Varsity Night Live kicked off homecoming weekend

Variety show featured out of the ordinary performances

More stories from Kelsey Smith


Photo by Kelsey Smith

Kristofer Bergh, senior trumpet performance student backstage warming up before Jazz 1 took the stage.

A cappella groups and a magic show and a coronation were both part of this year’s Varsity Night Live, an annual variety show that kicked off UW-Eau Claire’s homecoming weekend last Friday in Zorn Arena.

Varsity Night Live featured the talents of select UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and alumni including performances by:

Jazz 1;

Innocent Men;

Bottle Neck Brass Band;


Boats and Bridges;

Hwa Rang Do;

The Singing Statesmen;

5th Element;


and the Blugold Drum Line.


The show started off swinging with Jazz 1. The musicians encompassed the entire stage and left the audience standing on their feet in ovation.

Junior social work student Sophia Thone said the variety show had high energy and a supportive atmosphere.

Eau Claire theatre arts graduate Ben Seidman, now a Las Vegas resident and magician, proved to the student body that magic does exist during his act, performing tricks that involved a few audience members.

Jesse BaDour, a senior Spanish and Latin American studies student, was invited to the stage and left speechless when Seidman performed his magic trick, she said.

Seidman required BaDour to memorize a page number he spontaneously opened to and asked her to picture a setting from the opening line. BaDour read the page and kept her thoughts to herself.

Somehow, Seidman knew what was on the page BaDour was asked to focused on after she began to picture the scene in her head ships and smoke emissions from a canon was her brief description.

Despite the all-too-real magic performance, BaDour said she still is not sure if she believes in magic.

BaDour also serves as the chair of the UAC Festivals Committee. She oversees the committee and makes sure that all tasks are completed for homecoming.

“Homecoming is such an important event for students because it brings organizations and students closer together,” BaDour said.

In addition to the magic show, a cappella group Innocent Men tackled a few Macklemore hits and Audacious put a twist on the song “In The Long Run,” originally performed by The Staves. Each group made the original songs their own.

Benjamin Gordon, a senior studying German and member of the Bottle Neck Brass Band, said the band’s performance emphasized an emblematic New Orleans style of jazz music. Gordon said he was excited to see the crowd and their reaction.

During the entire evening, Chancellor James C. Schmidt also made an appearance, introducing himself to the audience prior to the show. Not only did Schmidt have on his blue and gold tie, but he also sported blue and gold socks.

“I blocked my whole schedule to be here,” Schmidt said. “The students will forever continue to blow my mind.”