USF students shine during the first annual Ultimate Bull Talent Show during USF Week.
By Laura Kneski
TAMPA, Fla. (April 17, 2013) – The Chocolate Goddess, a dance crew, a band, a harmonica player, and other talented Bulls gathered together to show off their skills at the first annual Ultimate Bull Talent Show last week at the University of South Florida.
Coordinated by Brandi Arnold, student assistant for the USF Center for Student Involvement, 11 contestants competed for the pride of being crowned Ultimate Bull.
They were motivated to have the opportunity to show their peers what else they are good at aside from writing research papers and waking up for class.
The Oval Theater in the Marshall Student Center was filled with cheering students. CSI got the crowd singing along with a video of upcoming USF Week events, which included Rocky’s Rockin’ B-Day Bash and Bullstock. After that, the show opened with a hip-hop routine by Relentless Dance Crew. The group of ladies wasn’t a part of the competition itself, but it exhibited just as much talent.
Each contestant’s act was preceded by an introductory video in which he or she shared a little about his or her talent, as well as a favorite USF tradition. Common choices were Bullstock and Homecoming Week, but singer and guitarist Tori Greene said that her favorite tradition was not stepping on the seal in the student center.
The judging panel consisted of four members hand-selected by Arnold, and included: Assistant Director Office of Orientation Ryan Newton, Dean of Students Michael Freeman, Miss USF 2013 Meghan Palmer and Student Body President William Warmke.
These talents have been developed over years of practice. Student Deanna Huertos has been tap dancing since she was 2 years old, and she has been eagerly awaiting a chance to get on the stage again and take a break from her industrial engineering calculations.
Her piece was choreographed in commemoration of a friend who passed away last year, and as judge Palmer said, “It can be difficult to tell your story through tap dance, and you did it.”
Harmonica player Najee Lee is a psychology student in his junior year. He has been teaching himself how to play the harmonica from Youtube videos for 6 years now. While he has played in Miami Blues clubs before, he said that he still gets nervous. He would love for his inspiration, professional harmonica player Jason Ricci, to perform at USF one day.
While USF staff member Erickah Slaughter awed the audience with the rhythm of her poetry and Mike Misischia rocked the keys of the piano, the judges honored the band No Need with the Ultimate Bull title.
Their original song “Why” incorporated their multi-level skill level on their instruments, as well as showcasing just their voices when they sang a cappella at the end. Each member is able to play different roles within the band, but Michael Lebrias mainly plays bass, Sebastian Tenorio and James Harnage play guitar and sing, Kevin Blume plays the drums and sings, and Cody Moor plays the saxophone and sings.
Lebrias is the newest member, but according the Blume, he has already learned close to 50 songs within two months.
As for their songwriting process, there seems to be no competition as to who gets to do which parts.
“We’re at a point where we can just look at each other and know where the song is going from there,” Tenorio said.
Newton shared that the judges determined the winner based off of showmanship, overall performance, talent level, creativity, and whether or not they believed that another student could get on stage at that very moment and perform just as well as the competition.
During the show Newton shared that he thought the competition should have been about the ultimate school due to the large number of impressive talents. He even wouldn’t mind the show being longer next year.
“I kind of lost track of time. I could have been there all night,” Newton said.
Check out the Center for Student Involvement’s Facebook page.