Thursday, May 23, 2024

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

IN THE NEWS:

USAC Elections 2024SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLA

‘What unites us all’: UCLA, USC battle it out in beatboxing talent showcase

Team Bruins holds an engraved plaque following its beatboxing victory. The student organization Beatboxing Bruins hosted a rivalry beatbox battle against USC in the Northwest Campus Auditorium on Saturday night. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Maya Rego

March 5, 2024 12:47 a.m.

This post was updated March 5 at 8:14 p.m.

Beatboxing Bruins arranged a night showcasing multiple musical modalities.

The student organization hosted an event Saturday evening at the Northwest Campus Auditorium, in which students from both UCLA and the University of Southern California took to the stage for a beatboxing battle that featured a wide variety of musical performances. The night commenced with an immediate dive into the sonic specialties of those present, with special guest performances from two of the night’s judges, professional beatboxers known as DJ Executioner and Paradox Beatbox. Following their performances, fourth-year theater student and host Preston Schoenherr delivered opening remarks and briefly explained the rules of the competition. For the first round, he said only half of the beatboxers would proceed. Ultimately, Schoenherr said whichever team won the majority of one-on-one battles in the final round would take home the prize.

“Best two out of three, that team will take home the gold,” Schoenherr said. “I don’t know if we have gold, … but they will win a very incredible spiritual victory for their team.”

[Related: Beatboxing Bruins voices goal to create community for present, future beatboxers]

Schoenherr then proceeded to invite all 12 competing beatboxers up to the stage. Laughing, he asked them all to simultaneously introduce themselves, which resulted in a chaotic choir of Trojan and Bruin voices filling the auditorium. A quick introduction from the teams’ respective captains, second-year chemistry student Donovan Southall for the Bruins and Justin Lou for the Trojans, led to Schoenherr asking both to provide their best imitation of a snarling tiger, the first competition of the night.

Rounding out the judges’ performances was Nimitz Beatbox, whose experience within the beatboxing community has spanned over a decade. She heightened her stage presence by incorporating heavy levels of eye contact, hand gestures and audience interaction into her set. The climax of her performance, a string of sounds emulating both the score of a science fiction movie and ’90s hip-hop, was met with resounding applause from the audience. At the end of her performance, Schoenherr joked about his lack of knowledge in the beatboxing world when compared with those who dedicate their careers to the genre.

“I’m super out of my depth here tonight, guys,” Schoenherr said. “If beatboxing is an art, then I’m a STEM major.”

Bruin and Trojan beatboxers participate in a freestyle session on stage. President of the Beatboxing Bruins, Maxwell Tsao said though they battled, the artform is what ultimately brought the two teams together. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Bruin and Trojan beatboxers participate in a freestyle session on stage. President of the Beatboxing Bruins, Maxwell Tsao, said though they battled, the artform is what ultimately brought the two teams together. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

The conclusion of Nimitz’s performance marked the beginning of round one. The rival schools were allowed six representatives, each of whom would freestyle for 90 seconds as an ominous timer ticked ahead on the screen behind them. Representing UCLA, the six members of Beatboxing Bruins selected to perform were fourth-year psychobiology student Timothy Jeong, first-year doctoral student Henry Rain Liu, fourth-year marine biology student John “moose” Velez, third-year astrophysics student Sparsh “BeatyBoy” Vashist, Southall and third-year cognitive science student Connor Xu.

Throughout the first round, audience interaction was heavily encouraged. At the start of each performance, members in the crowd would countdown alongside Schoenherr before yelling “Beatbox!” to mark the start of an artist’s set. The audience was divided based on school allegiance, with cheers and boos emanating from one section for the Trojans and the inverse for the Bruins. Another interaction that garnered the audience’s response was between Schoenherr and Team Trojans’ Amare “Slimeafro” Askerneese, in which Schoenherr asked Askerneese the origins of his stage name. To the dismay of the crowd, Askerneese relayed how a girl had once touched his hair after being out in the rain all day and noted its slime-like texture.

[Related: The student-founded UCLA Game Music Ensemble celebrates its 10-year anniversary]

After 12 complete freestyle performances, the judges took to their chambers backstage to begin deliberating which three performers from each school would make it to round two. Fortunately for the antsy crowd, more musical acts had been arranged to take center stage until the verdicts had been reached. Among them was Maxwell Tsao, fourth-year computer science and economics student, who sat at the helm of organizing the event as president of Beatboxing Bruins. Before commencing his performance, Tsao quipped about the sheer toll planning the night had taken on him.

Following the president’s guest feature, two members of The Trojan Men a cappella group took their spin at the beatboxing genre. The duo claimed they had only formed the subgroup for the competition itself, and save for a round of applause, they would disband once the clock struck 9 p.m. Representing the UCLA a cappella community was Pitch, Please!, a co-ed group that performed a mashup including Ethel Cain’s “Family Tree” and Tears for Fears’ ’80s anthem “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The group also performed the more recent hit “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers and My Chemical Romance’s punk rock track “Famous Last Words.”

Co-ed Bruin a cappella group Pitch, Please! performs on stage. Its mash-up included tracks from Phoebe Bridgers and My Chemical Romance. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Co-ed Bruin a cappella group Pitch, Please! performs on stage. Its mash-up included tracks from Phoebe Bridgers and My Chemical Romance. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Out of the six Bruin performers, selected to advance were Liu, Velez and Jeong, competing in the first, second and third place spots, respectively. The format of the second and final round differed from that of the first. The two beatboxers chosen by the judges in each slot were to perform right after each other, an imitation of beatboxing battles from the ’90s and early 2000s. Each artist freestyled for one minute before passing the mic off to their competitor, who then performed for a second minute. Contrary to the individualized setup of round one, each beatboxer was forced to interact with their fellow competitor, making it a point to use their physical space.

As the judges gathered once more to evaluate the work presented before them, the final act of the night took to the stage. USC’s The Trojan Men, the university’s only all-male a cappella group and alleged recipients of a social media interaction with the restaurant chain Chili’s, wooed the crowd with a variety of songs. Among them were millennial throwback “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne and doo-wop classic “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts. The group also performed a mashup of Elvis Presley songs, accompanied by sunglasses, tuxedos and some Presley-esque dance moves.

“Any Jacob Elordi fans? Austin Butler?” said Daniel Marable, a member of The Trojan Men, before being met with a handful of shouts. “You guys are going to enjoy this next one.”

USC's all male a cappella group, The Trojan Men, perform a series of songs while dressed in black suits. Its set included a mix of Elvis Presley songs accompanied by dance moves inspired by the musician. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
USC’s all male a cappella group, The Trojan Men, perform a series of songs while dressed in black suits. Its set included a mix of Elvis Presley songs accompanied by dance moves inspired by the musician. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

After emerging from their final deliberations, the judges announced the winners, as well as the audience-voted favorite. Liu and Velez both prevailed in their battles, securing an overall win for the Bruins against their crosstown foe. The entire group then joined the stage, where it was presented with a large plaque cementing its victory and individual miniaturized ones as well. Liu was also given a mesh neon security vest, as he was elected the audience favorite by those who voted in the crowd. On the USC side, Lou won the best overall performer as chosen by the judges and thus was awarded a pink cowboy hat. The night closed triumphantly as the audience delivered a final round of applause to all the artists of the evening.

“We fought, and then we all came together in the end,” Tsao said in regards to the success of the show. “Because really, what unites us all, is that we are all beatboxers.”

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
Maya Rego
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Apartments for Rent

WESTWOOD VILLAGE Large 1BR 1 Bath $2,700 (includes 1 parking space). ONLY TWO LEFT!!! Available July 1 and September 1. Beautifully landscaped courtyard building, laundry room, pool, elevator, subterranean garage. 691 Levering Avenue leveringheights.com (310) 208-3647

More classifieds »
Related Posts