By Janette Ebbers, news staff
Northeastern’s Resident Student Association hosted a Night of the Arts in Curry’s Afterhours on Saturday, featuring a student battle of the bands as well as an art exhibition and public judging ceremony.
Winners of the music and arts events were freshmen James Vassallo and Katie Fontaine, respectively, decided by a three-person panel of judges.
Fontaine said the event’s combination of music and art into one night was unique and important.
“I think art and music intertwine a lot in daily life,” she said. “Just the combination creates such a unique atmosphere—you know there are a lot of talented people in this room.” Fontaine submitted two paintings to the contest, both done in acrylic paint.
Vassallo won the battle with solo acoustic guitar covers including John Mayer’s “No Such Thing” and Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t.” Vassallo is a first-year student at Northeastern.
The visual art was judged on a 32-point basis, with the winner coming in at 29 points and last place coming in at 24 points.
The event was Northeastern’s fourth annual Night of the Arts, and the third hosted in Curry’s Afterhours.
Christi Brooks, singer of featured band Three Words Max, said these kinds of events were important especially for part-time bands. Brooks is a sophomore political science major at Boston University (BU).
“It’s a great way to be able to play if you’re not out looking for gigs, but you still want to be able to play,” Brooks said. “It’s good experience, too.”
Eric Castrucci, a featured guitar player and sophomore Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences student, said the presence of an audience was instrumental for new bands.
“I think we’ve had a lot of time practicing by ourselves, and to get out and play for some of our friends—to feel like the audience was enjoying it, was valuable,” Castrucci said.
Echoing Castrucci, Brooks said the competitive nature of the event as well as the audience’s reaction was important for fledgling instrumentalists.
“It’s good to get some sort of reaction to your music, that way you know what direction to go in,” Brooks said.
Castrucci said these casual events were especially important for student bands who weren’t necessarily looking to become career musicians.
“Obviously if you ask us, ‘do you want to be rockstars?’ we’d say yes, but we’re all in college,” Castrucci said. “We all have classes, we all have jobs; it’d be hard to just drop everything and go. It’s very much we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, if we get there.”
Brooks also said her band has participated in similar events at BU that were publicized more.
“This was a bigger event, in the sense of time. But BU is bigger in terms of spread and number of people that showed up,” Brooks said. “The only way we heard about it was a single poster that we saw, and then we sent an e-mail.”
Castrucci, reiterating Brooks’ point on publicity, said mass e-mails would have been a good way to get more people at the event.
“I’m sure if one or two e-mails were sent to every single person, and 80 percent of people don’t read it, that’s still like 20 percent more people than you get off a couple of posters,” Castrucci said.
Still, Castrucci gave the Afterhours event an overwhelmingly positive review.
“It was a lot of fun,” Castrucci said. “From a personal standpoint, I think we did well, and just I hope this can be a standing point to more events, either here or anywhere else. Boston’s a place for music.”
Photo by Zhiyi ‘Jake’ Wang