Rowan March Profs Spotlight highlights music, poetry and comedy

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Bringing a range of poetry, comedy and music to the Profs Place stage, the Profs Spotlight event returned this past Monday, right at the cusp of Spring Break.

Showcasing new performers and returning faces alike, this event highlighted the diverse array of talents here at Rowan University.

First to the stage was freshman mechanical engineering Robert Kallok, known by his stage name “Bobcat.”

“My personal influences are Weezer, Radiohead, Coheed & Cambria, a lot of prog-rock influence. I’m trying to incorporate a lot more Rage Against the Machine influence,” Kallok said, noting some of the strange guitar tones and progressive rock style that comes from these bands.

His set list consisted of a handful of original pieces, as well as a cover of Weezer’s “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here.”

Kallok had humble beginnings with his guitar.

“When I was in seventh grade I just had a guitar and I made my friend teach me how to play it. The instrument came first – then the music,” he said.

Returning for her third appearance at Profs Spotlight was freshman law and justice major Brianna Roland.

Roland, a slam poet, presented two pieces, one titled “Military,” influenced by the recent political climate and the other “Alzheimer’s,” which she wrote in dedication to her grandfather, who died from the disease this past January.

“I normally try to make poems I’m not experienced in like in different characters,” said Roland, noting the perspectives that were given in both of her pieces.

Roland noted that when she listened to rap when she was younger that it wasn’t the rhythm she was attracted to, it was the poetry itself.

Another first timer to the Profs Spotlight stage was improvisational comedian and junior computer science major Michael Matthews, “M&M” for short.

He cited Tinder as his biggest inspiration. Matthews challenged himself with a variety of improvised pick up lines, given to him by audience members.

“I just felt when I was using pick up lines it went pretty well,” Matthews said after the event. “You try to stretch your creativity and find the world play within words.”

Returning once more to the Profs Spotlight stage was sophomore opera singing major Steve Solkela.

A fan favorite, Solkela performed a range of original polka tunes as a one man band, complete with accordion and bass drum in tow.

Solkela’s inspiration is Bobby Aro, a Finnish musician. After the show, he joked that he is Aro reincarnated.

“Musicians should be able to do something that people can’t, that one man band is something I wouldn’t have been able to do unless I trained my multi-tasking skills every day. I wanna be more impressive than any musician I’ve ever met, and I’ve got a lot more to do yet,” he said.

Other performers included comedian and impressionist Sean O’Malley and guitarist and songwriter Dave Alprandi.

O’Malley, who competed in last year’s “Laugh Off,” brought his comedy routine to the pit, before treating the audience to his arsenal of impressions which ranged from Stitch from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch” to the titular characters of “Rick & Morty.”

“Every story that I tell is 100% true – at least in some sense,” O’Malley said.

Alprandi, the final performer of the night is a sophomore accounting major by trade, but his musical influences are all across the board. He performed a handful of original songs as well as covers of John Mayer’s “Gravity” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” 

“Growing up I listened to a lot of contemporary jazzy stuff, and when I was a teenager it was more pop Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco stuff. I’m kind of influenced by all genres,” he said.

The next Profs Spotlight will be held on April 3. Anyone interested in performing can contact the Chamberlain Student Center’s Graduate Coordinator of Marketing & Special Events Jenn Margiloff at margil27@rowan.edu.

For comments/questions about this story, email arts@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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