UMHS’ GOT TALENT: UMHS Naach performs a dance piece incorporating elements of fusion & Bhangra, a North Indian dance. Pictured (left to right) Ruth Jacob, Supreet Khunkhun, Adith Srinivasiah & Lujain Qureshi,. Photo: Courtesy of Ruth Jacob

 

By Deser’e Gitulli

 

Introduction

UMHS students got together for yet another UMHS’ Got Talent event to have fun, showcase student talent and celebrate the student body’s cultural diversity, all to raise money for the St. Christopher Children’s Home’s art program on November 8, 2018. STEPS and AMWA organized the event. UMHS’ Got Talent shows have been performed over the past few years on the St. Kitts campus.

The UMHS Endeavour spoke to several students from UMHS, one of the leading Caribbean medical schools, about participating, thoughts on their individual performances and the meaning behind them from a cultural perspective. From Bhangra/fusion dance to the Medstreet Boys, we spoke to students about taking a break from studies to have an awesome time while raising funds for such a worthy cause.

 

UMHS Naach; (left to right) Adith Srinivasiah, Ruth Jacob, Lujain Qureshi & Surpreet Khunkhun. Not pictured: Caroline Sharza. Photo: Courtesy of Ruth Jacob

 

 

UMHS NAACH

UMHS Naach –Bhangra/Fusion Dance

 

Participants:

Ruth Jacob

Adithi Srinivasiah

Lujain Qureshi

Surpreet Khunkhun

Caroline Sharza

 

UMHS Naach performed a dance piece that incorporated elements of fusion and Bhangra, a type of North Indian dance, to bring about diversity.

“The piece was about co-existing and highlighting the love and respect we have for each other. Being far from home is tough so decided to bring home to us,” said Ruth Jacob.

Surpreet Khunkhun and Lujain Qureshi were also pleased to participate.

“This talent show was our first, but it won’t definitely be our last,” they said in a joint statement. “Being a part of UMHS Naach and showcasing a Bhangra/fusion dance at the talent show was an amazing experience. The energy not only during our performance but all throughout the night was incredible. Who said that medical students couldn’t have some fun? We look forward to either participating again or attending the next one.”

Caroline Sharza was glad to be part of the fun as well.

“I had the amazing opportunity to learn new styles of dance and hear how they’re tied in so deeply within different cultures,” Ms. Sharza said. “I’d hear about how it would impact everyday life growing up. This was my first UMHS talent show, and I am so incredibly grateful to share it with these amazing ladies. One of the perks about attending an international medical school is that there are so many opportunities to learn about those around you. Without students willing to reach out to others to try new things, this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you Lujain and Ruth for involving me in this new adventure, and to Adithi and Surpreet for helping this become possible.”

Adithi Srinivasiah said she enjoyed celebrating her heritage while entertaining everyone.

“Being a part of the talent show was an incredible experience, that allowed me to embrace my roots and share my passion for dance and the Indian culture with the UMHS family,” Ms. Srinivasiah said. “It was a wonderful show, showcasing the talents of many, and bringing together UMHS students, faculty, and the St. Kitts community for a night of fun. I’m grateful to have gotten the opportunity to participate.”

 

Medstreet Boys: (left to right) William A. Muñiz, Daniel A. Albarran, Gabriel Vega. Sitting: Michael A. Garcia. Photo: Courtesy of Michael A. Garcia

 Medstreet Boys

 The Medstreet Boys were also a big hit with the audience

 

Medstreet Boys:

Michael A Garcia

Daniel A. Albarran

Gabriel Vega

William A. Muñiz

 

Michael A. Garcia loved being a host.

“Being one of UMHS’ Got Talent’s host was definitely a first for me,” Mr. Garcia said. “The crowd was extremely reactive and everyone had a lot fun, from the students, judges, to the children from St. Christopher’s. I was just glad to be a part of the show and seeing everyone’s reaction when Danny and I joined Gabriel and William for our rendition of the Medstreet Boys. You could just feel the energy in the room and watch as everyone got up and danced to classic Backstreet Boys music in unison. We definitely wanted it that way.”

Yanelle I. Asencio Quinones is a current EBS 4 student at UMHS from Puerto Rico. She shared her thoughts on participating.

“In the UMHS’ Got Talent 3, I had the opportunity to be part of the team that organized the activity and one of the performers,” Ms. Quinones said. “My first time participating in UMHS’ Got Talent 2 was great. I thought it was a great way to get all the students together to share their different talents, support each other and a way to have a little bit of fun in the middle of the stress. That’s why when STEPS decided to organize the opportunity again, I couldn’t say no.”

Ms. Quinones continued, “The whole process was a mix of fun, stress and excitement. From the beginning till the end of the activity we were all super focused on making this activity a fun one, attractive and very well organized. Each member of the STEPS board along with Michael Garcia gave most of their time to prepare for this. I personally took charge of selling the tickets and I had to admit that I had a little bit too much fun, annoying all of my classmates to get them to buy it. But then I got nervous because my selling phrase was ‘I will be singing so you need to be there’ and most of the time I said it, I still hadn’t practiced my song. Anyway, we were preoccupied at first, thinking it wouldn’t sell but it did, we sold out.

“As a performer my experience was a little bit different. The worst part is deciding what to sing. I wanted to sing something that people liked and knew and in English because last time I sang in Spanish. This time I wanted to be all inclusive. I changed my song three times. I finally decided on what to sing two days before the activity and in just one rehearsal, with the help of Kudzi Chimuka and Hector Fonseca we got it down. I had a lot of fun during the rehearsal, it was also a time to share with them.”

Ms. Quinones admits she was a bit jittery about performing but ultimately she, along with the others, had a great time.

“The day of the activity we were all nervous, I was super anxious, and we were having a little bit of technical problems but as soon the show started it just went great from that moment on,” Ms. Quinones said. “I was the one to break the ice and standing in front of everybody screaming, and taking photos and videos I felt like a real artist. It was just what I needed to let go and share my voice with everyone. I must say the activity was once more a success and it was not just because of STEPS and AMWA. The crowd, the judges, the MCs, all the performers and the staff working that night, were necessary to make it a success. I want to thank  all the students and professors that supported the activity and to all of the participants for sharing their talents with us. I have received really good feedback and I’m very glad we gave the school at least one night to become one and coexist, have fun and relax. All the stress was  worth it and I would totally do  it again.”

 

Left to right: Hector Fonseca (instrumental), Yanelle Ascencio (singer) & Kudzi Chimuka (singer). Photo: Courtesy of Kudzi Chimuka

 

The participants for the evening included:

  • Ashley Millan
  • Yanelle Ascencio
  • Kudzi Chimuka
  • Hector Fonseca
  • Tom Kosick
  • Joel Diaz
  • Gabriel Vega
  • William Muñiz
  • Ricardo Vale
  • Eboni Peoples
  • Ruth Jacob
  • Charnelle McMaster
  • Essa Hattar
  • Brittany Swait
  • Kendra Obimah
  • Lujain Qureshi
  • Takudzwa Shumbairerwa
  • Caroline Sharza
  • Surpreet Kaur
  • Adithi Srinivasiah
  • Michael Garcia

 

More Thoughts from UMHS Students

Daniel Albarran wishes to thank everyone involved for making the night a success.

“Special thanks to STEPS (Karla Martinez, Anthony Velez, Enelida Rivera, Rayshell Morales, Daniel Albarran) and AMWA board (Laura Rodriguez, Katiushka Guillani, Marilyn Perez, Nikolina Madjer), Everson Matthews for the sound, the judges Dr. Nagappa, Mrs. Jalan (first-ever woman judge and stole the show), Dr. Doherty,” Mr. Albarran said. “Carmen Sotomayor for all the backstage work. Last but not least to Deser’e Gitulli for being the best bouncer there is.”

“And as well to Michael Garcia for being great host/MC of the night. All the student body for attending, Thank you all. Thanks to all the kids of the St. Christopher’s Children’s Home which all the money gathered from the activity is towards the home art program.”

The UMHS Endeavour spoke to other students about why the event was so meaningful.

“Performing in the UMHS’ Got Talent show with Hector and Yanelle was a phenomenal and refreshing experience,” said Kudzi Chimuka. “Music starts great conversations and connects people. I encourage contestant participation in future shows to showcase their talents.”

Deser’e Gitulli, a UMHS Media Ambassador covering the event for the UMHS Instagram page and other social media, found the night inspiring as well.

“I had such an incredible time covering this event, starting with the rehearsals leading up to show,” she said. “Every contestant was so enthusiastic about their talent, and dedicated in bringing a creative piece to perform. From the professional organization, to the talented contestant performances, it was an uplifting night.”

 

Tom Kosick on acoustic guitar & vocals. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

Singer Ashley Millan. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

 

African Dancing (Left to right): Eboni Peoples, Kendra Obimah, Brittany Swait, Lujain Qureshi. Not featured dancer who joined for the breakdown: Takudzwa Shumbairerwa. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

 

Charnelle McMaster sang “We Are Here” by Alicia Keys. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

 

Essa Hattar (instrumental) performed a creative spin on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

Guitar & vocals by Joel Diaz & instrumental by Hector Fonseca. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

Solo singers Yanelle Ascencio & Ricardo Vale. Photo: Deser’e Gitulli

 

 

Judges included Dr. Michael Doherty (left) & Mrs. Yogitha Jalan (right) & (not pictured) Dr. Jagadeesh Nagappa. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Michael Doherty

About UMHS:

Built in the tradition of the best US universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individual student attention, maintaining small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. We call this unique approach, “personalized medical education,” and it’s what has led to our unprecedented 96% student retention rate, and outstanding residency placements across the US and Canada. UMHS is challenging everything you thought you knew about Caribbean medical schools.

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