Inspirational quotes by Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and President Barack Obama were projected in the Gonzaga Auditorium while the audience awaited the start of “Night at the Apollo” last Saturday night.  The event not only celebrated Black History Month, but also highlighted the talent at Fairfield University.

Amongst the many influential African American historical figures who were being recognized that night, there was special acknowledgment to three people who passed away in early 2012. There was a page within the program titled “In Honor of the Late Great,” which honored the memories of Etta James, Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston.

“Peace, Love and Soul” was the theme for last Saturday’s 4th Annual Apollo Night, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life.

Dressed in a plaid suit and a cowboy hat, Ian Brown ’14 opened up the night by dancing to “Jump On It” by Sir Mix-A-Lot.  The enthusiastic crowd responded eagerly to the sound of the upbeat music.

A great variety of singing, dancing, poetry-slamming and lip-syncing made up the first six performances of the night, showing the diverse talent amongst students.

Sweet Harmony, the University’s all-female singing ensemble, lived up to their name with their “When I Fall in Love” a cappella.  A guitar and singing duet cover of the contemporary song “We Found Love” followed, along with the song “Just a Kiss” from Fairfield Idol winner Mica Diamond Munn ’15.

Three of the Omega Phi Kappa Fraternity members, also known as the Distinguished Gentlemen, went onstage next.  Before the audience knew it, voices similar to those of Kanye West, Jay Z and American soul singer Otis Redding filled the Gonzaga Auditorium.

Next, Jessica Mendes ’14 poetry-slammed and Crystal Rodriguez ’14 sang to the lyrics of “Fantasize.” The Fairfield University Elegant Ladies, dressed in all black with green ties, finished the first act by dancing, stomping, dialoguing, and acting in their original performance “Elegant, Sexy and Phierce.”

After a short break, a dancing competition took place.  Students danced to popular songs like “Teach Me How to Dougie,”  and the energy came to an all-time high when the audience applauded for their favorite dancer at the end of the competition.

The second act had eight performances and started with the all-men Bensonians’ singing and beat boxing.  Students including Kenny Nwajagu ’13, Jamaimah Omictin ’12  and Rodriguez sang a variety of musical selections that complimented their original voices.

Sarah Krikorian ’14 sang “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer.  “I chose to sing this song because I think it’s about loving yourself and not letting anything get in your way,” Krikorian said after the show. “I just focused on having fun up there.  It was an experience I will never forget.”

The Remixx Dance Team showed off their moves to a mix of songs that made up their number “Taste of Flavor,” and the Distinguished Gentlemen made a second appearance with an ode to their fraternity.

The last performance by Adavia Thornton ’14 and Mendes was a back and forth poetry slam entitled “Dreams Are Illegal.” The two students spoke about facing tough obstacles when attempting to accomplish dreams, and they encouraged the audience to never give up hope during tough times.

The show ended with the inspirational words of Barack Obama: “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

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