October 20, 2020

Soloists rock originals, covers and PowerPoints

Maggie Pakutka (above) opened Student Soloist Night on Friday Nov. 13 with a series of original songs on her accoustic guitar. (Abby Hocking / Photo Assistant)
Maggie Pakutka (above) opened Student Soloist Night on Friday Nov. 13 with a series of original songs on her accoustic guitar. (Abby Hocking / Photo Assistant)

The student soloist night hosted by the College Union Board (CUB) in the Rat last Friday featured four very different sets from some of the College’s most talented students.

Sophomore communications studies major Jake Ehrlich kept the audience intrigued with his original “B.Y.O. ppt. (Bring Your Own PowerPoint).” Dressed in full business attire, the act consisted of a presentation entitled, “The Women of My Early Years: The Ones Who I Made Cry, But Mostly the Ones Who Made Me Cry- K-12.” The 40-minute routine broke down his entire love life in yearly anecdotes, which was driven by his dry humor as well as before and after pictures of all the girls he introduced. Ehrlich was very open about all of his humiliating experiences of rejection, including getting in trouble for threatening to kill a boy just to impress a girl in elementary school.

“I wish I could take full credit for it, but the idea came from my friend David,” Ehrlich said. “He was involved with something similar at his school, and when he told me about it, I knew it would be a great thing to bring to the College.”

Sophomore international studies major Maggie Pakutka opened the night with a set of original songs on her acoustic guitar. Pakutka’s song “Key Guy” told a love story featuring multiple places throughout the College including the Science Complex and Cromwell Hall. The song “Smoke” had a sultry chord progression reminiscent of lounge music, while the upbeat tune “I Wanna Be Your Plans” had a tinge of country. Most entertaining was her last song, an acoustic version of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”

Danny Giovenco, senior communication major, drew the most crowd support of the night. A trio of girls stood at the bar, armed with a sign saying, “We Love You Danny.”

Giovenco sang many popular songs, such as his opener “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 and “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. From the beginning the crowd was enthusiastic, singing and clapping along to his songs. Giovenco also serenaded the audience with “Run,” which was a hybrid of the two versions by Snow Patrol and Leona Lewis.

“Seeing my friends in the audience made me a lot less nervous,” Giovenco said after the show. “I was so happy that they came to watch, so I wanted to make sure I put on a good show.”

Junior English major Rick Cohen closed the night in a surprising twist. Prior to student soloist night, Cohen performed at the Rat in the New Jersey Comedy festival where he was selected as a finalist. When he sat down onstage with a guitar in hand, the audience looked confused. Many believed that he was introducing a new side of his comedy and were satisfied with his opening song, a dry yet scathing tune about his ex-girlfriend

But his next song was a short song about the end of the world. Although Cohen’s songs were comical, there were small nuances of his set that were slightly darker. Right as the audience expected the next verse to a song, Cohen would stop playing.

“I don’t really write songs longer than a minute or two,” he admitted. His carefree stage presence drew more laughs than applause from the small crowd.

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