On February 21st, I attended Dominican University’s talent show, sponsored by the Black World Studies program. There was a $1 entry fee, and beverages and snacks were provided at intermission. By the time I arrived (twenty minutes early, mind you!) it was almost full, and chairs were hard to find. It seemed a popular choice, and for a Thursday night, the turn out was absolutely astounding.
When I got my program, I glanced at it and noticed that a lot of freshman were entering this talent show. That made me slightly proud to know that the people in my class were brave enough to bare their talents at Dominican, a new and relatively unfamiliar place, especially when they knew that they were being judged during their performances. The contestants were mostly singers and musicians, although there was a dancer, a comedian, a poet, and even two mimes. It was very interesting to see not only friends put their talents on display, but mere faces in the hallway, and learn something new about them and what they love to do.
One contestant in particular, Kayla Jackson, caught my attention because she was singing a song called “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran. As an avid fan of his, and just having seen in concert on Monday night (I traveled all the way to my hometown in Saint Louis, Missouri, to see him (and Taylor Swift), I was excited that someone else was taking an interest in his music. I had just heard the live version of “Give Me Love” just three days before, and was excited to see Kayla’s take on the song. She was not performing until Act Two, so at intermission I found her among the chaos that was college students and free cookies, to tell her that I was excited to see her cover Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love”. She assured me that it would not be nearly as good as his, but that she would give it her best. But when her time came to sing, she played guitar and sang “Give Me Love” with as much dedication and originality that I had seen Ed Sheeran do it just days before.
Maybe that’s why, when the time came for the judges to announce the winners, I was not surprised in the least when she came in first and won a grand prize of $200. Coming in second was Justin Wheeler, who sang an impressive version of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”. I had seen him before the show and wished him luck: turns out he didn’t need it. In third, Jasmine Brooks and her twin sister captivated the audience with their original and emotional mime piece. There were few dry eyes after their spiritual performance. All in all, I was completely blown away by the talent that is fostered here at Dominican University and lucky to have only paid $1 to see these talents, when surely, someday, they will charging just as much as I paid to see Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. (An amount that shall remain a secret to both you and my bank account, ahem.)