Dim lights, warm espresso, live, raw talent and original poetry. Thursday evening, in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union, CSUN students got to experience all of these, during “Espressions,” an event hosted by the Union Program Council.
“Espressions began last year,” said Nancy Lai, a member of UPC who stood outside of the Grand Salon taking espresso orders and making the drinks for students. “It’s a once a year event, and it’s a chance for students to come out and perform.”
Among the talented CSUN students who performed was senior Tyrone Newman, who recited his original poem titled “I am Who I am, Not What He’s Not.” Newman, who has been writing poetry since he was in middle school, said poetry is a way for him to express his feelings since it is difficult to open up in general.
“Even though you might be nervous in the beginning, once you get up there and say your poem, you’ll be surprised how many people can relate to your poetry and have been through the same thing,” Newman said.
Other acts included poetry by Jacyelyn Hamptom, Brittany Quarterman and Robert Dover, who chose to express his spirituality and closeness to God through his poems.
“All of my poetry comes from either personal experiences or thoughts,” Dover said. These experiences and thoughts were expressed in his poem titled “Holy Ghost Girl.”
The night started off slow with only a few groups of people hanging out, but as the night grew, so did the crowd. And Ebony Conley, UPC arts chair and mistress of ceremonies for the night, urged students to come up and perform at anytime.
Jonathan Freeman-Anderson did just that. Freeman-Anderson started by playing the bjmbei drum as accompaniment to his partner Roger Chagnon, who played the guitar and sang. The duo, who call themselves Rose Painted Red, performed songs which Chagnon said can’t be put into a specific genre.
Later Freeman-Anderson received lots of appreciation from the audience when he recited a poem that he wrote that night while attending the open-mic event.
“This is a really nice environment, full of entertainment, passion and expression,” said Jamie Foreman, who came to the event because of her strong love of poetry, and with hopes of getting her friend to recite a poem. “The snacks also had a part in my decision to come out.”
“This was my first time reciting poetry in front of people,” said Javanese Fuller, who read a poem while another student played the guitar in the background. “I’m going to start doing it more often now, on campus and at other places.”
After a mellow, yet intense evening, the crowd got an energy boost nearing the end of Espressions as Tunde Ola and Marvin Boateng, members of the African Students Organization, played African drums. Heads bobbed, feet tapped and hands clapped all around the room to the beat of the djembe and conga drums.
“We’ve only been playing the drums together for three days,” Ola said.
“This is only our second time playing in front of a group of people. The first was earlier today at the International Students Affair.”
UPC members hope next year’s Espressions will be bigger and better, and attract even more students. Next year the organization plans to have a fusion of visual and performance art, allowing students to showcase their artwork in an “Expressions” art exhibit.
The UPC will be putting on a variety of events at CSUN during this fall semester. A calendar of upcoming UPC events can be found on their website, www.usu.csun.edu/events.
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