Student performers filled the air of the Vandy Cabaret Room with the sounds of acoustic guitars, lighthearted ukuleles, and the words of their original songs for the Singer Songwriter competition on the evening of Thursday. A panel of four judges (Mary Kate DiNorcia, MCAS ’19; Alex Eichler, MCAS ’20; Austin Hord, MCAS ’20; and Stefan Strychar, a member of the band A Modern Armada) convened to choose the top four singers, who will perform at BC’s Best at Arts Fest later this month.
Stavros Piperis, MCAS ’19, kicked off the night with “Till the Morning Breaks,” a building acoustic guitar-driven ballad that allowed the singer to showcase a large range of emotions. He then performed “I Remember,” a song that recalled memories with nostalgic lyrics and included a building guitar solo that evolved to reveal low, vulnerable riffs.
Next up was Nicole Rodger, MCAS ’19, who introduced her first song by warning the audience she was going to slow it down. The singer complemented her soft voice with a steady acoustic guitar riff to create a dreamy tone for her first song. She was joined by her fellow Shady Lady band member Alex Moran, MCAS ’19, who also performed her own pieces later in the night, for the second song. The two harmonized perfectly to convey the longing lyrics of the song.
Little Saturday’s Andrew Hammond, MCAS ’18, exhibited his illustrious range of musical talents in his two song set, using his laptop to keyboard, drum, and autotune throughout. Hammond was accompanied by bandmate Zachary Moelchert, CSOM ’21, who played bass during the “esoteric” first song about trees and the second song, which Hammond introduced as a song “for guys who have girlfriends who ask a lot of questions.” While the subject matters of the songs were relatively irreverent, the musicians demonstrated skill that indicated their seriousness about music.
Building on the lighthearted mood, Alex Waldner, MCAS ’19, took the stage with his ukulele to perform a hilarious song about a reformed college dropout. The audience laughed along as the musician worked his way through bold lyrics like “School told me to f—k off based on the grades I got,” maintaining perfect comedic delivery the whole time.
Jeremy Espano, MCAS ’19, employed his commendable keyboarding skills for “Find Your Way,” an uplifting song with a happy beat and optimistic lyrics. Espano switched to his acoustic guitar for “Take Off Your Shoes,” a love song with busy, upbeat strumming and a chorus that questioned “Why are you so afraid of love?”
Shea Heitz, MCAS ’20, captivated the room with her haunting voice during her two-song set, which included “Fixing Me” and “Framed Pictures.” The singer’s endearment for her two friends to whom the song was dedicated was obvious as she sang the lyric “I thought that I could fix you / But little did I know, you were fixing me” in the former. “Framed Pictures” discussed the transient nature of life over a delicate piano progression.
Mac Porter, MCAS ’21, upped the energy of the room with his Ed Sheeran-esque groovy acoustic guitar riffs and quick lyrical delivery. “Don’t Try,” the singer’s first song, featured fast tempo verses to create a poppy feel while “Too Young To Be Alone” boasted a building chorus to convey the talented songwriter’s heartbreak.
The audience was enthralled by the massive musical talent of Liz McGovern, MCAS ’18. The singer’s effortless, folkish voice filled in slow, acoustic guitar riffs on “How to Leave a Lover,” a song she sarcastically dubbed “one of the happiest songs [she has] ever written.” She closed her brief set with the expertly written “Beautiful Man,” which compares the subject of the sultry song to the work of the world’s best artists.
Joe Malone, MCAS ’21, provided fuzzy alternative rock guitar riffs for the vocals of his friend Tim Fortin, UMass Amherst ’21. The duo drifted through songs about loving and longing and closed their set with “Only You,” a track in which the singer repeated “Wish I could get you off my mind.”
Moran returned to the stage to perform two of her original pieces. “Company” featured mingling acoustic guitar riffs as the skilled singer crooned “I want to be your company for eternity.” Moran was joined by her sister Camille for the second song, in which the two harmonized for the chorus that included lyrics about being invisible to the one you want.
The folkish feel made a reappearance for the two song set of Peyton Spencer, MCAS ’18. The singer’s first song, unofficially dubbed “Gravedigger,” payed homage to the night sky under which she made fond memories. The singer delicately plucked the guitar strings she expertly tuned between songs to create the nostalgic feeling of “4 AM,” a track she joked is only “moderately about Michigan”—a common topic for the songwriter’s work.
Despite their steep competition, McGovern, Piperis, Spencer, and Porter were selected to perform at BC’s Best at Arts Fest.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor