Always. Almost literally.
It is a very rare night during the school year when at least one performance, exhibit or gathering of one kind or another isn’t scheduled in one of our facilities. (The college does quite well given that it was built in the 50’s and is in need of serious infrastructure upgrades and remodeling of classroom and laboratory spaces.)
More and more frequently in looking at our calendar the question isn’t which event to attend. It’s HOW MANY to attend. On any given night, two or more stellar events at various campus venues can be vying for our attention.
Such was the case on May 6th when some of our most crazy-talented BCers were showing their stuff in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center Indoor Theatre stage as part of the final round of The World’s Got Talent Show, hosted by the International Student Organization. Thank you Shohreh Raman! Meanwhile, just footsteps away in the center’s Outdoor Theatre, family and friends gathered to honor 2015 BC graduates at the beautiful Chicano/Latino commencement ceremony.
Getting emails like this one from BC Criminal Justice faculty member Pat Smith brings it all home…
“I attended the talent show last night and brought a friend of mine who is also a BC graduate and a retired probation officer. I must tell you that I was so proud of our college students who showed off their talents on stage. It was quite fun and so entertaining.
My alumni friend had not been on the campus lately and was impressed with the indoor and outdoor theater upgrades. She expressed how wonderful BC looked at 100 years old and as we peaked down at the Hispanic commencement that was still going on, she was in awe of the outdoor theater upgrades and stated BC should have more concerts for the public and bring Mentu Buru and jazz artists. I mentioned there were two recent concerts, but she was not aware of them. She stated she wants to support BC more after seeing the wonderful campus upgrades…I am so proud to be a Renegade!”
Despite having so many talented students, only one could win it all — and a big congratulations to BC freshman Tristen Bangi for taking home the title with her amazing vocal performance. The 18-year-old kinesiology major made it to the finals with knockout renditions of Broadway hits “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and “On My Own” from “Les Miserables,” then took home the trophy with a bravura diva turn on the Barbra Streisand classic “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”
While the talent show was going on inside, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house outside as hundreds came out to celebrate the success of our 2015 Chicano and Latino graduates at an intimate, heartfelt commencement ceremony.
The bilingual ceremony gives the Spanish-speaking family and friends of our Chicano and Latino students the chance to share in the pride and achievement of our amazing graduates. Thank you Corny Rodriguez and Joanne Acosta and the rest of the team for organizing the event.
And a word of advice to anyone attending the ceremony in coming years — bring tissue. Because it’s impossible not to get emotional hearing stories of perseverance and joy from students who often had to overcome so much just to see a day like this become a reality.
Don’t take my word for it — just watch this fantastic video below from the ceremony by BC videographer supreme Manuel de los Santos. Manny, u r the best!
A truly magical night on this truly magical campus…
Tagged: Barbra Streisand, chicano commencement, Chicano/Latino Commencement, corny rodriguez, Defying Gravity, Don't Rain on My Parade, Funny Girl, International Student Organization, Joanne Acosta, Les Miserables, Manuel de los Santos, On My Own, Pat Smith, Simonsen Performing Arts Center, Tristen Bangi, Wicked, World's Got Talent Show