Summer Talent Show Displays Cultural Diversity, Dancing

Swimming, hiking, the mess hall — of the staples of the summer camp experience, none is more memorable than the talent show. While summer interns at BNL participate in slightly non-traditional activities (trading carbon nanotubes for campfires), the talent show remains the high point of the summer.

Summer Talent Show

The Office of Educational Programs (OEP), assisted by a team of volunteer students, organized Tuesday night’s event at Berkner Hall, programming an impressive line-up of more than 15 acts bursting with music, laughter and cultural diversity. An auspicious panel including Kathy Gurski of OEP, Danny Carrero of the Medical Department, and David Grills of the Chemistry Department, judged the performances. The prizes were checks for $25, $50, and $100.

OEP’s Ken White got things started with a few objectively painful science jokes (“Hydrogen and chlorine take an acid trip”) and the percussive commentary of drummer Mickdy Milien. Audience groans quickly led to the first act, a rousing rendition of the Lee Greenwood classic “God Bless the USA” performed by Matthew Stevens, which was followed by a thoughtful spoken-word piece by Charles Ramey, a student in the Physics Department.

While all of the acts were impressive, a few stood out among the mainstay instrumental and vocal performances. Avraham Dilmanian introduced the crowd to the santoor, a traditional Indian string instrument played with delicate hammers, much like the Appalachian dulcimer. Later, Adebe Kebede continued the theme of world music with a demonstration of the Ethiopian lyre, one of the most ancient instruments in existence.

Other performances in this vein were a Bollywood “Bhangra” dance routine from Mohammad Baig, a passionate American gospel piece composed by Ashley Johnson, and a beautiful performance of Japanese Taiko drumming, a combination of music and marshal arts, from Joe Dvorak and Eva Nagase.

Crowd favorites of the evening included a multi-media performance of the late Michael Jackson’s iconic dance “Thriller” by the Compton Boyz, as well as a rock-rap fusion song, “Heart of the City,” played by the summer student band Point Blank.

In the end, however, one talent shone above the rest. Indicating his wish to “express some emotion through my guitar,” summer student Edwin Mak wowed the audience with a virtuosic, self-composed piece titled “6 String Doodle.” Far from a mere doodle, Mak’s lively runs and bright harmonies were a pleasure to hear, and he won the top prize.

The night ended with OEP staff and students dancing onstage to traditional Ethiopian music, a fitting conclusion to such a diverse and energetic show.

2009-1359  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom