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Four compete to play in special benefit concert


This is the echoing sound of a popped acoustic guitar string.

“Does any one out there have a G-string? No pun intended,” Steve Swanson, senior philosophy major, asked as he peered through the audience with his, acoustic guitar in hand.

The crowd offered condolences. One guy pointed to a girl next to him and shouted, “This girl’s got a G-string on.”

John Dutton, sophomore math education major, went onstage and gave his guitar to Swanson. “(This) brings a conflict of interest, this being a competition,” he said.

The competition in question involved finding a student to be the opening act for the Derek Trucks Band at the Special Olympics Benefit Concert on Nov. 18. Four soloists competed.

Swanson continued playing, causing stirs in the audience with his original song, “Winner of the Wet T-shirt Contest.”

According to him, it is the parody of the misadventures of him and his friends during spring break this past year in Mexico.

Matt Brinn, freshman history education major, got onstage and started his segment with what Meghan Condran, a judge and senior communications studies major, described as “quirky humor.” He played the Super Mario Brothers theme song electric guitar style and said, “I prepared for the show for about 30 minutes ago so bear with me.”

Stephen Swanson, freshman music major, played the electric guitar; during his time on stage, Stephen played his guitar with it on his head, using different hand placements, kicking up his feet and then playing it against his face.

Kristin Auci, junior communications studies major, and Gabe Alonso, junior marketing major, coordinated the competition at the Rathskellar with an entry fee of $3 which will be donated to the Red Cross.

“I was going to originally have a coffee house but then I heard of what (Auci) was doing and I decided to collaborate with her,” Alonso said.

According to Auci, she publicized through facebook.com, by posting a message on the guitar players group.

Auci is an intern at Princeton Partners, a local marketing company, which, according to her, was looking to reach to the college community by sponsoring the Special Olympics Benefit Concert. “From the beginning of my time at Princeton Partners, it had been planned to find artists from local colleges, depending on where their interns were from,” she said. “Thus, the soloists will come from the College and Rutgers, where the other intern for Princeton Partners attends school.”

“We specifically selected the College not only for its proximity to Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) and the concert venue in New Brunswick, but because of the quality of students they have,” Chris Sullivan, account executive for Princeton Partners, said. “We know this fact from firsthand experience – our CEO and three other employees of ours are Lion alumni.”

Between the four soloists, there was an array of guitar styles. “We were looking for someone who will play a reflection of Derek Truck’s music,” Sullivan said.

The judging criteria included stage presence, originality of music, quality of music and overall performance. All were on a scale of one to five.

After a tough competition, Dutton, with his acoustic songs, was declared the winner.

After verbally accepting the invitation to be the opening act, Dutton looked out at the audience and said, “I didn’t know I had to talk.”

After verbally accepting the invitation to be the opening act, Dutton looked out at the audience and said, “I didn’t know I had to talk.”


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