By Marissa Barbara

On October 2nd, Five Towns College Students were eager to head to the Downbeat to support their friends and watch the highly anticipated first round of the 2019 S.T.A.G.E. Competition. For those unfamiliar with S.T.A.G.E., it is a healthy competition where groups of fellow FTC students showcase their talent alone or with friends in a “battle of the bands” type of format. After each round, students are encouraged to vote for the performers that they enjoy the most, and would like to see move onto the next round.

Round 1 consisted of performances by Wavydollars, Trinity, Obasi Jackson & The Vibe, Jelisa, and Jarmon Williams. There was even a feature performance from last year’s S.T.A.G.E. winner, Arahmus Brown and The Celestial Project. Although Brown’s group wasn’t qualified to be voted into the next round, they still put their heart and soul into their performance and kept the crowd moving with their incredible energy.

Juliette Kealy, who was sitting in the crowd, described Round 1 as, “A great way to see Five Towns students put themselves out there and showcase their talent! I love being able to come down and support my friends! And I’m really looking forward to seeing how round two turns out!”

Kealy went on to say, “Competitions like S.T.A.G.E. are what keeps things exciting on campus.” She mentioned that her favorite performer in round one was Trinity, saying, “I love the sound of her voice. I just think she is so incredibly talented.”

When asked what he liked the most during Round 1, Connor Thomas, who had run sound for the competition said, “S.T.A.G.E. is my favorite live sound event to run. These competitions have such a variety of sound, whether it’s covers of songs or original music. Each person is able to make their music personal to them and you can feel that.”

His response after being asked who his favorite S.T.A.G.E. performance of the night was, “This might be a little biased but my favorite had to be Arahmus Brown and The Celestial Project. They always bring a cool dynamic to the stage. And the mic didn’t feedback when he was in the crowd, so that’s good. I really liked that part.”

Each performer had a lot to bring to the stage, but every competition must have a winner. Coming in first place was Wavydollars, and right behind him, coming in second, was Obasi Jackson & The Vibe.

S.T.A.G.E. Round 2 will take place on Tuesday, October 15th, in the Downbeat from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. All students are encouraged to attend to come and show their support.