It was an electrifying two days at the Music Recital Hall, as student musicians had the opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of a live audience.

The music department presented its 15th Songwriter Showcase on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18.

Directed by Arthur Winer, the concert featured 20 songs all composed and produced by students to showcase the department’s talent and creativity.

Students, parents and faculty staff filled the auditorium to watch the students perform.

“There’s no other ensemble on our campus where the music is written, performed and produced by the students,” said Winer. “We put on a lot of shows in the department, but none of them are like this.”

Clara Natalicio, Ben Burr and Ab Trujillo clap along with the beat of “Somebody Like You.” (Heather L. Martin | The Poly Post)

The reaction to the first night of the show made it evident it was something special.

The concert was divided into four sections, each produced by one or two students.

Aaron Agrawal and Branda Nguyen produced one of the most popular sections of the night.

It began with Michael Arteaga’s composition, “Atmosphere.”

“This song is kind of depressing but it’s upbeat,” explained Arteaga. “It’s about playing the cards that you are dealt with and hopefully getting the jackpot.”

First-year music student Kezia Warioba delivered a powerful performance of her original song, “Ozone.”

AJ Culpepper ended the set with his song, “Don’t You Know.”

The song, which is about the highs and lows in a relationship, incorporates rap verses by Culpepper.

After Agrawal and Nguyen’s section ended the first half of the concert, the buzzing audience broke for a 10-minute intermission.

The final set of the show was produced by Josh Tudino and Heath Adrian.

Their section contained many of the standout songs of the show, including “Home” by Clara Natalicio and Jennifer Hawkins.

“We met in a song writing class,” explained Natalicio. “I love writing and she’s really good with melodies. We fit together really well and created a song we are both extremely proud of.”

As Trujillo and his band finished the song the rest of the musicians joined them on stage

The Showcase was set in motion at the beginning of Winter Quarter when Winer began holding auditions to perform in the show.

It was just a matter of finding the best of the bunch and turning those songs into powerful and heartfelt performances.

Of the 60 songs auditioned, Winer handpicked the 19 that made it into the show.

“It ends up being really interesting, I never know what I’m going to get,” said Winer. “Usually, I turn away as many good songs as I let in which is a really hard thing to do.”

Being a part of the show isn’t limited to just music students; anybody who has the talent and motivation can audition.

However, many of the musicians who auditioned and didn’t make the final cut still ending up participating in the show by being a back-up vocalist or playing an instrument.

The next event will be the MIDI Ensemble. It will take place on Monday, May 21.

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