Unlike previous years, this year’s iTalent and iFashion Show paraded a more creative set of talent and traditional costumes as part of the International Festival (iFest). The student-organized event included a performance of the guzheng, a traditional 18-string Chinese instrument and a Filipino bamboo folk dance.
The show opened with Resonate, a student-run orchestra group, performing “B Rosette,” a song from a Korean drama. Tony Choi ’15, Co-Head of Resonate, who played first violin, led the melody while percussionist Tiffany Tien ’16 kept the orchestral group together with a steady beat. Other instruments such as the tuba, cello and flute gave the piece a rhythmic dimension, creating a full-orchestral concert experience despite its small scale of 12 members.
“It was fun to get the music because it is not found in America, so Tony Choi had a friend of his from Korea send it to him. Music ties people across cultures, and it was wonderful to see that culminate during iFest when we played an international piece,” said Maita Eyzaguirre ’14, Co-Head of Resonate.
Clint Yoo ’14 sang an emotional cover of the popular Korean hit “What If,” by Girl’s Generation. Yoo’s performance captured the reminiscent and heartbreaking message of the song. As he reached for the high-pitched notes, his vibrato crescendoed to a full, dramatic intensity. Although many of the audience members did not speak Korean, the audience appeared fully engaged by the performance.
“Even though I couldn’t understand what Clint [Yoo] was saying, I listened and thought about the tones of what he sang, as well as his facial expressions and melody of the song. It expressed a lot of emotions and even some of the meaning of the song without knowing the meaning of the words,” said Sarah Ding ’17.
Other songs of different languages, such as Spanish and Malay, followed Yoo’s performance.
Introducing the audience to the complex art of ancient Chinese music, Alex Ma ’17 performed a piece on a guzheng. The instrument resembles a piano and allows the musician to play the melody with right hand and the harmony with left hand.
Ma showed strong focus and concentration as she played, and the audience watched intently as her fingers flew across the strings.
Taking a different turn from a number of instrumental and vocal performances, members of Southeast Asian (SEA) Club then appeared on the stage carrying 8-foot-long bamboo poles.
Dressed in brightly colored garments, the bamboo tappers lowered the poles to the ground and started sliding and beating the poles together to create loud, ringing beats. As the tappers continued to hit the poles together, a pair of dancers jumped in and out the spaces between the bamboo poles. At the end, the dancers invited audience members onto the stage to try and learn the dance.
“It was so fun watching the folk dance. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. I really wished I had gone up and tried dancing,” said Malka Berro ’14, an audience member. “Some of the dancers live in my dorm, so I know how much they’ve practiced over the past weeks. Their hard work definitely paid off. It looked so good.”
The talent show shifted into the fashion show as models dressed in traditional garments walked up the stage. Countries represented this year included Bahrain, Bhutan, the Dominican Republic and Saudi Arabia. As the models said greetings in their countries’ official languages and modeled their clothing, the MCs, Paulina Munn ’14 and Ben Yi ’14, presented fun facts about different countries.
Representing Saudi Arabia, Sophie Smith ’17 dressed in a black burqa, a customary piece of clothing with a face-veil worn by many women of the Islamic tradition.
“Muslims wear [the burqa] because there are quotes in the Qur’an instructing believing women to cover themselves. Often times, fathers or husbands are in control of whether or not the women have to cover and how much, and this may contribute to the male-dominated culture in Saudi,” said Smith.
“I really like how we could experience all of the diverse cultures at one place. I really liked the fashion show because all of their traditional clothes were so pretty and unique. I expected the talent and fashion show to be more of a concert, but this was much better. I liked it because it was friendlier than I had expected,” said Christine You ’16.