Photos and Story by Sergio Pacheco/Contributing Writer
On Friday, September 20, MTSU’s Intercultural and Diversity Affairs department hosted the third annual Rep Your Roots talent show in the Student Union building. The show called for students who could sing, dance, act, do comedy or write poetry.
The event served two purposes for participants. The first was to show off their skills in front of a large campus crowd and possibly get some exposure to a live audience if they were participating live for the first time. The second purpose was to represent themselves, their city, their country or even their organization. Forty participants with various artistic skills signed up. Each participant had three minutes to perform their best and at the same time be able to impress four judges, each with a professional background in the music industry.
Many of the songs performed touched on relatable topics such as love, heartbreak, friendship, remorse, life and success. Some performers sang original songs, while others chose to sing a cover from one of their favorite artists. Jeffrey Swift and his band covered “How to Save a Life” originally a song by The Fray, which talks about singer Issac Slade and his experience with a teenager who was struggling with a drug addiction, while working as a mentor on a camp for troubled youths. In the third act, Henry Bonilla, performed his original song “Successful Man Tendencies.” Bonilla started off very energetic, but half way through his performance he forgot his lines. It was Bonilla’s first time performance, like many, but the crowd cheered for him to continue, so he did just that. Like Bonilla, there were many who became overwhelmed by the audience, but the audience, along with the judges, fully supported everyone.
There was another instance where another performer had difficulties. “You already have the courage to stand on the stage. You can do it!” said talent show judge Shalom “J.Storm” Miller, CEO of Power Move Management Group. During difficult or uncomfortable times that performers faced, many positive and encouraging comments were heard from the audience. There were friends, roommates, and family members all supporting each other, which truly set the mood for a good atmosphere.
Along with the many talented singers, there were equally talented dancers. MTSU’s Indian Cultural Exchange organization took the crowd by surprise with their choreography. The dance group consisted of both male and female students who displayed a variation of dances from their Indian culture. “We’ve been practicing consistently for weeks to prepare for this show and hopefully our work pays off,” said Neil Patel, a member of the Indian Cultural Exchange organization. Another group that took the audience by surprise was MISO, a Korean dance group under the Asian Student Association at MTSU. The group consisted of Mia Rajasombath and Caleb Fitzhugh, who danced to a mix of songs, each displaying unique moves like the ones seen on Korean Pop videos.
Judges tallied up all their scores to pick three winners. Third place went to Jared Hall, who performed an original poem titled “The Block.” Second place went to Julia Cooper and her original acoustic song title “Footprints,” and first place went to the Indian Cultural Exchange organization. Judges had a hard time deciding who would be their top three choices among so many talented participants. The talent show was an event that provided students with a platform to display their skills and what they love to do. For some, it was one more goal accomplished and many more to fulfill, while for others it was an opportunity to gain courage and support.
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