Ukeleles, songstresses, dancers descend on Thorne Hall for Apollo Night

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Apollo Night, Occidental’s annual talent show, filled Thorne Hall with cheering crowds and 15 different musical acts on Friday night. Most of the performances were mellow but the stage always stayed energized, with no dearth of deft dance interludes. The Black Student Alliance coordinated a watertight show hosted by sociology major Edward Jackson (sophomore) and economics major Marielle Peña (sophomore). A winner for the most popular performance was chosen by the hosts based off the avalanche of applause the audience gave each performer.

“I feel a lot of responsibility,” Peña said. “As a host, I think it’s important for everything to run smoothly, coordinating with the acts. Most important is that we make the audience feel that they’re actually watching a show. The hardest part is being out there and making everybody laugh. The easiest part is just walking off stage.”

A roar of audience applause chose undeclared Micah Garrido (first-year) the winner of the show. Garrido played the ukulele in two separate acts, appearing first in the group Random Strangers, a three-piece band including a vocalist and additional strings. Garrido used both feet simultaneously to play a step drum and cymbal. After the intermission, he appeared onstage to play a solo stylized version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

The show also included full bands Bourbon Theory and My Boyfriend. Bourbon Theory played a solid original jazz piece, and My Boyfriend featured a powerful alto saxophonist, music major Alyssa Cottle (junior). The skills of the stage crew and the sound mixer were highlighted during My Boyfriend’s set; the sound level remained in check with the big band, which also fielded a piano and a drummer.

“The tech crew always does a solid job mixing each act,” economics major and My Boyfriend’s drummer Nick Gallagher (senior) said.

Apollo Night was the first time Gallagher’s band had played together on stage, as was the case for many of the other acts. The hosts made a point to celebrate each debut act, and promoted much of the original content produced by the student artists.

Psychology major Linneen Warren (sophomore) played the piano in two acts. In her second number, she accompanied Media Arts and Culture major Grace Centauro (sophomore) in an original take on a John Legend cover that featured spoken word.

“This is actually our first performance, but we have been collaborating for the past year and a half. It was all Grace’s conception,” Warren said.

The various performances were well-organized and the show moved fluidly from act to act. Amidst the vocal and instrumental performances were pieces of original choreography from members of Hyper Xpressions that electrified the stage and kept the energy going from act to act. The night ended a great success, with audience members leaving with the voices and dance moves of their peers running through their minds.