BSA prepares for virtual Apollo Night performances

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Courtesy of BSA.

After last year’s show was canceled due to COVID-19, the Black Students Alliance’s (BSA) annual Apollo Night is set for Friday, Feb 26 at 5 p.m. Occidental students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to tune into YouTube Premier to enjoy the event. Katherine Dews (senior) and Katrina Weti (junior) are two members of BSA who have organized the virtual event.

“Apollo Night is BSA’s biggest event each year,” Dews said. “It’s a huge tradition. It’s been happening for as long as I can remember.”

Each year, the event welcomes students of all backgrounds to share their talents. Performances range from musical talents to songwriting this year. Joaquin Madrid Larranaga (sophomore) and Louis Nguyen (junior) are two of the five performers for this year’s Apollo Night. Larranaga said he will be performing an arrangement of ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” with a friend. Nguyen said he will be performing an original song called “Satellite.”

“Lots of my friends, who are upperclassmen, always spoke very highly of [Apollo Night], and when I saw the email asking for acts, I immediately thought of creating a Boomwhacker routine,” Larranaga said.

While excited about their own performances, both Larranaga and Nguyen said that they are looking forward to seeing what other talent the night will bring.

According to Dews and Weti, the biggest challenge that Apollo Night is facing this year is the transition to a virtual platform. The energy of the live event is part of Apollo Night, but they are hopeful that the same environment can exist in an online setting.

“For me, the vision is to have this night where a lot of Oxy students can all come together and really find a moment of joy and celebration, or maybe normalcy, despite everything that has gone on,” Weti said.

Apollo Night this year will be different from previous years, but both Larranaga and Nguyen both said they felt comfortable by having the freedom to film and perfect the performance ahead of time.

“I think the transition to a virtual show is challenging,” Larranaga said. “For acts who rely on the energy of the audience, this transition could be extremely detrimental. However, the opportunity to film my act gave me a lot of creative leeway. For example, I was able to shoot multiple takes and edit it together into a seamless video.”

Apollo Night will be available on YouTube Premier Fri. Feb 26. The link to RSVP can be found in the bio of their Instagram page.