When attending school functions, you do not usually expect to see as many Glee-esque performances as Fox Television would lead you to believe. Thankfully, the fifth annual Night of The Arts, sponsored by the UT Health Science Center, provided all the singing, dancing and pop-culture references any avid television viewer would like to see.
Night of the Arts is an annual production by the fourth year med students to raise money for the school’s three student run free clinics. These clinics offer aid to teenage parents, women suffering from substance abuse addiction and homeless families in need of shelter and medical care.
For the first hour, the guests congregated around a silent art auction, showcasing local artists and students who donated their work. Proceeds collected from the art auction, ticket sales, donations and advertising within the program all went to benefit the free clinics. Once everyone had placed their bids and eaten their share of the healthful appetizers, the guests filtered into the auditorium to view the talent.
The entertainment of the night was mostly musically based, the most noteworthy of which being Egophany, the acapella band composed of the students attending medical school. As if to set the pace of the night, the band opened with a rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” that showcased the duet style arrangement that William McKinley High hoped to use to win regionals in “Glee”.
Piano performances by James Li and Melissa Chen included Chopin’s Nocturne No. 8 in D flat and Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 31 No. 3 respectively. The musical stylings vary greatly between pieces. The musicians captured the essence of both songs, from the contrasting jumps between jovial chords and arpeggios of Beethoven to the fluctuating, wave-like tempo and volume of Chopin.
Several solo vocal performances were done throughout the night. James Jackson, a third year veteran of Night of the Arts, sang Vincent by Josh Groban. Ketan Marballi gave a riveting performance of “Who’s lovin’ you?” by the Jackson 5, which was greeted by applause.
Possibly one of the most mind-blowing acts was Jason Carter performing “Dragonfly,” a mellow jazz-like composition that he wrote. The complexity of the piece, along with his flawless vocal overlay, would leave anyone still stuck on Jack Johnson gawking.
As entertaining as the night was, its true purpose was not lost in the sea of talented performers. Towards the end of the event, two of the alumni of Alpha Home –the clinic that treats recovering substance abusers– got up to give heart-wrenching testimonies. The women talked about their time in the home, the love shown by the med students volunteering and their constant thanks to everyone in the audience for supporting the clinics that saved their lives.
True to the beginning of the night, Egophany took the stage again to perform another Glee favorite, “True Colors.” The performance was as good as the first, despite no backing band bursting on to the scene, which –sadly– is a characteristic of not being on television.