Student talent in the spotlight at Apollo Night

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Thunderous applause emanating from Thorne Hall is a sure sign that the Black Student Alliance’s Apollo Night has arrived. This year, students put their hands together at the annual talent show for acts ranging from spoken word to strolling and stepping. Kyle Beasley (senior) and Mika Cribbs (junior) hosted the event, keeping the audience’s energy up between talents with dances and jokes of their own.

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Clare Shuey dances at “Apollo Night”

 

Notable acts included Linnea Propp-Pearson (sophomore) and Marin Weiskopf’s (sophomore) Irish dance, Clare Shuey’s (junior) solo dance piece to “Poetic Justice” and Justin Godfrey’s (junior) hang drum performance.

“The Swedish drum was something I had never heard before and it was really cool how that one instrument could make so many different sounds,” Liza Comart (senior) said. “People said they were kind of hypnotized by it.”

At the end of the night, the audience cast votes for their favorite act by way of applause. Three winners took home the most claps and cheers: Jim Blackett (senior) for his piano accompaniment of three different singing acts, Jasmine Hulett (senior) for her vocal performance of “Pieces” by Jessie Ware and Daphne Auza* (senior) for her spoken word performance.

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Rachel West sings at “Apollo Night”

Daryl Barker

Blackett’s win was an unexpected twist, as he was not originally in the running to win as a solo act. During the voting portion of the evening, however, one of the acts he accompanied suggested him for consideration as a separate performer. The audience went wild.

Blackett was humbled and surprised by the audience’s reaction.

“I’ve accompanied friends at Apollo Night all four years and have never been considered a separate performer. It was very unexpected and flattering,” Blackett said. “Mostly I just feel lucky to know so many extraordinary singers and they’re the ones who really deserve the accolades.”

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Daphne Auza

Auza also received rapturous applause following her performance. Shreya Bhaskaran (senior) was one of Auza’s screaming fans.

“I think Daphne’s poem was very powerful and it basically changed my life,” Bhaskaran said. “It was my first time going to Apollo Night and it was great to see the hidden talent that exists on this campus. I regret not going the past three years.”

Nathan Reynolds (senior) earned rave reviews with his stand-up comedy routine. He covered topics ranging from the State of the Union address to the movie Gone Girl,” but brought the house down with quotes from a letter to his future self he wrote in kindergarten. The letter was addressed to the Red Ranger from Power Rangers—his predicted occupation—and referenced Nancy, the supermodel girlfriend he imagined himself married to.

“BSA did a great job of picking a diverse group of acts,” Reynolds said. “There was more variety this year than I ever remember seeing before. Everyone was really talented and it made for a fun show to watch—plus Kyle and Mika were great MCs.”

Beasley was equally satisfied with the event from his perspective onstage.

“I think I speak for the entire BSA E-board when I say that we are extremely happy with how the event turned out,” Beasley said. “It is always nice to have an event that brings together all members of the Oxy community.”

*Auza is a staff writer for The Weekly