Students showcase musical talent at Unplugged


Jared May, Div. 860, performs a cover of the song “Everybody Wants Somebody” with his band Theta Days at this year's Unplugged concert. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Pacheco)

By Gilbert Marin, Reporter

The lights in the auditorium dimmed and after a small introduction, the concert started out with a performance by Makeda Duncan of the song “Midnight Drive” with a guitarist accompanying her vocals.

Over 600 students came into the auditorium on Nov. 9. Around 30 acts performed songs for the last three periods of the day at the annual school concert, Unplugged.

Students got to show their classmates their musical talent, some showing it off for the first time.

“It seemed fun,” Jared May, Div. 860, said. “I think I’m good at music, and I wanted to show other people that talent.”

May performed with his band, “Theta Days,” started by junior Karol Skoczen. He had also accompanied a vocalist by playing acoustic.

“Mr. Sweet recruited me for a band that Karol was trying to start,” May said. “The band grew from there.” Theta Days now has five members in the band, and even has a page on Facebook.

The performance from Theta Days was the first performance that incorporated a full band. They performed a cover of the song “Everybody Wants Somebody” by Patrick Stump.

May played the electric guitar, and made the band’s performance stand out with a guitar solo.

Theta Days had a singer, two guitarists (one electric, one acoustic), and a bassist. The band was also the first performance of the concert to have a drummer (full disclosure: I am the drummer in Theta Days), who performed in a hot dog costume, getting a good reaction from the audience.

Mr. O’Brien, Band Director, wishes to continue Unplugged in the future to give students a chance to show their musical capabilities.

“I want to continue giving kids the outlet to show their musical talents,” O’Brien said.

“I’ve been here 17 years,” O’Brien said. “It still blows me away. There’s a wide variety of talent at Lane.”

Many of the acts consisted of a vocal and guitar duo. However, there were solo performances and band performances.

This includes a medley of “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” from the school’s Glee Club and even a rendition of “The Entertainer” by Alejandro Gonzalez on the harmonica.

The first act without vocals was an instrumental of “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix, performed by Sean Trotman and William Oken. Oken played the drums along with the glockenspiel, while Trotman played the acoustic guitar.

This was the first time that Oken and Trotman had performed at Unplugged, “This is my first time,” Oken said. “I didn’t think I had enough experience before. But now that I’ve practiced, I was ready to perform.”

Another performance that stood out was a more traditional performance by Johannes Clifton-Soderstrom of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano.

The audience members were involved in the atmosphere in the auditorium; groups of students from the audience would cheer their friends who performed and every act received an applause.

Some performers encouraged the audience to sing along with them as well, including during Duncan’s second performance, this time singing the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Comiskey ran auditions this year. Around half of the students who auditioned got the opportunity to perform, “About 60 kids auditioned. And from that, about 30 were put into the show,” O’Brien said.

Unplugged is usually sold out, according to O’Brien, but it didn’t sell out this year due to its late start; tickets were only sold the day before the concert. O’Brien said that the amount of tickets sold are “usually double that number.”

The show’s second to last performance was a tribute to Glen Campbell, a famous country and pop artist, performed by Eric Platt and the school orchestra.

O’Brien performed alongside students and other teachers from the music department at Lane, ending the show with the Unplugged tradition of performing “Sweet Home Chicago.”