Class of 2019+ exhibits talent

On Saturday night, students of the class of 2019+, Orientation staff and members of the Carnegie Mellon community had the privilege of witnessing just a few of the talents of those in the first year class. After a week of Orientation craziness — Playfair, House Wars, and information sessions galore — hundreds of people gathered in the Baker Lawn tent to celebrate the diversity of the passions present on campus.

The evening started out with an endearing and heartfelt performance by two Boss House students, Ghalyea Alsanea, pianist, and Johanna McAllister, vocalist. They sang a rendition of Regina Spektor’s Folding Chair. Though there were a few bumps along the way, the duo charmed the audiences when they incorporated a hill cheer into a part of the song, demonstrating to the crowd that house spirit was still alive and well.

Next was a first-year from Donner House named Riki Khorana, who explained to the crowd his desire to transform their ideas about what ukuleles can sound like. He cited Jake Shimabukuru as his inspiration, and then proceeded to play a wildly virtuosic classical piece. Not only was the sound that Khorana coaxed out of the ukulele amazing, but he was a dynamic and captivating showman as well. Like so many of last night’s performers, his academic interests, which include engineering, are focused in a completely different area than the talent he demonstrated.

Morewood E-tower first-year Gaurav Balakrishnan also played ukulele while singing a very beautiful Coldplay song. His soothing voice was comforting and wonderful to listen to.

The theme of home — new and old — was present throughout the showcase. Slam poet Hamza Qureshi, Mudge first year, recited a spoken word poem that he had written the night before he left to come to Carnegie Mellon. Before his performance began, he explained to everyone in the tent that they should snap if they felt connected to what he was saying. Over the course of the piece, Qureshi eloquently described his experience of saying goodbye, and how when faced with saying goodbye an individual realizes things they might not have otherwise. As the poem went on, more and more individuals inside the tent snapped their appreciation. After his performance, Qureshi invited those who wanted to learn more about slam poetry to ask him about it, inviting members of the community to come enjoy and get engaged in a passion of his.

Other highlights of the evening included an impressive hula hoop performance by Allison Black that had individuals whooping and hollering, two very different dance performances by Yuyan Sun and Janet Lee, a yo-yo performance by Alex Nelson, classical guitar by Joseph Kim, show tunes sung by Daniel Brennan and Emily Gallagher, and the performance of an original song by Nicole Korogodsky.

The evening wrapped up with the orientation slideshow, giving students the ability to reflect on their jam packed week and the amazing, passionate individuals they are embarking on a university adventure with. Support, enthusiasm, and kindness radiated throughout the event.