YOUTHphonics, basked in blue lighting, kicked off the opening ceremonies for this year’s Dance Marathon.
YOUTHphonics, a community service a cappella group at UCLA, first performed at dance marathon two years ago. This year, the group sang the national anthem followed by their rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Grant Colin, YOUTHphonics’ co-president and a fourth-year economics student, said the group chose to sing “Imagine” to spread a message of unity, especially because this year’s theme for Dance Marathon is “Connect.” The lyric “and the world will live as one” ties into Pediatric AIDS Coalition’s message as well, Colin said. YOUTHphonics translated two of the song’s lines to different languages.
“We figured that would be a cool way to reach out and make an effort to connect with students or audience members who aren’t native English speakers,” Colin said.
Katie D’Agrosa, a second-year sociology student, said she decided to try Dance Marathon this year to see if she was capable of doing it. She said the YOUTHphonics performance was similar to UCLA in that it represented people coming from different backgrounds and learning to mix their voices together.
Aaron Zender, a second year history student, participated in Dance Marathon for the first time in part because his girlfriend is in PAC. Zender said he thought “Imagine” aligned with the spirit of Dance Marathon in its goodwill and fostering of love and peace.
YOUTHphonics teaches a weekly a cappella class to high school students, so PAC’s message to build a better future for youth connects with the a cappella group’s goals, Colin said.
“A big part of what we do is working with youth and trying to build a better future for young people who don’t have access to the same opportunities that we’ve had,” Colin said.