Annual Hoscars performance returns for second year in RPAC

The performers at Hoscars close the show with a rendition of “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Harker School.

by Nina Gee, Visual Editor

Upper school students performed in the annual talent show, dubbed Hoscars, last Friday during lunch, with the likes of card magic, musical performances and group dances.

Having been in the works since the end of last year’s Hoscars, this year’s Hoscars is the second to be held in the Rothschild Performing Arts Center since its return last spring.

Matthew Hajjar (12), ASB Spirit Coordinator, emceed the show, lighting up the stage with jokes in between acts.

“It was a lot of fun,” Matthew said. “There were some high expectations after last year’s event, but I’m really happy with how it went down because I think everybody really enjoyed the show.”

Similarly to last year, the performers held separate shows for the upperclassmen and underclassmen at the start and end at lunch. The difference, however, was that this year both shows had acts exclusive to that showing in an attempt from student council to tailor each show to their respective audiences. The shows collectively showcased 17 acts, with 12 in each show.

There were some high expectations after last year’s event, but I’m really happy with how it went down because I think everybody really enjoyed the show.

— Matthew Hajjar (12), Hoscars emcee

The upperclassman show began with juniors Katelyn Chen and Mihir Sharma singing “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. with Mihir on guitar, followed by a solo hip hop dance from Alexander Young (12).

From there, last year’s Hoscars winner, Kalyan Narayanan (11), performed his rendition of “With or Without You” by U2, adding an extra layer by creating the entire backing track using a looper pedal. Susan He (12) and Annabelle Perng (12) then performed “Here Comes A Thought” by Estelle and AJ Michalka, from the show “Steven Universe,” on violin, piano and ukulele.

After a brief set of jokes by Matthew, the AP Art History class performed a hilariously low-budget live recreation of a famous classical painting in what is beginning to become a tradition after last year’s parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. The scene, imitating Raphael’s “The School of Athens,” was narrated by Alex Young (12) and Sophia Gottfried (10).

“Some of the more interesting pursuits contained in the logistics portion were obtaining togas, getting times where everyone could practice, and repeatedly telling Michael Eng (10) that he could not T-pose in the tableau,” Sophia, who did much of the organizing for the act, said. “I was most looking forward to simply putting something I worked hard on out there and having amazing people to do it with me.”

A hip hop dance choreographed by senior Chris Gong followed, something he has been preparing for since January when he was still choreographing pieces for the upper school dance show.

“This year, since I’m not in Certificate, I wanted to do this as my senior showcase piece,” Chris said. “This is my last big piece for Harker, and I really wanted to just do something that was just for fun. It’s just validation that I have progressed in dance and that I hope to be able to leave some kind of mark on Harker dance, especially boys’ dance.”

This is my last big piece for Harker, and I really wanted to just do something that was just for fun.

— Chris Gong (12), Hoscars performer

Junior Smriti Vaidyanathan performed a piano cover of Billie Eilish’s “idontwannabeyouanymore” followed by a piano and vocal mashup of pop music by senior Katherine Zhang.

Student Council’s Neil Ramaswamy (12) appeared next, along with Chris, to display card magic tricks. Each held a camera streaming video to a large screen onstage while the other showed off tricks with cards.

“I really commend Neil as our ASB president for doing a fantastic job on heading the tech session. At the end of the day, tech is the most important factor, because tech means that the show is actually going to go on and that the show is going to run smoothly,” Matthew said. “This year’s show was the smoothest, most beautifully run event I have ever seen. I am so proud of everyone backstage.”

A lively dance performance from Bollywood Club lit the stage soon afterwards, and Charlotte Blanc (11) danced to “This Is What Makes Us Girls” by Lana Del Rey. Junior Kathy Fang and senior Hannah Lak played a duet on the guzheng, or chinese zither, and the harp respectively.

The last performance of the afternoon was a group of seniors dressed in different animal onesies playing Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” with Zach Wong on acoustic guitar, Logan Frank on drums, Shania Wang on piano, Karan Gupta on electric guitar, Jacob Kim on bass and Kelsey Wu providing vocals.

The show ended with a performance by Downbeat of a spinoff of Rent’s “Seasons of Love” dedicated to celebrating Harker’s 125 anniversary.

The show that the underclassmen viewed included most of the same acts, plus additional acts from cellists Angeline Kiang (9) and Rachel Broweleit (11), as well as an underclassman a cappella group and a guitar solo by Wilson Zhang (10).

This year, students could sign up to audition for Hoscars in the months leading up to the show, and Student Council members judged the performances. Student Council is currently looking into a new format for choosing the Hoscars acts that will hopefully promote more diversity for the show.