The Tower, Oglethorpe’s literary magazine, held its renown semester event, Night of the Arts, on Saturday. The event is a celebration of art, talent, and culture, showcasing poetry, singing, musical performances, and even some stand up and rap. With the amount of talent on campus, the whole night takes about three hours to include everyone and turns out a crowd of over 50 people, easily.
It’s impossible to sum up so much content in a nice little bow, so to break things down, here are some categories:
The Surprise Performance
Hallucinating Arkansas. This band -- consisting of Jake Van Valkenburg, Ryan Holtzen, and Milo McGehee -- performed an original song titled “For Singapore,” which featured some melodic whistling from McGehee and a unique storyline. However, what was most shocking was their cover of the Beatles song, “Oh Darling.”
Truth be told, it was a little bit terrifying. The song started out like any other but soon took a turn as Van Valkenburg set down his guitar to take the full lead on vocals, or rather, vocal yelling. Van Valkenburg turned in an instant from a chill guy playing guitar with his friends to an angry and rampaging boyfriend/husband who swore up and down that he would never hurt his darling. The audience, slightly scared, was in hysterics, some laughing so hard they cried. It was truly a performance worthy of an Oscar or Grammy or maybe both. And no one saw it coming.
Alex Oakley. The second act of the night was kickstarted by a jazz performance by Queen MAB and the L-Train (more on them later). The lead man, Alex Wilson, began the set by remarking that he had forgotten a saxophone player in his jazz band. He fakely questioned the audience, asking if anyone there had a saxophone they could play. From the corner came the loud, energetic voice of Alex Oakley, running up onto the stage with his saxophone in hand.
Despite only being told of his involvement in Queen MAB and the L-Train’s set a mere hour beforehand, Oakley blended in with the group perfectly, even soloing at one point, and adding his own flair to round out the jazz sound.
The One to (Probably) Make You Cry
Luke Evans. At the end of the first act, Luke Evans, a sophomore and close friend of many of the performers, got on stage with nothing but his cellphone. Despite being a theatrical performer at heart, Evans did not give a performance in the traditional sense. Instead, he told the story of Marisa Williams. Marisa, known by those close to her as Reese, was a student at Oglethorpe finishing up her last semester before graduation. However, do to reasons beyond her own control, Marisa has fallen into difficult times in regards to her mental health. She reached out to friends and family about it, and a GoFundMe page was started in hopes of getting her to Clearview treatment center in California.
Evans was on stage, on the night of Marisa’s 21st birthday, asking the crowd to donate to her cause. Marisa had previously performed at Night of the Arts, as well as other musical and spoken word events. To donate to her cause, click here.
The Hex Girls. It honestly isn’t fair that four close friends would also happen to be gifted with beautiful voices, but I suppose they make up for this injustice by sharing their talent with the world. The Hex Girls (not affiliated in any way with the girl group from Scooby-Doo) is an acapella group comprised of Chrysta Avers, Lindsay Thomaston, Sydney Stanley, and Kinsey DeGroat. Their voices combine to give a siren like symphony, completely entrancing with its beauty. So beautiful, you might even cry.
The Audience Pleaser
Monique Badong. While most of Night of the Arts is focused on music or poetry, Badong brings a change in pace by offering a stand up routine. Dressed in an oversized men’s button-up shirt repurposed as a dress and her signature gold, circle glasses, Badong brings presence with her to stage, a presence that further projects on her audience through her comedic performance. Her jokes played with her insecurities, Oglethorpe culture and Millennial humor. She left the crowd smiling and loving life just a little bit more.
Queen MAB and the L-Train. Anyone who says they don’t like jazz is just straight up lying. There is little better than a musical format that can switch from a soothing melody to a happy tune about a grandmother’s love. Featuring Alex Wilson on the flute and with lead vocals, Loren Sokol on the keyboard, Max Wagner on bass, Ryan Holtzen on guitar, and Miles Davidson on drum (ft. Alex Oakley on sax), Queen MAB and the L-Train brought a calm yet bopping start to the second act.
All in all, Night of the Arts was a beautiful event showcasing all the wonder within Oglethorpe.