"Unplugged" an undeniable hit

    They are the freakishly talented. Which would mean nothing if they weren’t also fiercely devoted to their craft. Yes, the students of Prospect who audition and are accepted to participate in each year’s Variety Show are a talented bunch.
     I remember the summer before freshman year, my sophomore friend Rachel showing me the previous year’s V-show on DVD. I was blown away. The talented Jenny Sojka, playing her guitar. One Stop (the all-boy acapella group)  , singing “Stacey’s Mom” and cracking me up. Noah’s annual video with accompanying ska music…I was hooked. Ever since I have been a v-show enthusiast.
    And, I am quite pleased to say, this year’s show did not disappoint (although the theme, “Unplugged,” did seem to be taken literally – the microphones kept working then stopping. I blame the people who didn’t turn off their cell phones when they were asked to).
    Act 1 opened with Becca Sajbel playing her guitar and singing “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn. Now, I have had this song on my ipod for about a year, but hearing Becca play it was a new experience. Becca’s version was acoustic, but she also tweaked the harmony and made the already cute song sound even sweeter.
    By far the most unexpected but well-received acts was performed by Carlos Rodriquez and Marshall Lewis. Just imagine: the stage is lit, the curtains are closed. Then a boy enters, speaking…in…the voice of Yoda. As he whips out his toy lightsaber, you realize you can hear the lightsaber actually hum with energy. Then someone else appears from the other end of the stage – is it – yes it is! A Stormtrooper who immediately begins to fire at the “Jedi.” You can hear the toy gun zap out real lasers, you can hear the lightsaber deflect them and cause nearby explosions! But the most amazing part is, all of this special-effect noise that you hear…is coming from the voice of the young Jedi. No, it’s not a recording. But it’s so realistic it could have been.
    Props to Anna Wegener, who played a beautiful piano piece that she wrote, and to one of Prospect’s only bands, Jack Avenue (made up of Chris Enter, Jeff Jennings, Sam Kelly, Tom Kelly, & Jimmy Minogue). It’s nice to know that kids are still writing their own good music.
    Riley Mangan played Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Movement 1. Now, I know about watching piano players, and this kid entertained not only my ears, but my eyes. His fingers jumped and over the piano, hopping around and criss-crossing over each other, heightening the song much like the pianist Greta Salpeter.
    Mike Uhlarik closed the show with “Ocean,” a song by John Butler that he played on the guitar. According to my sister, Mike played the guitar “just like August Rush!” Well, I haven’t seen that movie. All I know is that instead of simply strumming, Mike was doing a bunch of funky stuff with that guitar, and the effect was a pretty sweet sound.
There are other acts I couldn’t get enough of (original dances, acapella groups, Kevin Ganac in general, etc.), but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves this Friday night 🙂