Eighth-Annual Rowan’s Got Talent highlights unique student performers

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Rowan’s Got Talent returned for its eighth-annual running, showcasing the diverse talents that the university has to offer. Organized in part by Rowan After Hours (RAH) and the Rowan Television Network (RTN), the event drew out a unique blend of musicians, singers and poets to the Chamberlain Student Center Pit.

“This is my second year overseeing this event, it’s a lot of planning and a lot of communication, it’s a lot of collaboration,” said RAH graduate coordinator Emily Kofman.

“I think the thing I like the most is being surprised by different talents that Rowan students have, you can see a student walking down 322 and never know that they play the trombone,” Kofman continued.

Through the competition, contestants were judged on personality, stage presence and overall talent.

Contestants wowed the audience with a variety of styles. For example, junior music industry major Sofia Khorosh performed an acoustic spin of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” while sophomore opera singing major Steve Solkela attempted to win over the audience and judges with his one-man band routine.

“It was great, I had such a good time, everyone that came out to support… It meant a lot,” Khorosh said after she performed. “I figured it was a throwback that everyone knew and I just wanted to get everyone I moving and have a good time.”

Freshman musical theatre major Nathan Benson performed a trombone arrangement of “Friend Like Me” from Disney’s “Aladdin,” then fellow freshman Shanara Chung, a biology major, performed an original spoken-word poetry piece.

“I thought it was pretty great,” said senior music education major Keith Bianchini at the conclusion of the event. “It was great to see so many people playing and singing with so much passion.”

The recurring theme of the night seemed to be the multitude of talent that could be found at Rowan, and students’ reactions after the night came to a close encapsulated that.

“I really enjoyed the variety of acts,” said sophomore music industry major Devon Dyer. “It wasn’t just singing or performing, there were instruments, dancing, slam poetry, and that’s stuff you don’t really see all together at once.”

As competitive as the environment was for all onstage that night, some were making their own way, performing onstage for the first time.

“It was nerve-wracking, I’m not used to being in competitions or being on stage in general,” said freshman biology major Bailey Sanders, who performed alongside her friend, and freshman radio, television and film major, Annemarie Forcino and placed third overall.  

“I just do it for fun. The atmosphere was really nice because it wasn’t cutthroat competition, we were in the backroom playing and singing together,” Sanders added.

By the end of the competition, however, the judges had to come down to a single winner — Shanara Chung.

“I was actually really surprised, I thought once I got that paper it was it, you know, ‘good job,’” said Chung, who was shocked she took home the fan-favorite award as well as the $200 first-place winnings. “I feel like people don’t appreciate spoken word that much but tonight showed me that they actually do and they are touched by just words.”

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