[Shelby Loasby | Print Editor]
Thursday, March 5th, saw the Herts SU Mixed Bag Society hosting their very own Herts’ Got Talent night in the Comet Room at de Havilland campus. Over 135 people took part, showcasing their own societies’ talents and showing the large audience of students, friends and family what the university has to offer.
Tinith Pitakandage, chairperson of the Mixed Bag Society, explained that they started organising the event after re-freshers fair, and “were hoping to bring societies together and make a platform for students to show their talents in every form, and not in any competitive manner.” He also said,
“We wanted to give all our fellow societies an opportunity to promote themselves and gain recognition for their talents.”
Current elected officers, President Gurpreet Singh, and Vice President of Student Activities, Bella Colafrancesco, were the Judges alongside Student Advice and Support Manager, Anwar Azari. After each six acts, the judges revealed their thoughts and comments, leading up to the finale where the winner was announced.
The night kicked off with a buffet of asian foods in the Atrium, ranging from noodles and rice to curries and unusually green desserts. The Society wanted to cater food from different countries and ordered through various outlets included Sambol Express, Asher & Debby foods and Chinese caterer in Hatfield. The food was a success, and whilst some people had their heads blown off by the spice, they thoroughly enjoyed trying new things. Once everyone had finished eating, they walked over to the Comet Room. Whilst this seemed like ‘effort’ at the time, it meant that people could work off the food they just consumed.
The talent show began around 8pm with UnionTV Director, Matt Creasey (#MattCreaseyUnionTV), presenting. After an introductory promotion video from the Mixed Bag Society, the first act, The Musicians’ Society, took to the stage. They performed their own compositions of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and the James Bond theme. Conductor and Chairman of the society, Liam Richards, even brought along a martini glass and a toy gun to complete the look. The Musicians’ Society performed again later on in the night, showing off their talents. They played the Star Wars and Mario theme tunes, appealing to all different members of the audience. Judges described the Society as professional and of a high standard. Colafrancesco went on to say that they looked like a “fantastic society to be a part of.”
The next act was the Salsa Society. Full of energy and talent, the large dance group completed their well choreographed routine to some fantastic Salsa music. Azari commented that the society were “hard workers, passionate and on point.”
Next up was singer, Nikhil Samuel. He performed some operatic songs, including a number from Les Misérables. Samuel’s impressive voice filled the room and even sent shivers down Colafransesco’s spine. Unfortunately, the foam letters that spelt out ‘Herts’ Got Talent’ that were attached to a curtain on the stage, began falling off during Samuel’s performance – he carried on professionally, however, as a malfunction like that is always at risk of happening.
The next two acts were the Malayali Society and singer, Rushini Godakanda. The Malayali Society gave an energetic dance performance, giving the audience a taste of their culture, whilst Godakanda performed a native song. Whilst slightly nervous at the beginning she soon grew in confidence and produced an elegant performance. The judges were impressed by the effort and organisation that had gone into both acts.
After a short break, the next act were up; the K-POP dance group. They put on an entertaining performance, showing the audience just how hard they had worked.
The Ukulele Society followed with their rendition of Keane’s “Somewhere only we know.” Each member played their own ukeles, whilst one of them sang. It was a flawless and relaxing performance, showing the hard work and dedication that each member puts in.
Vihara Prabodani was next. Similar to Godakanda, she sang a native song, with elegance and class. Pavithri Godakanda also performed later on in the night, again singing a song that reflected her culture. All three women received positive feedback from all the judges, and each put on a nice relaxing act to have in between the fast-paced dance acts.
The Hip Hop Dance Society were next. Two men came out and blew the audience away with their dance and body-popping skills. They performed their routine as a type of dance off with each other, showing just how talented the two of them were. Colafrancesco expressed just how amazing and tight their act was.
Bhangra Society followed with another group dance act. Azari loved their outfits, with the men dressed in skirts as well as the women, and applauded them on their sheer energy and commitment that had gone into the act.
The next act was something a bit different. Band, ‘Nada bout’ U, was complete with lead singer, Dexter Lee, and his friends on guitar and an electronic drum pad. The band performed ‘Cough Syrup’, ‘Let it go’, and Maroon 5’s ‘This Love.’ They had the crowd singing and clapping along and did well to entertain. Azari was impressed by their efforts and simply said, “Three people, a lot of noise!”
Ballet Dancer, Josephine Tiew, came on next. Singh described her as graceful and elegant and was pleased to see something different in the ‘mixed bag’ of talent.
Following on, Matt & JDeep took to the stage. The band was made up of three men all playing different types of guitars, including an electric, acoustic and sitar. The performance was atmospheric and slowly built up to an explosion of sounds. Azari described how the song had taken him on a journey, from “putting me in the clouds, to taking me across the world, and ending up in Eric Clapton’s living room.” One Student, William Ahmed, described the performance as “Bhangra music meets Pink Floyd.” It was an outstanding act.
Although a tough act to follow, the Salsa (Bachata) Society were not phased. Made up of dancers Terpsie and Adam, the salsa duo put on a charismatic and saucy salsa dance. Colafransesco described them as having “amazing chemistry”, comparing them to her little but decent knowledge of strictly come dancing.
The Bollywood Dance Society were next up. Although there had been plenty of dance acts throughout the night, they still stood out with their unique, diverse and energetic performance. Singh loved the variety of dance moves and found it to be “very enjoyable.”
Up next was the Sri Lankan Society. Members had put together a band, made up of three men and their guitars. They performed popular songs, which the audience found more than appealing. Azari expressed that “they should own their own bar in Ibiza, playing chilled out music.” He went on to say, “I could even see them in somewhere like Abbey Road studios jamming out.”
Bboy Society followed with a fast-paced dance routine, complete with breakdancing, body-popping and a variety of street dances. Colafransesco explained how entertaining they were and how impressive their dance skills are.
Next up was Shwetha Joshy. She performed a Baratha Dance on her own, reflecting her culture. The judges noted that it was classical performance that needed a lot of training and precision, and congratulated Joshy on her skills.
The next two acts were musicians/singers, Saeed Musty and his band, and STYLEE B. Musty and his band presented two songs he had written himself; ‘Blind’ and ‘Lost at Sea’. Azari compared them to an old band, Tunde and the Lighthouse Family, and loved the style of music they played. STYLEE B put on a slightly different performance, with one song that saw him singing to and holding Colafransesco’s hand, and the other he had written for his mum. Both songs had the deteriorating crowd on their feet and swaying their arms. Colafransesco said she loved the personal connection he had with his songs, and was glad he had taken ownership of his genre of music. She also added that she “didn’t know where to look”, when STYLEE B got up close and personal with her.
Last but not least, was the Mixed Bag Societies performance. They finished the night off with a bang, showing off their choreographic skills, dancing talent and sheer energy. Some members of the Mixed Bag were also members of other acts that had performed so it was even more impressive to see them remembering routines and working well as a dance group.
The night ended with a few words from the Judges about how amazing the event had been. Anwar Azari explained that the night had shocked him. “It’s such a surprise to see this amount of talent.” He said, “You walk around campus all day and you don’t know what is hidden behind people’s faces.”
He went on to say that it was the most successful get-together for a while and that it allowed “an exposure of cultures. It’s absolutely a MIxed Bag.” He said. “Lot’s of hard work. I used to be a dancer so I understand the amount of organization , money, costumes, design and sweat and tears that has gone into this.”
Singh also added a few words, “We see societies doing a whole lot of activities and to see what everybody gets up to is amazing. Everyone needs to carry on doing the fantastic job they are doing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I’m glad to see there’s a whole lot of talent at Hertfordshire.”
Singh then revealed that the winner of the Commendation prize for Herts’ Got Talent was the Bollywood Society for their amazing performance.
Colafransesco then had the job of announcing the overall winners. She first thanked Creasey and the rest of UnionTV for filming the event (which you can find at youtube.com/tridentmediauk). She also added that “The Mixed Bag Society only got affiliated two months ago, so it is a fantastic achievement to put on an event that early.”
She then revealed that the winner of the award for best performance were Matt & JDeep for their musical maturity and enchanting performance.
Whilst the night had been heavily influenced by the middle eastern and Asian cultures, there was still such a large variety of people coming together and showcasing their talents. The Mixed Bag society had worked so hard to produce such an amazing night of high quality performances.They told Trident Media that they are hosting “Face of UH” in a couple of weeks, and are hoping to host a sports day and cricket festival in the summer. So watch this space!