Spotlight Talent Show returns to Laurie Auditorium stage after 2-year hiatus

Spotlight has been elevated into formal event with art gallery competition, free food and semi-formal dress code

courtesy of tiger network

With Spotlight 2020 canceled and the 2021 edition relocated to Jim Potter Intramural Field due to COVID-19 precautions, this year’s student talent show returned to the stage in Laurie Auditorium and was revamped to celebrate Trinity’s talented student body. On Friday, March 25 from 6 to 9 p.m., 11 acts competed in Spotlight for first, second and third place, 10 of which were singing acts.

Each year, the Student Programming Board’s (SPB) entertainment committee plans the Spotlight talent show. This year, SPB entertainment chair and junior biochemistry and molecular biology major Ty Kostopoulos started planning for Spotlight in late February. Kostopoulos said that the show returning to its original location in Laurie Auditorium was an upgrade (with a real stage and lighting) from where it was held last year on the intramural field due to concerns surrounding the pandemic.

New additions to Spotlight that Kostopoulos thought to include were an art gallery, appetizers, drinks and a semi-formal dress code in order to make the talent show feel more special, like a formal event.

“We asked TigerTV to record every performance so the performers can use that in their portfolios going forward because a lot of them want to pursue music. I wanted it to be more special and more like a real gig for them,” Kostopoulos said.

Out of 11 total acts, two were duets, and the last performance was a group rendition of “Valerie” by the Trinity Acabellas. Spotlight performers included Sam Cole, Robert Furuya, Grace Hanshaw, Tara Kyaw, Runyu (Martin) Li, Kalei Lucas-Marinelli, Chris Medeiros, Ally Powell, Wren Ramos, Sena Saygili, Andrew Walker and Caelyn M. Worman. Additionally, four student artists competed in the art gallery portion of the talent show.

Kostopoulos conceived the student art gallery competition as a way to highlight student talents that were not necessarily performative in nature.

“There are so many different forms of art, and Trinity students are so talented, and not all of that talent fits in with performance arts like music and acting. I thought it would be fun to have something for people who can draw or paint or sculpt to have a platform to show off what they can do,” Kostopoulos said.

Sam Cole, junior accounting major and SPB concert committee member, broke down how Spotlight is formatted. Cole said that after each person performed, there were a couple of minutes for the judges to give their comments. After everyone performed, the judges voted on a first, second and third place winner. The audience also got an opportunity to vote on the crowd favorite performance.

The three judges included University Chaplain Alex Serna-Wallender, Dean of Students Demi Brown and Coordinator for Student Programs Harlena Munnings as a special guest judge. Kostopoulos said that SPB wanted a flashy cash prize as an incentive for students to participate in the event. First place received $150, second place $100 and third place $50. Additionally, the crowd favorite received a $25 gift card.

Tara Kyaw, senior psychology major, won first place in the talent show singing “For Good” from the Broadway musical “Wicked” with her singing partner, Kalei Lucas-Marinelli. This was Kyaw’s first time performing in Spotlight and said that she and Lucas-Marinelli were very surprised to win first place.

“We participated in Spotlight just for fun memories because it is our senior year. I thought everyone was super talented, and I believe everyone is a winner. There is a big time commitment on everyone’s part to put together their own act and take the time to perform it on stage in front of people, which can be very daunting,” Kyaw said.

Kyaw said that Spotlight is a great opportunity for students to showcase their talents and be proud of their own accomplishments.

“It’s just a nice community to be able to talk to all the other people who participated and to support one another in our endeavors,” Kyaw said.