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LC’s Got Talent

Where could you find live versions of Crazy Train, Voodoo Child, Hallelujah, and more on campus? On Saturday, December 8 two dozen students gathered in the Stone Hall Coffee House for songs, poetry, jokes and dancing at “Variety Show” organized by Maxwell Lyttle and sponsored by the Center for Neurodiversity (CN). Sallie Banta, associate director of the Social Pragmatics Program, and Solvegi Shmulsky, CN director, were also in attendance. The purpose of the Variety Show was for students to share a unique skill or talent that might be unacknowledged in the daily work of academics.

Music made up the largest part of the show. Students performed a range of genres including classic rock, pop, hip hop, and holiday tunes. Early in the afternoon, Sam Boorstin (right) was on electric guitar and vocals for Black Sabbath's Crazy Train, Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child, and Eric Clapton's Layla. He was joined by Aidan Killheffer on flute for part of the set.

Songwriter and recording artist Matthew Houston (left) started strong but had to vacate the stage to find speakers. He came back and delivered a successful set of his original beats and rhymes. The songs Happy Daze and Kundalini use metaphor for humorous and difficult parts of contemporary life which are “full uncertainty” like a “maze” or a “cyclone.”  

In a festive break from rock and contemporary pop, Sophie Williams and Mame Diarra AbdurRahman sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and the holiday classic Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Several students performed with recorded music in the background. Anthony Varjabedian (left) sang Nothing Can Hold Me Back, with One Direction playing in the background, and Jonathan "JT" Tauro (right) played the bass to Eva Cassidy’s rendition of the gospel standard Wade in the Water. The kinesthetic performer Annie Ying Gao (right) did a powerhouse dance routine to DeBarge's Rhythm of the Night.

For non-musical variety, Krzysztof Rozycki (left) recited Polish poetry in a creative set that included video clips and a Q and A with the audience who guessed what each poem meant. Finally, the Variety Show featured comedy sets by Jonathan Gerraughty (not pictured) and Justice Cole Knight-Garrison (right). The audience learned about a South Boston Grandmother, pterodactyls, and why Super Mario likes playing with mushrooms (…because he wants to be a “fun-guy”). 

This event was an opportunity for students to see a side of their peers not typically on display in classrooms and groups.  One goal of the Center for Neurodiversity is to create a sense of community by amplifying student strengths, and the “Variety Show” was such an example. If students have ideas for future events, they can reach out to Max Lyttle or another member of the Center for Neurodiversity.

Bottom row (left to right): Justice, Anthony Varjabedian, Max Lyttle, Annie Gao, JT (Jonathan Tauro)
Top row (left to right): Sam Boorstin, Aidan Killheffer, Matthew Houston

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