By Emma Arnesen
On Friday, May 8, at midnight, Lawrence University’s Slam Poetry Club (SPC) presented its Indie Artists Showcase. As one of the club’s first all-campus events, the showcase promoted individuals to inspire, connect and express themselves through spoken word and musical talent. Held in the Esch-Hurvis Studio in the Warch Campus Center, the showcase presented a diverse group of students along with guest performer Monica McIntyre. All shared their love for spoken word and music with the audience.
The genre of poems and compositions presented ranged from original works to creative renditions of popular music hits. All of the pieces were unique to the different artists, especially those that were original works. These added individuality and personality to the performance. Sophomore Guilberly Louissant performed an original poem, as a tribute to his grandmother, that addressed Haitian oppression by colonization. Louissant’s strong connection with his heritage and the people of Haiti was expressed through his passionate verses and repeating line, “When I die, this land is for you.”
Junior Colby Lewis performed some of her original pieces with the accompaniment of guitar and piano. One of these pieces, “Lost Together,” was a song written and composed in high school. She performed this on the guitar along with her original lyrics. The soft acoustic melody and unique chords brought out her creativity and individuality. Her second piece was performed on the piano and demonstrated her dedication, passion and musical talent.
SPC invited cellist and songwriter Monica McIntyre as guest performer to present some of her original pieces. Inspired by Eastern sounds and reggae-style music, New Orleans born McIntyre played an electric cello while performing “Conjurer.” As she described, the music was supposed to conjure up something different for everyone. The various sounds she made by sliding her hand up and down the fingerboard, repeating chords and an echoing voice gave the piece a very surreal and almost ethereal nature. McIntyre was accompanied by co-founder of SPC Tierra Masupha in a freestyle piece. Even though it was improvised, the piece highlighted both performers’ passion for spoken word, musical talent and creativity.
Freshmen Sam Bader and Mauranda Owens also performed a couple duets at the showcase. While they had started collaborating on songs at the beginning of the school year, Bader explained that they had never performed the songs on stage before.
“It was hard to squeeze in rehearsal time … but we were able to put together the songs in a rehearsal on the same day of the performance,” Bader noted. After participating in this SPC event, he stated, “One valuable thing I learned is that these types of events are needed on campus.”
With the many talented students at Lawrence and different gifts unique to each person, student organizations like SPC encourage others to inspire, connect and express themselves through different forms of art and music.
“All I could think about when I was sitting through each performance was the passion from all of the performers,” Bader added. True personality and creativity is expressed through these individual performances. As Owens and Bader both agreed, events like this are “healing for the soul” and help renew an appreciation for human expression through the arts.