Djembe, comedy and movie trailers were all featured in last night’s Freshman Celebration of the Arts, a collection of performances showcasing the diversity of first year talent. Pillows and sheets were strewn across the floor of the Bingham lounge providing a cozy setting where the audience could sit while sipping tea and nibbling cookies.
“It is the first time this has ever been done. Our goal was to build a sense of community and to show the amazing accomplishments of freshmen in art that doesn’t usually get highlighted,” said Sarah Morgenstern DC ’05, president of the Freshman College Council, which organized the event. The Celebration was specifically targeted at, you guessed it, freshmen and was intended to be an opportunity to mingle as much as to enjoy the performances. It was also the FCC’s way of getting freshmen to visit the recently renovated lounge.
Leila Rastegar BR ’05, the head organizer of the Celebration, was overwhelmed by the response, “Within 10 minutes of sending the e-mail I had already got 8 responses about people wanting to do things” she said. The performers were chosen on a first come first serve basis. “We tried to balance between acts and colleges, and we wanted to support anyone who really wanted to do it,” said Rastegar.
The show opened with Evan Coughenour ES ’05 singing and playing the guitar. In the spirit of Spring Fling, he performed several Guster cover songs. Other highlights of the evening included Steve Ybarra and Zachary Jones’ DC ’05 djembe and tenor saxaphone duet. Composed just 15 minutes prior to the show, the “dookie-inspired mix of funk, jazz and blues,” as described by Jones, was a definite hit with the audience.
Laura Gary SY ’05, who sang and played the guitar, was another favorite. Her unconventional love songs drew smiles from the audience. With lyrics like “The quarterback is getting more play than I am” and “I’m just fine to hang out with but not good enough to make out with” from “Just Friends” her songs combined griping about men and humor.
Other performances included a keyboard improvisation by Alex Temple JE ’05, undoubtedly a first taste of contemporary music for many in the room. “At this moment I have no idea what I’m going to do so I guess I’ll find out as I do it” said Alex before playing and drumming on his keyboard. Most of the audience did not know what to make of it but was appreciative nonetheless. Also featured were the freshman Alley Cats, short story readings, and a comedic dramatic reading. Trailers for two films were screened: “Unorthodox” by Nathan Kitada BR ’05 and “A Day in the Life of One Yale Student” by Steven Starr SY ’05.
“It’s excellent to be able to test out your material in an intimate setting, ” said Kitada, who is now considering using Gary’s music for the soundtrack of his film. The celebration seemed as beneficial to the performers as it was for the audience.
“I know that people are really talented here, but I rarely get the chance to see everyone doing what they love, especially all at one time,” said Liba Rubenstein BR ’05.
Rastegar said she was pleased with the success of the “Celebration of Arts in a friendly coffee-shop setting.”
“I had fun the whole way,” she said.