One reporter attends the first in-person Night of Acoustics since the COVID-19 pandemic

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, I returned to school in the evening to watch the Night of the Acoustics. It was cold and rainy when I arrived on campus that night. I made my way into the cafeteria, as parents and students filled the seats. I was not sure what to expect, but I guessed it would be similar to a typical school talent show. 

Night of the Acoustics is an SCHS tradition where musicians come out on an arranged night to share their musical talents. Due to COVID-19, Night of the Acoustics has been recorded and posted online for the past two years. For the 2022-2023 school year, College & Career Resource Technician Anthony Butler brought back Night of the Acoustics for in-person performances, the way it had been prior to the pandemic. 

The show opened with freshman Serena Gandhi playing guitar and singing “Until I found You” by Stephen Sanchez. Gandhi set the tone for the show, kicking off with an astonishing performance. 

Following Gandhi were more performances by freshmen who sang, played instruments and continued with covers of my favorite titles. Freshman Anvee Sharma performed “Back to December” by Taylor Swift and sounded identical to the original artist, leaving me in shock. I remember turning to my friends after every performance with my jaw dropped as students revealed their remarkable talents. 

A group of students from the SCHS Concert Choir performed a series of Disney songs. Together, they sang in perfect harmony and added speaking lines into the nostalgic songs, giving it an interactive aspect for the audience. 

To continue with the Disney theme, junior Ella Peterson sang “Colors of the Wind,” by Judy Kuhn. Peterson had strong vocals as she hit astonishingly high notes and sang seamlessly without any instrumentation. 

Later on, SCHS alumni Sean Wainzinger shocked the crowd with a breathtaking performance of “IRobot” by Jon Bellion accompanied by his electric guitar. Wainzinger was able to express the sorrowful song through his tone, translating the emotions to the audience. Later, Wainzinger played a keyboard accompaniment to Butler’s performance of “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi. I had no idea that Butler could sing so well with a wide vocal range.  

My favorite performance of the night was performed by junior Venice Mayor when she sang “She Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles. Students in the crowd were already excited as Mayor stepped onto stage, recalling her past performance in the Filipinx American Student Association presentation. Her familiar voice rang with a gentle and soothing tone as the song began, but as it progressed, so did its strength. At first I was just hearing her voice, but soon the music surrounded me. 

As the show came to an end, Butler introduced the last three performers, who kept the event going during the pandemic. The first two senior girls had beautiful voices, and it was a nice way to bring the show to an end. 

The final act was performed by senior Kaushik Salem. Butler shared an anecdote from the first time he had heard Salem sing. He had been eating Captain Crunch cereal and was so shocked that he dropped his entire bowl. When Salem arrived on stage, Butler began by playing a fast rhythm on the keyboard. I knew that playing the keyboard at a high level was hard, but it was not until Salem opened his mouth that I realized why Butler dropped his Captain Crunch. Salem’s performance was a thrill, and he sang with intense passion.

At first, I was unsure of what to expect while arriving at the Night of the Acoustics, but after my experience, I will be coming again in future years. Butler did a thorough job planning the event and though the audience was small, the talent and passion within the performers was immeasurable. The Night of the Acoustics turned out better than I expected as I initially failed to realize the talented students who roamed SCHS’s halls. It was an unforgettable, inspiring experience and a great way to broadcast student and staff talent.

Check out Night of the Acoustics on our YouTube channel, SCHS The Roar: