Members of 90.3 WMSC and other students came together for their second annual talent show on the night of Feb. 17 at Montclair State University.
Students came rushing into the School of Communication and Media’s Presentation Hall anxiously waiting to see their friends perform, as it was the first in-person talent show due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As they chatted amongst each other, the lights slowly began to dim on the crowd. The audience gazed at the screen as a mockumentary kicked off the show. It showcased student performers who introduced themselves, their talent, how they felt about the upcoming talent show and comical skits.
The mockumentary started with a funny skit by Sabrina Hajsok, WMSC’s office manager, and Leslie Gallagher, the assistant office manager. The editing, creativity of the script and acting skills had the crowd at the edge of their seats waiting for what the performances had to offer, making the mockumentary a strong and amusing introduction for the phenomenal talent that would soon step onstage.
The hosts Hajsok, Gallagher and Ben Petruk, a junior journalism major and the associate program director, introduced the judges of the show: Kenny Horn, WMSC’s former Morning Buzz producer, Tom Kaminski, an adjunct professor at Montclair State and Kate Braunstein, the former station manager of WMSC.
From Broadway music to guitarists, the performers evoked emotions of happiness, passion and standing ovations from the crowd.
Sitting center stage was Melanie Lopez, a freshman journalism and digital media major. As nerves ran through her body, she rubbed her hands together for comfort. Before she sang, “Killing Me Softly,” by Lauryn Hill and Fugees, she claimed she was nervous but at the bridge of the song, she felt comfortable as a result of the heartfelt support in the crowd.
Lopez closed her eyes and held the mic as if she was alone in the comfort of her own room and sang her heart out, killing the crowd softly with her impeccable range.
“I got so into it because I love that song,” Lopez said. “So, I just kind of had to close my eyes and pretend like I wasn’t in front of [many] people.”
Daniel Acosta, a freshman communication and media studies major, performed an original piece with his guitar. Acosta’s talent left the crowd mesmerized as the amplifying vibrations of the guitar filled the room.
Kaya Maciak, a senior communication and media arts major and the station manager of WMSC, sang “Till Forever Falls Apart” by Ashe and FINNEAS with sophomore filmmaking major Jared Tauber. Tauber’s stellar guitar skills and Maciak’s sustainability with her tone and breath were uniquely impressive.
The family bond radiated through the screen as the show came to an end with a montage created by Mari Zuniga, a senior communication and media arts major, played. It reminisced the memories the station members had with each other. For a person who’s never been a part of WMSC, I could tell it is more than just a radio station.
As the wholehearted montage came to an end, the judge’s favorite and the fan-favorite were announced. The winners will also be spotlighted in WMSC’s newsletter. Guitarist Anthony Soto, a senior communication and media arts major, won the fan-favorite award. Acosta won judge’s favorite.
Soto was surprised but also proud he had conquered his fears.
“[I’m] shaking,” Acosta said. “My body’s vibrating. I still came up here knowing I was nervous. Any opportunity you get to be great, just be great — take it.”
Kelly Meagher, a sophomore film and television major, thought the in-person experience was great, since the first one was online.
“I think the event was really incredible,” Meagher said. “There were amazing acts tonight [and] it was really awesome seeing it in person. I want to say my favorite performances had to be Emily McCormack and Lara Ziccardi.”
Gallagher expressed that even though planning the talent show was a lot of work, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“College radio is all about bringing people together and it’s all about music,” Gallagher said. “So, the fact that a lot of these [are] music performances really just reminds me of why we do this every day and why we hold these student leader positions. [These positions] take a lot of time and a lot of work. But these things remind us of how rewarding it is. I think everyone did an amazing job. We’re just surrounded by so much talent. I can’t wait for next year, too.”