Alumna-fronted band Rituals of Mine returns home to Sacramento

It’s been a busy few months for the Sacramento State alumna-fronted band Rituals of Mine.

The electronic duo of alumna Terra Lopez (’07, English) and Dani Fernandez, formerly known as Sister Crayon, changed its name before launching a national tour last summer that took it to some of the West Coast’s biggest venues. Their major-label debut, Devoted, was released in September.

Now, they’re coming home. Rituals of Mine are the first headliners in the 2017 Concerts in the Park, a series of free shows in Cesar Chavez Plaza that kicks off May 5.

Next show – 5.5.17 in our hometown. See you soon Sacramento. #DEVOTED

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To learn more about Lopez and Rituals of Mine’s long and sometimes challening journey from experimental electronic project to major-label mainstay, check out our July profile of the duo in the Made at Sac State blog.

More information can be found at godowntownsac.com/concerts-in-the-park/.

Train hero Anthony Sadler’s story is headed for the big screen

Anthony Sadler, the Sacramento State student who with two friends heroically prevented a terrorist attack on a train in France last year, is headed for the big screen – courtesy of a Hollywood icon.

Anthony Sadler parade

Clint Eastwood will direct a movie adaptation of The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train and Three American Heroes, a book about the incident written by Sadler, his fellow train heroes Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern.

Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone were on a train to Paris when they spotted a gunman in their car. They ran toward the man – who was armed with a pistol, a box cutter, and an assault rifle – overpowering him and likely saving hundreds of lives. Following the incident, the trio became global heroes. They were awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction, and were invited to the White House, where President Barack Obama hailed their bravery. They eventually returned to their hometown, Sacramento, to a hero’s welcome and parade.

It’s not exactly a coincidence that Eastwood – who knows a little something about taking down bad guys, at least in the movies – is set to bring their story to the big screen. Sadler told San Francisco’s ABC 7 last year that the three sent an autographed copy of The 15:17 to Paris to Eastwood last year, hoping he would direct a film adaptation.

Sadler, who is proudly #MadeAtSacState, also was honored at a Sacramento State football game last September.

Lester Holt’s journey as a journalist started at Sac State

Lester Holt is one of the world’s most respected broadcast journalists – and it all began for him at Sacramento State. He became a better student, he says, and made the decision to become a journalist while at the University. “It set me off into the world.”

He still considers himself a student – “and my finals are every night at 6:30 Eastern time when I get in front of the camera.”

Holt, 58, anchors both NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC. As a TV journalist, he has covered some of the world’s biggest stories, including the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil leak, the lead-up to the Iraq War, and two hurricanes.

In 2016, he was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, and he became the first African American to moderate a general-election presidential debate in nearly a quarter-century. In 2015, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, in Sacramento.

A few months earlier, during Sacramento State’s Spring 2015 Commencement ceremonies at Sleep Train Arena, Holt’s alma mater and the California State University Board of Trustees recognized his many achievements by conferring on him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. His wife, Carol, and his parents, June and Lester Sr., who still live in the Sacramento area, were in the audience.

“I am honored, and I certainly accept this degree with deep gratitude,” said Holt, who noted that his father also attended – and graduated from – Sacramento State. “I am so proud to be and (to) have been associated with this university.”

Holt, a graduate of Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova, was a government major and left Sacramento State during his junior year to take a job at a San Francisco radio station. Within 18 months, he landed a position at the CBS-TV affiliate in New York City and was on his way to becoming one of the nation’s most highly regarded broadcast journalists.

“I began with dreams of being a big-time disc jockey, but it was at Sac State that I was exposed to journalism, and it was there that my interest and my focus really narrowed in on becoming a news person,” Holt said in accepting his honorary degree. “There have been many times … that I wished I had completed my formal studies, but I hold my head high, and I accept that things happen for a reason.”

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President Robert S. Nelsen with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt during Holt’s Jan. 17, 2017, visit to the Sacramento State campus. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)

Holt came “home” to Sac State again in January 2017, stopping by the campus for a quick visit, arriving in a modest rental car he drove himself. A day earlier, in Old Sacramento, he interviewed graduate students Ahlam Abdul-Rahman and Norma Mendoza as a part of a national discussion on immigration in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration. Sacramento was the first stop on his “Across America” series for NBC Nightly News.

The big news in the Holt household these days is the impending arrival of Carol and Lester’s first grandchild. Their son Stefan and his wife, Morgan, are expecting their baby in September.