Sophomores take center stage at soloist night

The Rathskeller saw some skillful guitar play at CUB’s Student Soloist Night on Tuesday, Nov. 1 as four sophomore artists performed a variety of classic covers, while sticking in some creative work of their own.  With different styles and attitudes, they provided a great mix of lively and soulful music for what ended up being a sizeable crowd.

Ellen Winter, sophomore philosophy and English double major, led the show off.  She had never performed at the Rat before, and, she said, had rarely played in front of a crowd at all.  That didn’t stand in her way, though, as she boldly covered some great songs and played a couple of her own tunes as well.  Though she described the experience as initially “nerve racking,” she overcame any butterflies and put on a stellar show.

(Seiichi Villalona / Staff Photographer)

“It was a lot of fun,” Winter said. “I hope I can do it again.”

Winter’s renditions of The Decemberists “Red Right Angle” and Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” highlighted her set.

Sophomore economics major Rick Kauffeld next took to the stage and covered classic tracks from Dave Matthews Band, The Beatles and Pink Floyd.  It was his own music, however, that brought his performance to another level.  “Life’s Road” and “Go Back” had a quality of deeper thought that fit well with Kauffeld’s approach.

Jacob Cafaro, sophomore history major, followed and was a bit more interactive with the audience than the other performers.  Although he performed many of his own songs, he made the most of the few that he covered.  Cafaro displayed his range as he took on both Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and Jackson Browne’s “Take it Easy.”

The way that he decided to cover Death Cab for Cutie, however, stood out as a defining point in the show.

“I’m gonna ask Ellen to come up here,” Cafaro said without revealing exactly what he had in mind.

Winter, who stuck around after her set, seemed happy to oblige.  Cafaro jokingly asked if it was all right to have a duet during a Student Soloist Night, and the two played an impromptu version of “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” Winter’s vocals complemented Cafaro’s guitar well, though they had never played a song together before that.
To cap the show off, Katie Miller, sophomore political science and history double major, came onto the stage. Among her covers were River City Extension’s “Today, I Feel Like I’m Evolving” and Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More.”

Alison Sotolongo, a senior psychology major and the CUB Rat chair who put the show together, was enthusiastic about the way the night turned out.

“All four of the performers are extremely talented and really dedicated to playing music,” Sotolongo said.  “I really enjoy putting on programming where students love to get involved.”

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