Student Performers Answer the Call to Creative Competition

The members of Awkward Silence had the USF Got Talents’ crowd laughing as they performed their improvisational comedy skits. PHOTO BY BEAU TATTERSALL/SAN FRANCISCO FOGHORN

USF student performers brought their musical brilliance and overall panache into the spotlight during the USF Got Talent showcase on April 9, which gave off feelings of carefree summer days. Hosted at District Six and presented by Student Leadership Engagement, the showcase was held on the main stage of the outdoor food truck garden and included exquisite food, drink, and pure USF talent.

In collaboration with the Campus Activities Board (CAB), the event called for anyone and everyone to come and strut their stuff, awarding different levels of cash prizes to the top three individual and group performances. 

A mixture of performances filled the afternoon, with each performer’s flair in a class of its own. Mikayla Brown, a communications major, gave a stellar rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae’s era-defining classic, “Put your Records On,” and Laynee Daniels, an arts and social justice major, played guitar as she sang Catie Turner’s dreamy break-up song “Breath.”

After her opening number, Brown said, “I just wanted to come out, have fun, and I love singing that song.” She also remarked on the beautiful outdoor venue that included three food trucks, as well as booths selling hand-crafted art, jewelry, and tarot readings. 

 Iconic local hip-hop artist and USF graduate, LBXX (also known as Lunchboxx), made a guest appearance, performing his popular songs such as “Hilary Banks” and making sure to include the audience. He often paused to hold his microphone out to the crowd seated at picnic tables in front of him, a cue for them to shout “Banks!” after singing the chorus’s catchy repetition, “Hilary, Hilary, Hilary.” Although the “stage” was simply a mic-equipped area level with the audience’s seating arrangements, the Bay Area musician dominated the astroturf he sauntered across. 

Leah Possick, an advertising major and member of CAB, said, “we are so thankful for all the talent that came out, everyone is so good, and we would not be having this event without them.” 

USF’s clubs were represented at the event as well, with performances by ASUSF Voices and Awkward Silence, USF’s improv organization. The six Voices members that were present at the show embraced their inner Pitch Perfect with acapella-renditions of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” and Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.” Both songs had the crowd singing along to the classic lines. 

Awkward Silence members Hope Azevedo, Sariah Watkins, and Taleah Johnson all agreed that the friendly environment allowed for an audience-engaged show, perfect for improvisational comedy.

“Sometimes the crowd doesn’t want to laugh…but not them. I could feel everyone wanted to be a part of it,” Watkins said. “I would definitely do it again.”

Interspersed between these tuneful performances, CAB set up fun QR code trivia quizzing on classic San Francisco history and college student questions, with prizes for the person who got the most questions correct in the least amount of time. The trivia inspired competitors to talk to neighbors to gather as much information as possible, filling the venue space with laughter. 

It was freshman Hannah Clemenson who stole the show in the end, with two Motown-inspired songs, including one original song that she admitted to having never performed publicly. The song, entitled “Little birds,” had the crowd in a love-sick trance. To close out the night, Clemenson was declared the showcase’s winner and was awarded the first-place prize of $150. 

Everyone who performed demonstrated what the USF community is capable of, and the crowd’s morale was characterized by loud cheering and friendly banter throughout the event. 

CAB’s next event will be a karaoke night in the Undercaf of the University Center on April 21 at 7 p.m., presenting another opportunity for students to tune in to the music and tune out the semester’s stress.

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