Fordham Students Rise Together for New Talent Show


On Friday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m. in the McNally Amphitheatre, hybrid and remote students gathered to watch Fordham Rising Stars. This was a talent show, and the first of its kind, featuring a broad range of acts from administrators and students.

Carli Freeman, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’21, sang her original song “Your Ghost,” which was part of a pilot she wrote during quarantine. Chloe Djomessi Siakam, FCLC ’21, performed her original song “Soft Serve.” Emily Masia, FCLC ’23, performed “Last Moment,” which was a prerecorded dance video. Chesca Mac, FCLC ’21, had a prerecorded performance of herself playing the piano and singing. Arpitha Gorur, Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC) ’22, sang a cover of Billie Eilish’s “idontwannabeyouanymore.” 

Rishabh Ganesh had a prerecorded “Card to Phone Magic” trick referencing Jesse Eisenberg from the movie “Now You See Me.” David Perry, FCLC ’23, had an acoustic performance, playing the guitar and singing. Joshua Screen, FCLC ’24, sang an original song accompanied by ukulele. Igualson Pua-Venzon, FCLC ’23, played “Cover of Komm SuBer Tod” on piano, prerecorded. Richard Putori Jr., FCLC ’24, fresh out of a Ram Van, sang “Suppertime” from the musical “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Finally, Aastha Aggarwal, GSBLC ’22, read slam poetry that she had written.

Two students also had stand-up comedy routines. When asked what inspired him to perform stand-up comedy at the show, Adam Hmada, FCLC ’21, replied that he’s been doing stand-up for two years and how opportunities are limited now due to pandemic restrictions.

Hmada said he likes to keep his stand-up separate from school, but it was nice to test out material in front of real people instead of other comics like in open mic sessions. When asked about what to do if you want to perform in comedy or any other field but have never tried it, Hmada was blunt in saying it can be heartbreaking and scary. However, Hmada also said that things get better with experience. 

There was a vote on who won the various gift cards, which were awarded to the top three performers, with Chesca Mac earning first place. An audience member won the raffle after the vote, earning an Amazon Fire Stick. After that, the audience sang karaoke to “Don’t Stop Believin’” and we were free to go, able to treat ourselves to bags of candy and chips outside of the amphitheatre.

Maeve Swift, FCLC ’24, spoke about her reaction to the event, and expressed that she thought it was “very good.” Swift also said that she liked the hybrid format, as it allowed for a diverse representation of the talent present at Fordham. When asked, Swift said she would attend this event if it occurred next year.  

Lindsey Fritz, FCLC ’22, was one of the main organizers behind this event. Fritz explained that she had been working with others on this project since August, holding weekly meetings to discuss and plan. Fritz explained that every program strives to do something new, and that was certainly the case with this hybrid show. 

Finally, when asked if all the work was worth the effort, Fritz said that it was worthwhile and that she hopes to hold this event in years to come. Fritz was very pleased to learn that students would be interested in attending the talent show next year. 

Lastly, Senior Director of Residential Life Jenifer Campbell and Senior Director at the Office for Student Involvement Dorothy Wenzel spoke on their experiences performing as administrators. Campbell said that she enjoys her time at the university working with young adults and gets a lot of satisfaction from it. 

Campbell said she hopes that hybrid events like this will continue in the future, as it allows both on-campus and virtual communities to get to know each other. Wenzel also highlighted how remote students could submit performances via YouTube and be part of the event, and that the transition between in-person and virtual acts felt seamless.