Saturday, September 20, 2014

Up late at Coffeehouse

Student Activities pays tribute to classic television shows through student variety acts

Brass — One student showcases his musical talent during a jazz performance at the “Late Night” event. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Usually a time for Liberty’s campus to wind down, 11 o’clock brought about a second wind as eager students lingered with anticipation outside the Vines Center to attend the Student Activities’ Late Night Coffeehouse.

As students took their seats, the packed Vines Center rang with the sound of smooth jazz music as the live band Lynchburg Collective played on stage. When 11:30 p.m. rolled around, the lights darkened, and the loud chants of student voices were silenced.

Flashing onto the screen, a video clip showed Jake Holland, the night’s host. He began running from his home, passing multiple recognizable Lynchburg places on his way to the Vines Center stage as the video ended to much applause. Holland was dressed in a stylish black suit and white shirt, complimented by a light pink tie.

Holland immediately kicked off the night by introducing Chasing the Horizon, who performed the song “What is Love,” getting the crowd singing along.

“The (late night) theme allows for a variety of originality,” Promotions Manager for Student Activities Stephanie Ward said. “Those trying out were encouraged to research ‘the best of’ from great late night talk show hosts such as Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan, etc.”

According to Ward, in the spring, the Student Activities staff typically gets together and brainstorms an endless amount of themes. They take into consideration what is trending, what they have done the past few years and what students would enjoy.

Spectators saw a variety of performances throughout the night, such as Bangs and Beards’ song called “Lazy Sunday Morning,” a mash-up between Maroon 5’s song “Sunday Morning” and Andy Samberg’s song “Lazy Sunday.”

Returning dance crew D-Trex put on a sophisticated performance that had the audience screaming and thumping with applause by its end. The band Sailor Twift, sung a more punk version of “I Knew You Were Trouble” as the band Insink portrayed the typical boy band, led by five singers who made a spoof off the popular 1990s band N’Sync.

“I thought the night was great,” junior student Ethan Howes said. “It was a good mixture of acts, new videos and clips from the past.”

According to Ward, Student Activities takes a lot of time to make sure that the performers and videos submitted meet a certain criteria.

“Each semester, we host tryouts for a certain amount of nights in the Tilley. Groups sign up at the beginning of each tryout night and are judged on a variety of aspects: vocals, stage presence, relation to theme, overall performance and more,” Ward said.

Holland brought Gabe Hernandez, a member of the Bangs and Beards, back on stage to take part in a game of “Would You Rather” and ask a few questions about their performance.

Bangs and Beards consists of lead singers Jane Marczewski and Hernandez, both having performed two times at Coffeehouse and receiving a lot of attention during their debut song “Bieber, It’s Cold Outside” during last semester’s Christmas Coffeehouse. Hernandez said that the band was started because of a mutual friend of theirs, Ryan Carl.

“The crowd responded in a better way than we had anticipated, which was good,” Hernandez said. “For what it was, I think it went well. I don’t think we were the top performers of the night — other people blew it away — but I think we were able to hold our own.”

According to Ward, Coffeehouse is a great experience for students because it is comprised of all student videos and performances. She wants students to come and enjoy themselves and support friends in the show. She believes that Coffeehouse is an awesome and interactive way to do that.

“The magnitude of the university that we’re going to opens up so many opportunities. (Student Activities) is going to post (our) video on YouTube, which is viewed by thousands of people,” Hernandez said. “They trust the student body to be able to come up here and perform, and put it out for the whole world to see, so we can be the face of Liberty. We can represent. What we’re doing here is going to be heard around the world.”

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