Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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April 19, 2008

Rapping and tapping to the top

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
At 7:20 10 minutes before the advertised show time the auditorium is filled with chaos as sponsor Danyel Hartfield and students scramble around the dimly lit hall to ensure the night goes off without a hitch. Snippets of music emerge from the speakers and disappear a few seconds later. The spotlights sweep across the stage and illuminate the students frantically running from both sides of the curtain. Twenty-five minutes later, their efforts are rewarded as senior emcees Claire Kalala and Claudia Rivas walk across the stage to commence the 2008 Mr. and Ms. Blazer competition.

For many years, Mr. and Ms. Blazer has been a staple of spring's annual Blair Fair. In this "showcase of talent, as senior organizer Janine Charlery describes, upperclassmen can sing, dance or even read original poetry to compete for the title of Mr. and Mrs. Blazer and swipe free prom tickets to boot.

This year, judges chose seniors Haben Ghebremaschel and Morgan Nixon as the new Mr. and Mrs. Blazer for his smooth rapping and her vivacious tap dancing. Just as important to them as the pride that comes with their school-spirited titles was the prize of free prom tickets. "I just saved $120 and I'm excited!" Nixon exclaims at the end of the night.

Using an inflated air mattress and a stand-alone mirror as props, Ghebremaschel raps Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" to a beat provided by senior Phine Ulysse. Ghebremaschel cites it as his signature song, but performs it as a "tribute" to the original. The senior approached the competition with a serious and determined attitude. "A lot of people know me for this song 'cause I sing it in the halls a lot," he says. "I've been working hard. I sing the song in my head like two or three times a day."

For Nixon, who has been tap dancing since she was five, no practice or choreography was needed. "I just improvised," she says. Dressed in a flowing white blouse and blue jeans, Nixon called on years of experience and a stint in a tap dancing company as she created a dance on the spot to Jill Scott's 2001 song "It's Love" on the Blair stage. After an electrical performance, the audience bequeathed the ever-smiling Nixon with a round of thunderous applause.

But seven other acts stood in the way of Nixon and Ghebremaschel's path to the grand prize. Senior Francesca Blume cheerfully innocent rendition of "1, 2, 3, 4," Nahom Ghebremaschel's soulful version of "If I Fall in Love" and the other five acts all received cheers and applause from the appreciative audience. "All the other performances were worthy of winning," Ghebremaschel says.

The fate of the stiff, yet good-natured competition was in the hands of the four judges: counselor Tia Ross, media assistant Susan Madden, special education teacher Jennifer Dunson and secretary Carrie Addison. After less than five minutes of deliberation, Kalala and Rivas proclaim Ghebremaschel and Nixon Mr. and Ms. Blazer 2008.

But before the night ended, one more surprise was in store to the delight of the supportive audience a prom proposal by one of the contestants.

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  • uum on April 19, 2008 at 8:59 PM
    you didnt say kalala's or rivas' first names
  • xD on April 20, 2008 at 11:34 AM
    yeah she said it in the first paragraph..claire and claudia
  • BurgerKing (View Email) on April 20, 2008 at 5:01 PM
    I DEMAND PICs!!!
  • observer on April 20, 2008 at 8:16 PM
    $4 was not worth it. The night was poorly organized, and a few of the performances were really bad. SGA is a failure, as is the usual case.

    Also, I don't see any reason why Morgan should have won over Francesca. The tap dancing was entertaining at first, but quickly became a bore. Francesca's singing was more talented than Morgan's tapping.

    No wonder no one gives a [redacted] about Blair Fair.
  • Shish Kabob on April 21, 2008 at 3:16 PM
    don't be cruel.. Morgan is just as good as Frannie.
  • ... on April 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM
    yea Morgan and Haben! That's wats up.
  • observer? on April 23, 2008 at 7:41 AM
    you, sir, are an idiot. i personally thought SGA did a fine job. you have to give them credit for organizing almost every school event and then pulling them off without having them suck.

    Good job, SGA!
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