Guitars strummed, drum sets crashed and harmonies echoed as auditions for Varsity Night Live, a student talent show that is held at the end of homecoming week, took place on Sunday and Monday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena.
University Activities Commission advisor Nicole Rindone said each group or individual had 15 minutes to perform in front of the UAC and homecoming chairs. After all the groups performed, they deliberated Monday and let the selected groups know on Tuesday who would be performing at Varsity Night Live.
General homecoming co-chair Abby Amundson said there were some qualifications on how they chose groups.
“It depends on how many people audition, how much time we have, how much time we’re willing to allocate from each specific group,” Amundson said. “We want as many people as possible. We want to showcase the talent that we have here.”
One group auditioned to try and return to the Varsity Night Live stage. Granite Rose, a rock band formed in October of 2011, performed at the event last year. Lead singer Nick Anderson said playing for UW-Eau Claire students never gets old.
“We love playing for the campus,” Anderson said. “Playing for the students is probably the best just because they’re our own age and like the same kind of music we do.”
The band is taking a break from their busy schedule. They performed every weekend over the summer, mostly at bars, and started to tour in the Wausau area also branching out toward southern Wisconsin.
In the coming weeks, the band is professionally recording a new album. Their first album was released last year. Guitarist Galen Keily said they are excited for it.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Keily said. “We have a lot of new material we’re working on.”
Another student group had a dark moment during their audition as the lights in Zorn unexpectedly went out. Even though it took a few minutes for the lights to return, Girls Night Out never skipped a beat as they kept singing to the unseen judges.
Girls Night Out is an all-female, six member a cappella group. They haven’t had a lot of preparation time, only practicing four times in the past two weeks. Besides Varsity Night Live, they will be performing for the A Cappella Extravaganza that takes place Oct. 4. Member Shelby Brinkman said performing in front of students is great for them to spread the word about their group.
“It would be really cool to get our face out there, especially out of the music people world and get it out elsewhere,” Brinkman said.
Besides experienced groups, there were also some fresh faces at auditions as well. Doks Robotiks is a new band formed only a couple of months ago. The band plays at house parties or by themselves in a living room.
All the members decided to make the band for the fun of it. Auditioning for Varsity Night Live is the first structured event that Doks Robotiks signed up for.
Keyboard player Andrew Bocher said they want people to enjoy their music.
“It’s just great tapping into local Eau Claire talent,” Bocher said. “There’s some really talented musicians here that never get a chance to perform for a crowd. There’s going to be a lot of people at Varsity Night Live, so we just want as many people to enjoy that talent as possible.”