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CSULB’s Beach Cafe gives students a chance to shine

Students performed all types of genres and acts at the fall semester cabaret.

The+Beach+Cafe+featured+performances+from+various+genres+including+rock%2C+opera+and+jazz.+
The Beach Cafe featured performances from various genres including rock, opera and jazz.

The Beach Cafe featured performances from various genres including rock, opera and jazz.

Sabrina Flores

Sabrina Flores

The Beach Cafe featured performances from various genres including rock, opera and jazz.

Samantha Diaz, Arts and Life Editor

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Students got the chance to enjoy sweet treats and even sweeter performances this weekend at the Beach Cafe. The nights consisted of various performances by students from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in the Daniel Recital Hall.

The event, organized and sponsored by the Cal State Long Beach chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, gave performing arts students a chance to perform any genre of their choice in front of an audience. Guests watched a variety of performance acts ranging from comedy, heavy metal, choir and pop music.

Students, family members and friends made for a lively crowd, filled with cheers and encouragements. One particular act, the comedic song, “History of wrong guys” from the Broadway play, “Kinky Boots” received the most laughs and applause for the night.

“It was beautiful. I jumped at the chance to do it,” said first year undeclared major Rosalin Sahagun who performed the song. “It was kind of scary for me because I didn’t know exactly what was going on throughout [the Beach Cafe]. But actually performing it in front of people, it felt like I was home.”

Sahagun was one of many students who seemed at home onstage. Whether they were performing in a group or solo, all the participants appeared comfortable and at ease in front of the crowd. Students were dancing during their songs, making faces at each other, cheering each other on and running onstage to join their fellow performers during their acts.

All performers had three weeks to prepare for the event, which consisted of one week for sign-ups, one week for auditions and one week for rehearsals all leading up to the big night.

“It’s a great way to kick off the semester,” said Blake Larson, president of the CSULB chapter of the ACDA. “It’s just a great opportunity for people to perform in their genre and what they’re really proud of and what they’re talented in, so it’s a great outlet for the students.”

Larson heads the group that organizes the Beach Cafe each semester, this fall being his first as president. Within the first few weeks of the school year, Larson was in charge of scheduling the auditions, putting together a sound tech team, finding a band from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and running through rehearsals.

Despite the stress that comes with that comes with organizing the Beach Cafe in a time crunch, Larson said that the opportunity presented to the students makes it worthwhile.

“When we’re studying music [at CSULB], it’s typically jazz, choral, opera or classical,” said Larson. “A lot of people have these talents and want to show them off in different genres like pop music or heavy metal … or they just want to go out and do something funny,” said Larson.

Along with giving students an opportunity to perform outside of class, the night also presented a chance to raise money for ACDA chapter members to attend the state conference in March at the University of Illinois, as well as helping to bring in choral directors to do workshops with the music education students. Guests had a chance to participate in a raffle to win coffee baskets or enter a half-and-half raffle, where the winner receives half the money that was raised from ticket buyers.

Helen Rodriguez, first year English education major attended her first Beach Cafe this weekend, and was pleasantly surprised at the diversity in the acts.

“They were incredible. I actually got chills from all of them,” said Rodriguez who heard about the event from a friend. “Everyone is really talented. It was insane, I loved it.”

The night came to a close with a performance of Tom Jones’ “It’s not unusual” by second year vocal performance major Natalie Gonzalez. At the end of her performance, choir members and fellow students ran onstage to join Gonzalez and cheer her on.

While the ensemble of students celebrated the close of this semester’s Beach Cafe, Gonzalez ran down to her waiting family an emotional embrace with her mother while singing to her.

“There’s just an energy that you get from everyone on stage and everyone in the audience and there’s just so much adrenaline and good energy from everyone and it’s just so much fun and exciting every single time,” Gonzalez said.

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