The annual Stompfest was held at the Coulter Recital Building on Western Carolina University’s campus on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The enthralling performance, sponsored by the OES (Organization of Ebony Students), ICA (Intercultural Student Organization), OSLI (Office of Leadership and Student Involvement) and the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council), and hosted by comedian Coco Brown consisted of a contest between the Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta fraternities and sororities. Each participating fraternity or sorority had representatives perform dexterous stomp moves linked with creative and remarkable routines.
Every participating group was judged on originality and style with the fraternity and sorority whose routine was the most noteworthy proving the winner. However, amidst all the revelry and competition there was one key component to the entire show, “unity.” Several students filed in to give a shout-out to their fraternity or sorority and support the performers as they embodied a part of WCU’s pride.
When asked about what he liked best about performing, Rakim Lash, who represented the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in the step show responded, “I loved the unity that I felt with my brothers onstage. I loved the crowd and the feedback, because Western Carolina’s our home, and these are our people.”
The show itself was well put together, and the crowd was impressed with what they saw. Brown did a wonderful job with opening the show and setting the mood. She riled up the audience and cheered on the performers, giving off a light, comedic aura with her side-splitting, witty jokes. Brown gave the impression of a professional comedian, who takes her comedy seriously and has studied all the workings and mechanisms that accompany it, but like all professionals, she made it seem easy and carefree, like she was comfortable onstage. She kept the audience rolling in the intervals between each performance and while the crowd waited for the results of the competition, interacting with the audience, telling jokes that we all can relate to.
Brown said while onstage, “I don’t tell jokes, I tell the truth.”
The presentations the performers put on were well mastered and demonstrated intense preparation and precision. They displayed elaborate costumes, enthralling themes and back stories ranging from church to “Alice in Wonderland” that tied in with their absorbing routines. Dance numbers spanned from stomping in synchronized lines to dancing in random but planned pandemonium. When the performers were questioned about how much work they put into their routines the unanimous answer was “a lot.”
“We met up when everyone had free time and constantly ran over the routine,” said Deshey Briscoe who represented the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
“We started practicing when school started,” said Myia Franklin, who represented the Sigma Gama Rho Sorority. “We also spent some time deciding on a theme; looking for something original.”
Nonetheless, all the effort was rewarding in the end.
Christian Reid who represented the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority declared, “We loved the energy of the crowd, and finally getting to show off our hard work.”
“What I liked best about our performance was being able to do our thing and just have fun with it,” said Kaila Addams who represented the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
The audience was a major component of the show as well. With their constant cheering of the performers, interaction and the positive feedback they gave, the onlookers expressed an intense fondness for the Stompfest.
“I thought it was really good and very entertaining,” said sophomore Shahidah Uthman. “Coco Brown was hilarious, and the routines were amazing.”
The show was immensely captivating and spell-binding, but the most riveting feature of their show was the theme of unity; unity as the Greek Life Organization on campus, unity as Western Carolina students, and most of all, unity as people. The concept that students must come together as people was the sole message that the sponsors tried to convey, and they successfully communicated this implication through the gripping performance they presented.