On Tuesday night in 1100 Social Sciences, something that has never been done before in the history of UC Davis occurred: a talent show. The Campus Union Center for Student Involvement has officially succeeded where others have failed.
Despite rumors that the show was canceled (the similarly titled, city of Davis’ “Davis Talent Show” was canceled) the student based organization worked tirelessly to present an event that included anyone who had a talent, and would inspire others to share in it.
“We wanted to do an event that’s totally ours that we could put on for the students,” Tiffany Trinh said, a managerial economics and design double major who is a student programmer for the Center of Student Involvement. “We thought the talent show would be good because there are so many talents and we could bring the student body together by putting this on.”
This idea of creating a unity within the school is one of the organization’s biggest goals, and dictates what kind of events they put on at UC Davis.
“Our mission is getting students involved,” said Michael Imprescia, a psychology major and another student programmer. “It lets people know about our organization, and also it gets people to go and see other people perform and get excited about activities on campus.”
The competition was open to anyone who wanted to try out, and the show offered a wide variety of talent. Even though the team originally imagined they would not have to cut anyone from the tryouts list, this proved impossible logistically.
“Seventeen people tried out – but we had to let some people go,” Trinh said. “It was really hard for us to do that because originally we thought we could include everyone, but it turned out that we had to make some cuts, based on time constraints.”
Despite the cuts, a large amount of talent was still there, singing, playing or juggling the night away.
Yes, you read that correctly. Theodore Tracy, a “juggler extraordinaire” and fifth-year senior animal science major, has been juggling for several years. Tracy wanted to bring something original to the show.
“I want people to know that there are other talents out there besides singing and dancing,” Tracy said.
Another contestant was Travis Marderosian, a senior English major. He and his fellow band mates, Andrew Alberts and Torsten Christian, performed the song, “People, Turn Around.” The trio wanted to perform something in front of a real audience for the first time.
“The three of us are excited to put our practice to the test,” Marderosian said. “It’d be nice to get some reassurance that our perceived talent is more than just internal. Sometimes you sound much better in your head.”
Although the team originally believed they wouldn’t need such a large space for their first time running the event, they quickly realized how wrong they were.
“We didn’t know how many people would show up,” Imprescia said. “Because it’s a campus unions event, we wanted to keep within Campus Union grounds – Griffin Lounge belongs to us. But, because of the layout of the room we weren’t sure how many people would attend. Also we didn’t want to turn down people at the door, so we made it more inviting and moved it to [Social Sciences}.”
Besides the issues with spacing and relocation, most of the logistics went smoothly. The challenge was to raise enough funds to cover the cost of the cash prizes. The winner got $150, runner up received $100, and third place got $50.
Campus Union’s original budget covered most of the funds, but they needed vendors to provide the raffle prizes for the participating audience. Businesses like Applebee’s, Trader Joes, Borders, and more all donated gift cards or small prizes for students to win through their raffle. Everyone who attended the event received a ballot ticket, which was automatically entered into the raffle.
By the end of the night, the audience had chosen three winning acts. Marderosian and his band mates won first place, Gezi Fu on the Chinese harp won second place, and singer Haowie Do placed third.
BRITTANY PEARLMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.