Varsity night live celebrates campus talent

Eau Claire Homecoming weekend began with performances by UWEC students


Photo by Evelyn Nelson

The Singing Statesmen sing “Black Muddy River” by Bruce Hornsby at the Varsity Night Live showcase. Choral member Sven Johnson was voted into Homecoming royalty that evening.

While Homecoming often celebrates the week leading up to a home football game, the University Activities Commission took a different approach by highlighting student talent all across campus.

Joann Martin, the UAC coordinator, said Varsity Night Live at its core is a student talent showcase the university puts on during Homecoming week.

“It gives students the opportunities to perform for their peers and for the community,” Martin said. “Yes, Homecoming is focused around

football, but it is really a celebration of all of our students and the community so I think Varsity Night Live captures that really well.”

According to the Varsity Night Live lineup, the evening show began at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 11. The event included two acts featuring a variety of student and guest performers.

Jake Arnold, a fourth-year saxophone player of Uncommon Denominator, said the band has played through Varsity Night Live in previous years and enjoys the community coming together for the event.

“(Varsity Night Live) is a cool opportunity to get out and play for our students and to be a part of Homecoming,” Arnold said.

Martin said the talent show program continues to evolve each year through feedback from the community. The UAC attempts to include a balance of new acts alongside others that have performed previously.

“We invited the dance team to open up the show for us, which was different for this year,” Martin said. “Hopefully by seeing them perform, students will be more likely to go to sporting events and see them.”

The lineup was hosted by guest emcee C. Willi Myles, an award winning stand up comedian who introduced each performer throughout the night.

Arnold said the new songs Uncommon Denominator selected for the event elevated the energy both from the crowd and the band members.

“We got the chance to perform Lizzo’s ‘Juice’ which is such a killing song,” Arnold said. “To play it on that kind of stage with the crowd dancing was so cool.”

Martin said although this is her first year in the coordinator position, she hopes throughout the following years the UAC can advertise Varsity Night Live to even wider audiences.

“There are only a few opportunities during the year where community members can come and support student acts and this is one of them,” Martin said. “If we do not get that information out into the community, then how are they supposed to know to come?”

Varsity Night Live concluded with the coronation announcement for Homecoming royalty. Sven Johnson, a second-year from the Singing Statesmen, and third-year Franny Donovan from Oak Ridge Hall took the crown that evening.

Martin said the Eau Claire community makes a big statement by supporting the student acts through this event. She encourages the campus community to become involved either through auditioning to perform or by attending future shows.

“When community members and even peers show up for the students who are performing, it makes a huge impact,” Martin said. “This is a stepping stone for many students and (Varsity Night Live) is just another opportunity to share their talents with our campus.”

Arnold said he most enjoys how events like Varsity Night Live provide an outlet to celebrate and bring people together from all walks of life.

“It is not too often that we get to play for campus events, and to be a part of Homecoming specifically, that brings in faculty, staff, alumni and current students of all ages,” Arnold said. “These kinds of events bring people together.”

To participate in future UAC events, visit the UW-Eau Claire website.

Nelson can be reached at [email protected].