Class of ’13 Vies To Show Talent

Crimson Key Society aims for more diverse lineup in tonight’s show


Over 40 hopeful freshman students showed off their skills in front of a panel of judges throughout three days of auditions, which will culminate in the Freshman Talent Show this evening.

Hosted by the Crimson Key Society, the show will feature approximately a dozen student performances, according to D. Patrick Knoth ’11, the co-coordinator of Freshman Week.

Knoth declined to reveal the lineup in advance but said that the performances will be more diverse than in years past, featuring dancing “you’ve never seen before” and “talents that don’t fit in the singing or dancing category.”

“This year, it won’t just be a musical pageant,” said Knoth, who is also a Crimson magazine associate.

Many prospective performers entered the Adams Upper Common Room, the makeshift audition room, sporting Harvard apparel. Some came prepared with costumes, including one Michael Jackson impersonator who performed in a black sequined jacket and a single white glove.

The judges emphasized that the show is as much of a variety show as a talent show, informing each performer, “Everyone here is very talented, so whether you get picked or not is not a reflection of your talent.”

Instead, judges sought fresh acts that would excite the crowd—even debating whether they would have room for more than one male singing pianist. “Wait, do we already have a heartthrob?” said Gary L. Pelissier Jr. ’11, the other co-coordinator of Freshman Week. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW]

According to James B. Danner ’12, who will be one of the show’s two emcees, this year’s auditions definitely did not lack variety.

One audition featured poi, a juggling-dance routine with glowing spheres that was set to the techno song Sandstorm.

“The really good people use fire too, but I don’t want to kill myself,” said Gabrielle Ehrlich ’13 in introducing the act.

Ehrlich said she hoped her audition could eventually lead more people to become aware of this obscure art form, which originated in New Zealand.

Other auditions included mandolin improvisation, performances of the students’ original compositions, singing of all sorts, and tap-dancing.

“It’s amazing that the freshman were able to put their acts together so quickly, even group acts, considering that they just arrived last week,” said Knoth.

In front of each contestant, the panel judges, all members of the Crimson key Society, appeared attentive, encouraging many to consider auditioning for acapella groups and orchestras.

Behind closed doors, judges gauged initial impressions with a thumb vote before discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each audition.

Final decisions were e-mailed last night, after the third day of auditions. The performance will be held tonight at 9 p.m. in Sanders Theatre.

“I’m really excited for tomorrow’s show, to see how kids would go support their fellow entrymates,” said Knoth.

—Staff writer Helen X. Yang can be reached at


The Sept. 1 news article "Class of ’13 Vies To Show Talent" incorrectly attributed a quotation about whether the lineup for the Freshman Talent Show had too many heartthrobs to Gary L. Pelissier Jr. ’11, a co-coordinator of Freshman Week. In fact, that quotation should have been attributed to D. Patrick Knoth ’11, who is also a co-coordinator of Freshman Week.