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by Jermel Quillopo, staff writer

Hundreds of HPU students at the Hawai‘i Theatre can only mean one thing, HPU’s talent show, “Da Freakshow.” First place honors for this year’s event, held March 16, went to the HPU RAs, a group of residence hall advisors. According to Director of Residential Life, Beth Muaina, 775 people packed the historic theatre to watch 15 acts that ranged from band performances to dance and sign language.

The festivities, co-sponsored by the Office Student Life and Residence Life, started at 6 p.m. with free food and drinks. One of the more popular food booths served students KC’s Original Waffle Hot Dog. It was supervised by Dayton Asato whose parents owned the famous KC’s Drive In on Kapahulu Avenue, which closed in April 2005. The talent portion of the event was hosted by HPU graduate student, Anthony “Quadzay” Marlin, whose standup comedy entertained the audience throughout the event.

The first act was The Big Show, a band composed of Chad-Joshua Ayson, Marty Borja, Wesley Chong , Jeff Domingo, Jason Figgeroa, Phil Hightower, Jeffery James, Kenton Koga, Michael Kiese, and Shay Marcello. Playing instruments such as the saxophone, French horn, trumpet, and bass, the group also sang a capella.

The next act, Sedated Nation, included March Holyoak, Micah Kamoe, Daphne Morlane, and Lauren Stevens, who rocked the house with their alternative style of music while the audience jumped and clapped along. They were followed by Mike Alderette, Jameson Froom, Patrik Hjelm, and Vincent Tsushima, who made up a group, called Mad Manapua and entertained the audience with energetic heavy metal music.

Scott Lopez performed a solo song called “While My Ukulele Gently Weeps,” accompanying himself on a ukulele specially shipped from Maui for the show. The group The Hamo Boys included Rapture Pagaialii and Finesti Taimasa, who received a rousing endorsement in the form of a chant by members of the Samoan Club before their performance of an their own original song called “A Life with You.”

Ian Besmond and Kevin Pemberton also played Besmond’s original song, written when he was 16, “C-minor Blues.” Besmond accompanied the song on the piano and Pemberton played the guitar.
Other solo vocal performances included Fretchie Villahermosa singing Oleta Adams’ 1991 hit “Get Here,” while the audience showed support by waving lighted cell phones in the air. Jackson Eustrom performed an a capella rendering of “Walking in Memphis” by American singer-songwriter Marc Cohn. Jasmine Pelen Vergara sang the soulful R&B “Before You Walk Out of My Life.”

Solo dance performances included Kristina Perez dancing a combination of ballet, jazz, gymnastics, and hip-hop to “Serious to Fun,” while Christy Decker performed to Celine Dion’s, “If That’s What It Takes,” using powerful facial expressions and American sign language gestures to reinforce the song’s emotions.

First-place-winning HPU RAs dressed up as nerds and danced to a song called “A Million Ways” by Ok-go. The group included Megan Blaine, Nicole Dragisics, Carli Masik, Matthew Mclean, Alexander Sterling, and Martin Valdez. They chose their name because the are all resident assistants at the Hawai‘i Loa campus. The HPU RA’s

Second place went to Leilani Soon, who took home $300 for her dance rendition of “Power of a Dream” by Celine Dion. Soon combined hula and ballet with American sign language. Angel Husher won third place, taking home $200 for singing “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.

Judges for the talent show were Marites Fiesta, Dean of Student Life and director of First Year Programs; Jill Merl, academic advisor; John Fleckles, senior vice president of Academic Affairs; and students Ben Schuler and Tekla Weiterman. The judges rated each performance on a 25-point system which included categories of technicality, audience response, and performance ability.
Merl thought that being a judge was a lot of fun. All the judges had their own ballots, she said.
“ But we could not see what each judge scored because it was so dark. However, when the winners were announced, we knew that all of us were pretty in sync,” said Roberta Husher, mother of third-place winner Angel Husher. She enjoyed the show because of its variety.

“ It was fun to see. Many talented people came to show their stuff,” said Husher.

The RAs enjoyed the show too. “It was exciting and fun. It was a team effort,” said HPU RA member Valdez. “The group watched a video on the youtube.com Web site. They started their practices in classrooms around January and learned the dance in three days,” Valdez added
Valdez explained that the hard part about the routine was making it conform to six people, since the original dance consisted of only four. When they heard they had won, the RAs all yelled “$83.33,” symbolizing the split of $500 between six members.

“ The people who won deserved to win,” said travel industry management major Ofelia Bumangalg.
The HPU RAs’ performance can be seen on youtube.com with the keywords: freakshow first place.





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