It was not hard to find Symposium X the night of March 28. Crowds of Emory students chatted amiably on their way to the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) house, eager for an evening of music and art.
Symposium — an event hosted by campus arts group The Pulse in collaboration with ATO each semester — celebrates the arts by featuring many talented Emory musicians, poets, painters and more.
Throughout the night, a steady crowd moved through the ATO house’s backyard and patio, where several pieces of student art were displayed. Although not all of the evening’s pieces connected to the Pop art theme, Symposium X still proved to be an impressive showcase of students’ artistic talent. The range of mediums featured was especially impressive. Realistic charcoal drawings hung in the back, not far from wood slabs with painted landscapes. From painted jean jackets to murals that hung from the fences, the setup on the patio made it clear that Emory suffers no shortage of imaginative and gifted artists.
Of course, when talking about art in general, it is almost impossible to avoid performance art — which Symposium X highlighted on Friday night. Many of the performing acts involved singing, but there were also a few poets, guitarists and a stand-up comedian.Omar Obregon-Cuebas (21C), the first poet of the night, read a few of his short, abstract poems and set a thoughtful tone for the evening. The audience responded to his lines with approving snaps.
A number of other performances followed: a ukulele medley by Haley Schreiber (20C), a few John Mayer songs from Jason Busby (20C) and an Ingrid Michaelson cover by Talia Green (19C). Naomi Keusch Baker (20C) also took to the stage to perform a stand-up routine, not all of which landed but was nonetheless witty.
One of the highlights of the night was Matt Varraveto (19B), who played electric guitar along with a rock-style backing track. He is clearly talented, but it was his enthusiastic stage presence that really got the crowd going.
The night ended with Neha Gundavarapu (22C), a singer who showed off her belting skills with Ella Eyre’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” a grand finale that blew the audience away.
The Pulse and ATO staff created seamless transitions between the acts — any transitions that took longer than a minute or so were covered with music or vamping from the night’s MC, Brandon Neath (19C). While many had a hard time navigating the crowd between the backyard and the patio, each of the acts were fun and the atmosphere of support and laughter relieved any impatience.
Overall, the team at The Pulse built an engaging setlist with performances that transitioned smoothly throughout the night, and the art lining the patio demonstrated the artists’ well-honed skills. One look at the size and excitement of the crowd told me that I was not alone in having a great time. Perhaps in the future we’ll see even more artistic disciplines represented — dance, film or sculpture, for example. On a campus where students don’t always have the opportunity to see their friends’ artistic talents or demonstrate their own abilities, it is always refreshing to see this variety and quality of student art.
Editors’ Note: Omar Obregon-Cuebas is a member of the Wheel’s Editorial Board and did not have any role in the editing or composition of this article.