The spotlight wavers for a brief moment before settling on center-stage. With what appears to be two strings slung over his shoulder, Paul Cho ’18 appears from behind the curtains and walks with gusto into the light. As soon as he does, the entire auditorium is enveloped in darkness. This is not a technical accident. In a split second, Cho’s strings turn into colorful instruments known as “poi balls” and “glowsticks,” and the performance begins.
“I started practicing flow arts, which is the general term for poi/glowstringing, during summer camp,” said Cho. “It was the norm of the camp culture, and also good arm and midsection exercise.” The unusual and visually stunning performance had the audience fixated, as colorful green and blue lights streaked across a dark stage. “I don’t really practice flow regularly, so the Talent Show was a motivator to do it again. And when I swing my poi in school, it just doesn’t look right since there’s always a light source. The Talent Show was my way of showing what I really use them for — how I can move them in the dark.”
This year’s talent show included many different kinds of performances. There were several piano acts. For example one student pianist, Vicki Zheng ’21, played the simple yet beautiful piece “River Flows In You.” “Piano isn’t exactly a ‘talent’ as it does not come easily to me, but I’ve been playing it for seven years now, so I learned that working hard pays off,” said Zheng. “I decided to play in the talent show because it is a wonderful chance to showcase the product of this hard work.” Another student, Joshua Cho ’21, played the piano while singing “One” by Ed Sheeran. “I started playing piano when I was seven, and started singing in middle school,” said Cho. “I played piano in a band, and started singing for fun while we were jamming, and it came naturally for me so I kept practicing.”
Solo singers also graced the stage and stole the hearts of audience members. Jean Namgung ’20 sang Beyonce’s “Listen,” and wowed the audience with her powerful voice and presence. “I’ve been singing my entire life and it was my sister that got me to love it,” said Namgung. “My sister and I would sing at the top of our lungs in the car while my parents drove. We knew the lyrics to every Disney and Hannah Montana song, and soon, singing just became an everyday part of my life.” Fellow Talent Show performer Cole Tarrant ’19, who shook the audience with an emotional rendition of “XO” by singer-songwriter Eden, revealed a similar backstory. “I started singing along to songs in eighth grade, just for fun like most people do,” said Tarrant. “But it wasn’t until people started telling me that I had a really good voice that I wanted to get better. I’ve never taken vocal lessons or anything– it’s just something I’ve practiced every day.” His performance truly demonstrated the payoff of such practice.
“We knew the lyrics to every Disney and Hannah Montana song, and soon singing just became an everyday part of my life.”
The Talent Show is one of many student performances that take place annually at Bronx Science, yet it is special in that is unaffiliated with any specific club or department. Around springtime each year, the colorful posters go up advertising the show. They go up quickly and quietly. The subtler preparation period of the Talent Show compared to other performances certainly serves to pack a punch on performance day. Many unsuspecting audience members who come to see ‘a friend’ are pleasantly surprised by not only that friend’s talent, but also the unexpected stage appearances of other students. “Even the participants were really impressed and assured each other that we would do well,” said Paul Cho, attesting to the supportive environment. “I enjoyed how personal it was for everyone, because most people who came to watch were friends,” added Joshua Cho. “It felt like a laid-back, yet really meaningful, event.”