Melodies and Mashups:Students Revamp Pop Classics During Open Mic Night

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“The wine you kissed stained your lips. The air cools by the hour. I’ll watch us die like your flowers,” sang Calvin Griffin ’15 while strumming on the guitar. The vivid lyrics of the song, an original composition by Griffin, earned cheers from the audience.

Griffin, who has been playing guitar since he was seven and wrote his first song at ten, was one of fifteen student acts performing at Friday’s Open Mic Night in Lower Right of Paresky Commons.

The night began with Seniors Liana Brooks ’15 and Ian Frankel ’15 performing a mash-up of “Yesterday” by Paul McCartney and “Over the Rainbow,” originally from “The Wizard of Oz.” With Frankel on guitar and Brooks on vocal, the piece began with the first verses of “Yesterday.” When the chorus hit, Frankel slowly transitioned from low to high notes, signalling the start of “Over the Rainbow.”

“We decided on a mashup because I knew how to play both of the songs… and we didn’t want to choose,” said Frankel. “It’s different, because we usually play a pop song when we perform together. Both of these songs were two very old songs and more jazz-oriented with the chords used.”

Isabella Haegg ’16 and Sloane Sambuco ’16 also performed, harmonizing to Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop.” They slowed down the upbeat dance song by using only a ukulele for accompaniment and alternated singing different verses before joining together for the chorus. Their rendition of the song made the playful lyrics seem profound and emotional.

“I felt great while performing. [Haegg] and I put together the song in about an hour, and we were very pleased with how it turned out. I bought a ukulele and taught myself how to play over winter break, so I was a bit nervous because I don’t have much experience with the instrument, but I practiced often and will definitely want to perform with it again,” said Sambuco.

Following a series of solo acts, SLAM, Andover’s step team, lined the stage, dressed in all-black attire. The team’s performance consisted of two routines, set to Nicki Minaj’s “I’m Feeling Myself” and Trey Songz’ “Touchin’, Lovin’.” They started by sharing the stage as a group, performing intricate steps to accentuate the downbeat of the songs in perfect unison. They then split in two and executed the steps in smaller groups with precision, then came back together, layering the two groups’ steps to create a complex rhythm.

“I thought that we put on a great show, and it was a good way for our very new team to experience performing in front of a large crowd for the first time. We pieced together steps that our team had been doing for years in the past and created combinations that were easily able to be set to songs,” said Alejandra Uria ’15, Co-Captain of SLAM.

The final performance of the night featured Ian Jackson ’16 playing the banjo and singing to “The Moon Song” by Karen O. His soft vocals matched the steady beat of the banjo.

“Right before the performance, I was extremely nervous. The last time I had performed was at a piano recital where I messed up the piece multiple times, but during the performance, I was more calm than nervous. I knew and loved the piece I was playing, and eventually I stopped being nervous altogether,” said Jackson in an email to The Phillipian. “Personal motivation and peer pressure prompted me to perform. All week [I] was thinking about performing, but I never would have done it had it not been for my friends who encouraged me to go out and perform.”