Monday, December 5, 2011

Auditions search for 'Campus Superstar'

Last April, Point Park University student Connor Russell was one of the final 10 contestants to perform in front of friends and family at the Carnegie Music Hall as part of Campus Superstar. His performance, a rearrangement of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," ultimately came up short of the grand prize.
Still the thrill of performing with a live band in front of a large crowd was enough to make the experience memorable for Russell.
"It was really fun and American Idol-esque," Russell said. "You get to find your own style and do what you like."
Just like Russell, this year's contestants have the opportunity to experience the thrill of performing on stage. Point Park students as well as students from all other Pittsburgh area universities are invited to audition for the solo singing competition, which offers a $5000 grand prize.
The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center (JUC) of Pittsburgh hosts the Campus Superstar competition and invites any full-time undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled at a Pittsburgh area college or university.
Auditions are held at three different universities and students can audition at whichever time and location is most convenient for them.
The first audition will be held at Carnegie Mellon University in the Dowd Room on Oct. 23 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Auditions will then be held at Point Park in the John V. Hopkins Auditorium on Oct. 26 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. The final set of auditions is at University of Pittsburgh in Room 540 on Nov. 1 from 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Hillel JUC is a non-profit organization that provides a community for Jewish students on Pittsburgh area campuses. The organization provides programming, events and meals for over 3,000 Jewish students in the area.
Beverly Brinn, director of development at Hillel JUC, said that in addition to serving colleges, the organization wants to celebrate them as well.

"This event in the truest sense of a word celebrates the talent that we have on Pittsburgh college campuses," Brinn said on Wednesday at the Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh.
The competition began at another Hillel JUC in the country, but Pittsburgh's is now the largest Campus Superstar event of any Hillel in the country.
Shira Pik-Nathan, programming intern for Campus Superstar, does many of the preparations for the event as well signing people up.
Pik-Nathan said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon that the competition is a "great opportunity to get out there" and get feedback from the judges.
She also said that the students always get along really well and enjoy working with each other.
"It feels like American Idol, essentially. It's a really cool experience for them," Pik-Nathan said.
Twenty-five semi-finalists will be chosen to compete again on Feb. 19, 2012. From there it will be narrowed down to 10 finalists. The final event will be held on April 1 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.
Russell, a senior musical theatre major, made it to the final 10 last year.
In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Russell said he really enjoyed getting the chance to perform for people but the most rewarding part was seeing all of the other "super talented" people.
"It was really fun getting to meet and work with other finalists," Russell said.
Although those who placed in the final 10 cannot audition this year, Russell still looks forward to the competition.
"I will gladly be cheering on my friends from Point Park," he said.
Published in issue 8 of The Globe on page 7.

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