By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Don’t fault yourself if you can’t pronounce the name of Columbia International University’s annual talent show: “AcoustaRockaRappaPaloozaStockfest” is a mouthful. Most CIU students just call it “Acousta,” a highly-anticipated show sponsored by Student Union, the student group that plans campus events. This year’s show took place on Feb. 27 in Shortess Chapel.
The acts in this year’s Acousta were as diverse as CIU students themselves. From classical piano to stand-up comedy, the audience gave every act loud cheering and applause.
“I haven't heard anything but positive reactions,” Student Union president and junior Lydia Lorenson said. “I think everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed the talent that came on stage.”
Juniors Mitchell Gebel and Tyler Tong emceed the event, and had the audience laughing with comedic “thank you notes” about life on CIU’s campus and little-known facts about the performers — who knew that junior Emily Calder longed to own a goat?
“When [Student Union] asked me to emcee Acousta, I said yes because I wanted to give back to one of CIU's best events, but I'm not talented in the performing arts,” Tong said.
The event featured well-known talents such as the brother-sister duo Anna and Joseph Knight, and lesser-known performers like Dr. Ed Smither, who, in addition to being the dean of the College of Intercultural Studies, enjoys singing covers of U2 songs.
Senior Nik Ellison kept the audience laughing with “Familiar Nightmares,” about being a student on CIU’s campus, from breaking quiet hours in the residence halls to taking out student loans.
With the accompaniment of freshman Erica Williamson, sophomore Michael Lanier turned an old typewriter into a musical instrument in his performance of the 1950 novelty tune “The Typewriter” by American composer Leroy Anderson. Interestingly enough, he had planned the entire act before he found a typewriter to use.
“I'd only practiced with the typewriter for about a week and a half before the performance,” Lanier said. “I'm not sure what I would've done if I hadn't found the typewriter.”
About a dozen students graced the stage to perform covers of popular songs, while Shane Sieweke and Allan Reinhard performed stand-up comedy routines that had the audience rolling with laughter. Almost a dozen students performed in a skit themed after NBC’s “The Voice.”
The night ended with an original song called Peaches and Eggs by juniors Shane Veldhuizen, Rigsbee Sanders, and Reese Bolte. The three amigos say that their friendship was about as strange of a combination as peaches and eggs.
“[Peaches and Eggs] is a song about how we three as friends are all different, yet despite [all] odds, became the bestest of friends,” Bolte explained.
AcoustaRockaRappaPaloozaStockfest is always a favorite event at CIU; it’s as much fun to attend as it is to say its name five times fast, and the 2016 show was no exception.
“There is a lot of talent at CIU but usually not an avenue in which to express it,” Gebell said. “Acousta allows students a chance to demonstrate an interest or talent to an attentive audience.”