Student soloists astound audience with strong vocals

By Heidi Cho
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Students enjoyed a night of laid-back beats and powerful vocals at the first Student Soloist Night of the semester, hosted by the College Union Board in the Traditions Lounge on Feb. 13.

Lomonte debuts with her ukulele at Student Soloist Night. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)
Lomonte covers “Brazil” with her ukelele. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)

The first performers were juniors Dylan Brigden, a psychology major, and Derek Arnheiter, an engineering major.

Arnheiter sat atop his cajón, a boxy percussion instrument, while Arnheiter played guitar and sang covers of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, “Location” by Khalid and “December” by Neck Deep.

Arnheiter’s foot tambourine came into play during “Mr. Brightside” and other songs, adding another level of depth to the instrumentation.

The percussion and guitar gave the songs an acoustic feel, even when the vocals picked up in volume and energy in the latter verses.

The two were incredibly synchronized, alternating seamlessly between guitar and percussion and showing off the six hours of practice they put into the ensemble.

Unlike the other performers, Brigden and Arnheiter played original songs like “Summer Fling” and “Otherside.”

The latter song was heavily influenced by reggae, a genre Brigden started listening to only over the past few years. Most of Bridgen’s repertoire was inspired by the music he listened to growing up — punk and ’90s alt rock bands like Nirvana and Sublime.

Lomonte performed next with her ukulele. It was the first time Lomonte had performed publicly.

“I was super nervous before performing, but afterwards, I felt really happy,” Lomonte said.

Lomonte started by covering two songs that naturally translated from one string instrument to another, “I’m Looking Through You” by The Beatles and “Brazil” by Declan McKenna.

“Brazil” was followed by “Sweater Weather,” where Lomonte went from strumming consistently in the previous songs to barely at all, an unexpected but welcome change.

Lomonte’s voice shone through most when performing “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine, as her ukulele played second fiddle to her stunning voice.

Julia Nemec, a senior psychology major, was impressed by all of the performances, but especially with Lomonte’s.

“Her voice is beautiful and I thought her voice was very soulful,” Nemec said. “She sang from the heart.”

Tess Marsh, a senior psychology major, performed last. Without any accompanying instruments, Marsh stood in the center of stage, hands casually in her cardigan pockets, as she belted out “Praying” by Kesha without any introduction.

For her next song, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, Marsh invited the audience to sing along with her.

No one took her up on her offer, but Marsh’s powerful voice carried through the Traditions lounge just the same.

The upbeat tempo of “Valerie” contrasted the somber tone of Marsh’s next song, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles.

As the song played out, Marsh jokingly told the audience, “You can be happy now.”

Marsh closed out the night by singing “At Last” by Etta James, a song Marsh said she sang frequently in high school.

Ki-Ana Rivera, a junior English and communication studies double major, commended the singing selections Marsh made.

“The songs she chose… had fond memories associated with it,” Rivera said. “She had an incredibly beautiful voice.”

Morgan Lubner, a junior English major and CUB Alt co-chair, looked forward to going to the event she helped organize.

“I’m excited to hear all of them because I never experienced any of them play before,” said Lubner.

Rivera finds that CUB Alt events like these bring students together through live musical performances.

“It’s close and intimate, and you get to meet students you otherwise wouldn’t have met,” Rivera said.

Student Soloist night united the audience through music, and exposed students to their peers’ talent that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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