Rapping and tapping to the top

April 19, 2008, midnight | By Alisa Lu | 12 years, 11 months ago

Upperclassmen talent on display in anticipation of prom

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.

Alisa Lu. Alisa is an (almost) junior in the magnet, which is not a good thing, since it means she will be looking like a zombie for the next few years. While not obsessing over school, she can be found on fictionpress.com reading sappy stories and then … More »

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