The Magnet Was Meant For Me: Backstage at Magnet Arts Night

by Ashley Yuen '13

“The lights on the stage dimmed. I could feel my heart pounding out of excitement and nervousness. Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" started to play, and my eyes were glued to the five zombie dancers in the center of the stage. The thunder cracked through the speakers, and I crouched beside the rest of my group, getting into character.

"You ready?’"John Shi, another sophomore in the dance, asked me. I nodded. On cue, I leaped onto the familiar stage and looked up at the audience in front of me. This was it.”

On February 4th, the Blair Magnet hosted its 22nd Annual Magnet Arts Night (MAN) show, featuring the diverse talents of current Magnet students. The 18 acts included classical piano and violin, live jazz and rock music, creative dance routines, beautiful vocal pieces, and exciting skits. There was even a surprise appearance from Magnet Computer Science teacher Karen Collins, who sang “Never Leave Harlem Alive.” John Kaluta, Magnet Principles of Engineering teacher, sponsored MAN again this year. “I’ve been sponsoring MAN for the past four or five years,” Mr. Kaluta said. According to him, it “takes a lot of time to organize, but is a very rewarding experience.” However, he was not alone in directing the show: student directors senior Tyler Fultz, senior Hannah Ho, junior Sofi Sinozich, and junior Libby Wei played a big part in the making of MAN. The show proved to be a huge success: teachers, parents, siblings, Blair alumni, and Blazers from all programs crowded the Blair auditorium witnessing fantastic performances put on by fellow Blair students. The Masters of Ceremonies (MCs) were seniors Guodong Fu, Theresa Regan, Quinn Shen, and junior Alice Mukora. They brought just the right touch of humor to keep the audience entertained while the performers prepared backstage. After reminding the audience that Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching, Mukora flatly rejected Fu’s mushy valentine request on stage. The crowd roared with laughter and sympathy. Ai Onda’s “Suggestion Diabolique” was the opening act for MAN this year and set the bar high for the talented acts ahead with her smooth and elegant playing. Next on stage were juniors Ittai Baum, Shiv Kaul, Gabe Koempel, and Julian Lofton playing the song “The Bulletproof Test”. Lofton and Koempel goofily performed the “crab-core” move, where they crouched like crabs to play their guitars, sparking laughter from the audience. Act I progressed with Monica Ly and Jenna Yi covering hits like Far East Movement’s “Rocketeer” on piano and violin in a humorous act entitled, “Neverending Medley”. Ittai Baum performed “The Bird Beneath the Stone” on piano, a self-composed melody. Kevin Chiang, Lorenzo Choudary-Smith, Enoch Hsiao, and Amanda Lee showed off their skillful “diabolo” maneuvers with appropriate flashing lights and upbeat music. Later on, a group of seniors kicked and punched in a comedic “Xiaolin Showdown” skit. The dance routines were just as impressive. Swapnika Bhagvatula, Aanchal Johri, Madhurya Mahajan, Janvi Raichura, Manesha Ramanthan, Millie Shah, Neha Soni, and Tripti Soni danced to Indian tracks in colorful and traditional attire, bringing a needed touch of culture to MAN. Senior Grace Wang gracefully floated across the stage with flamboyant feather fans in customary Chinese apparel, dancing a traditional folk dance. I took the stage at the end of Act I with a group of students dressed as zombies dancing a modern twist on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”During the short intermission, attendees browsed through the amazing artwork lining the walls outside the auditorium consisting of drawings, paintings, and photographs created by fellow Blazers. The Silver Six Combo brought energy to the stage in their rendition of “Night Train” as the first performance in Act II. Next, seniors Savannah Cheo and Billy Griffis danced in sync to Chris Brown’s “Superhuman”, telling a sweet love story with their movements and even raising “aw”s from the audience when Griffis pecked Cheo on the cheek. The show continued with Wootton junior Clara Hung and senior Libby Wei’s outstanding harmonization in “Officially Missing You”, Eva Albalghiti’s charming ballet routine inspired by “Paquita”, Caroline Borders and Tyler Fultz’s passionate voices in “Heartless” with Tripti Soni on drums and Michael Strautmanis on guitar, and a cover of Japanese song “Bad Apple” with juniors Eszter Offertaler on violin, Kathryn Waychoff on trumpet, and Colleen Weatherwax on piano. MAN rounded out with Blair’s InToneNation singing an a cappella version of “For The Longest Time”. MAN ended with the much-anticipated Senior Act. Nineteen magnet seniors (Omar Ahsan, Brian Clanton, Alex Contreras, Andrew Das Sarma, Andrew Gibiansky, Grace Hummel, Alex Huntress-Reeve, Justin Kanga, Lev Krayzman, Amanda Lee, Wenting Ma, Lisa Ma, Trina Quabili, Theresa Regan, Manisha Sarkar, Quinn Shen, Emily Shih, Grace Wang, Raina Zheng) put on a musical-like performance starring Theresa Regan as she progressed as a Magnet from freshmen to senior year. Seniors broke out in song with parodies of hits such as Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” while Andrew “Shirley” Das Sarma did his famous imitation of Magnet chemistry teacher, Mr. Pham.

At the end of the Senior Act, all the seniors in the audience were invited to the stage one last time. They sang to the tune of Lion King with the lyrics adapted to the theme, “The Magnet Was Meant For Me.” Their final Magnet Arts Night would indeed be a memorable one.