little bit stressful, because at the same time as we’re trying to build these puppets…we’re trying to build the set for Macbeth [and] we’re trying to reorganize the space after two haphazard COVID based years of disorganization. So it’s stressful, but it’s also really exciting,” Helen Raymond-Goers, theater teacher, said. 

The project was almost entirely student-led with students being given only materials and a theme: bugs, to match the installation that was located in the same area the puppets appeared. The students decided what bug they wanted to create, who would be assigned to certain tasks and who would control the puppets during Blink.  


On the opening night of Blink, WHHS’s theater department graced the stage with a preview of their upcoming show, Macbeth. During their two hour time slot, the cast performed the first half hour of their show on a loop. 

“It’s an honor [to be involved in Blink]. I think it’s wonderful that [it’s] not just theater or just music or just visual art, but that it’s an entire collaboration among our three departments. And I think that’s really special and  it shows off all of the amazing things that all of our kids are doing and creating,” Michael Sherman, the director of Macbeth, said. 

Because of the different environment and the fact that the actual performances of the play are still several weeks away, several aspects of the performance differed from the final show. 

“People should keep in mind that this is just a light preview of things to come and if they want to see the whole shebang, they should hop onto the theater department website and purchase tickets,” Sherman said. 

Steal Drums:

WHHS’ advanced steel drum band played at Blink on Saturday Oct. 15. 

“Many folks don’t know that Walnut has one of the biggest steel band programs in the area so I love the opportunity to get the band on stage and play,” steel drum teacher, Mike Wendeln, said.

Advanced steel drum band prepared eight songs, a lot in comparison to their usual three to four songs they perform at concerts. 

“Like usual, we are playing some difficult stuff, but I chose some medium and easier difficulty selections as well in order to have a solid set of music for the big show,” Wendeln said.

They also played a very diverse set of music including Soca, Calypso, Reggae and Latin. Many soloists were also featured.

“The Blink festival is a great opportunity to show off the Steel Band program here at Walnut in a really cool setting,” Wendeln said. “The band is coming together beautifully and has accepted the challenge for Blink.”


On Thursday night, the chamber orchestra and a few members from the senior and junior orchestras performed at Blink. Getting ready for such an extraordinary event required a different approach that the orchestras were not used to.

“In reality, we don’t need to learn two hours of music. We need to learn enough music that we can play it, take a tiny break, reset and play it all again,” said Christopher Gibson, one of the orchestra teachers.

Alongside conducting some of the Orchestra’s pieces, Gibson also performed in a music group called the ‘Freidas,’ a name change from ‘Jake and the Freddies,’ their original name. Jake Riordan, the leader of the group, could not make it, so the Freddies slightly changed their name to lessen confusion.

Blink was funded mostly by the alumni, but the buses to go there, and other materials needed were paid for by the instrumentalists’ parents and the fine arts department itself.

“Because it’s an art and Light Festival, there’s going to be no bright lights for us, [since] the art is the lights, so they won’t be good enough to read music by. So, we had to buy stand lights for every [stand],” John Caliguri, the other orchestra teacher, said.

Guard and Drumbline:

Heading the opening parade for Blink will be the WHHS Marching Blue and Gold drumline and the color guard. This performance wasn’t like any of the pep rallies or clap outs they have performed in. Instead, it was in front of thousands of people to kick off Cincinnati’s annual free city wide art exhibition Blink. 

“Drumline is going to be participating in the kickoff of Blink. Part of that will include a couple of drumline cadences and just having a good time,” said Cristian Grover, ‘24, drum captain. 

Not only will the drumline be kicking off the parade, but they will do so in true Blink fashion. The Drumline will be lit up from their clothes to their drums.

We have been sponsored by P&G to put LEDs on all of the drums. This includes LED strips for the drums and light up pucks that will illuminate the drums from the bottom up,” Grover said. 

Grover is excited to be involved in Blink with his fellow drumline members and can’t wait to play the new cadences they have learned just for the occasion. 

“I’d like to give a huge shout out to P&G, their workers and part of their creative design team, Nick Lo, Darby, Madison and Rob for coming in and helping me put the LEDs on the drums,” Grover said. “Especially to Nick, he really helped me get through this process by combining his ideas for the parade and our abilities as a drumline and finding a nice compromise.” 

Like the drumline, Bink was different than their normal competition show, Altered Reality, but  took pieces of it with them to the parade. 

“We are going to be taking our opener flag silks, and spin both flag and rifle in the parade. And then we are going to try to bring the big props from our halftime show to spin the rifles inside of them,” said SENIOR Shea Vidourek, guard captain. 

The big props from the halftime show are a 7-by-7 cube and a 6 foot tall triangular prism, both of which light up. The plan was to put them on wheels so that the guard could spin on them. 

Like the drumline and other groups performing, there will be a light aspect to the performers as well. The Guard plans on lighting up the silks they will spin with during the parade.

“I’m really excited. We haven’t had a real parade in years. So the concept of actually marching a real parade is really exciting,” Vidourek said.


Led by directors Anthony Nims and Bret Albright, WHHS’ chamber choir and vocal ensemble are performing at Piatt Park for the Blink Cincinnati festival. They’ve prepared for their performances since the beginning of the school year. At Blink, they sang a variety of songs, including spirituals, American classics, Baroque music and the “Alma Mater.”  

“[Blink] is pretty close to when our first concert is, so everything’s lined up pretty nicely as far as preparation goes,” Albright said. 

SENIOR Annalise Smith serves as vice president of vocal ensemble and is a member of chamber choir. “A big challenge that comes with [singing outside] is the fact that since it’s not an enclosed space, there’s no echo and a lot of the noise gets lost,” Smith said. “When you’re outside, you have to project more and you have to use more consonants so that [audience members] can actually understand your words.”

Despite having an outdoor performance, Smith and Albright are hopeful the microphones and sound systems will allow them to be heard. 

“It’s an honor to get invited [to Blink] because it’s such a big thing throughout Cincinnati,” Smith said.