Unplugged continues to showcase student talent

By Leda Edwards

Maja Todorovic took center stage to perform her original song entitled, “I know (you don’t like me),” and as her fingers strummed against her ukelele, she felt the enthusiasm of the crowd resonate through the entire auditorium.

“Once I’m on stage, it just feels like I’m the only one there,” Todorovic, Div. 150, said. “And then afterward, I kind of just pop back into reality and see everybody’s faces and I go, ‘Wow, there are people here. This is crazy.’”

Music teacher Mr. Comiskey said that Unplugged allows students to showcase their talent.

“We just wanted to give an opportunity to those students who have music that’s their own and music that they worked on with their friends to share it with everyone,” Comiskey said.

According to Comiskey, when Unplugged first started, the concert was held during fourth, fifth and sixth period. However, now, the concert is held after school at the end of the year as a result of the new monthly open mics.

“Last year, my club called The Beat started doing open mics every single month,” Comiskey said. “We’ve been doing those once a month in the guitar room, but we decided for the end of the year, we wanted to do a big end of the year thing.”

For people like Todorovic, the concert also allows students to come together for a shared interest: music.

“I love to share my music,” Todorovic said. “I feel like music is a universal language and it is something that we can all relate to and express, and I just think it’s something beautiful we should all share.”

Some students like Joseph Hoppenworth, Div. 951, showcase their music at Unplugged in addition to other venues outside of Lane.

“I already started a protoband at Northwestern, so I’m looking forward to doing some music with that,” Hoppenworth said.

According to Hoppenworth, a protoband is a band that is in its early stages or the very beginning of a band.

“I am hesitant to call it a full-on band because we all haven’t exactly met yet due to our distance, but we have been chatting online and establishing our roles,” Hoppenworth said.

Similar to Todorovic, when Hoppenworth played his cover of the song “Cherry Wine” by Hozier, cheers rang throughout the crowd.

“I definitely feel like a big ping of energy, but I’m kind of used to it by now,” Hoppenworth said.

During the Unplugged concert, students do not necessarily have to perform a song or play an instrument. Cierra Mosley, Div. 062, performed her untitled slam poem about her experience being black in America.

“I wrote this poem during my internship with NeuroKitchen arts,” Mosley said. “When I read it at the end of the program, a lot of people were like, ‘This is really important and people need to hear this,’ so I thought that I would continue to spread the message.”

According to Mosley, performing a poem can be just as nerve-racking as performing a song.  

“It’s definitely a rush,” Mosley said. “You have all of these eyes staring at you, waiting to see what you’re going to do and you just have to go out there and do what you came to do and do it to the best of your abilities.”

To combat these nerves, some performers like Mosley will use certain tactics to decrease the anxiousness that comes with performing in front of a crowd of people.

“If you’re starting off with a big crowd, just make sure that you have someone in the crowd,” Mosley said. “At least you have someone who has possibly seen you perform or heard you do whatever it is that you’re doing on stage.”

A lot of the energy that was once put into the annual Unplugged concert is now being transferred to the monthly open mics hosted by The Beat.

“The monthly open mics are going to continue, and that’s a really amazing community of people, so that’s where we want to grow and make sure that lots of people know about those,” Comiskey said.

Although Unplugged does not happen as often as the monthly open mic performances, any student can sign up via the student news email for both The Beat’s monthly open mic and the annual end of the year Unplugged concert.

“We have a plan to do some better advertising,” Comiskey said. “But the goal is to make sure that everyone gets a chance to be on stage, and it’s a really amazing thing to have at Lane.”