As the first Kollaboration Boston wrapped up a few weeks ago, Han Cho looks back on putting together a movement.
April 16th came all too fast for all of us.
All of us meaning the 20+ people on the executive team that had worked together since the beginning of the school semester to prepare for Kollaboration Boston 1.
The planning, prepping, the two, sometimes three, hour weekly meetings were all geared toward putting together an unforgettable show.
So when all of us gathered at 9am at the John Hancock Hall on 180 Berkeley Street to start setting up and get out of the chilly Boston weather, it seemed a little unreal. Eric Nam, our executive director, was out driving and picking up the million and one things that we needed. Campus Ambassadors had been split up into teams to either help backstage or prep the front as Shannon, the programming director, and the John Hancock Hall staff began tech for all of the finalists who were slowly trickling in.
Then the special guest performers came in.
Then the special guest judges.
Then the lines of people who were waiting outside actually became 1100+ people filling up the house.
This was really happening.
At 7:00 p.m. Roy Choi, president of Kollaboration and our emcee for the night, opened the show and introduced our first special guest performer, guitarist and singer Sam Kang. On xylophone and piano followed Jane Lui, another special guest performer and guest judge, who wowed the crowd with her duo instrument playing skills and her sultry voice.
Liz Peter was our first contestant to perform, and as she finished her performance Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” the audience went wild for her voice as it soared up and over them. With a single spotlight focused on him, our next finalist Kris Liu impressed the crowd with his fast-paced beatboxing rhythms and vocals.
Our first dance competitor of the night, Unofficial Project showcased their smooth hip hop choreography to a number of different songs after which Diverse Duo performed their invigorating rap piece. BlackOut, in their standard all black uniform with white tie and suspenders, brought us to intermission with their clean, high energy stepping.
During intermission, audience members competed in the freestyle competition and demonstrated their abilities to sing and dance.
Miggy Milla and his band’s uplifting rendition of Jason Mraz’s Geek in the Pink started off the second part of the show. Synergy-incited cheers from the audience with their intense dance routine to a series of hard hitting songs. A Portrait From Space echoed their performance in perfect synchronization in their stylized robotic popping set. Our last contestant Gen, Neil, and Isaach introduced their own vocal and rap performance with a live electronic mixing and making of beats.
To close the show, special guest performers Erika David and D-Pryde performed their own sets before performing a duet together. AHMIR graced the stage with their soulful R&B harmonization to a number of songs, including Usher‘s DJ Got Us Falling in Love and Bruno Mars‘ Just the Way You Are. They then joined the audience members in the house and serenaded to a few lucky ladies.
In the meantime, special guest judges Vudoo Soul, Jane Lui, Sarah Elentukh, Giles Li, and Enrique Novales were deliberating.
Who had won?
The performers were all brought on stage and waited, breathlessly.
SYNERGY placed second!
..AND BLACKOUT TOOK FIRST!
The performers were congratulating each other, the audience was clapping and in an uproar, and everyone on the team was hugging each other.
We had done it.
What started off as an idea had been brought very much to life that night at the John Hancock Hall on April 16th, a reality that I could barely fathom, even as I sat backstage, exhausted from running around all day.
Our year’s work had not only produced an awesome show, but it had brought people from all over, in and out of Boston, to come together to participate and support something bigger than that: Empowerment through Entertainment.
And in this way, Kollaboration Boston became something more than a show.
1 Stage. 1 Word. 1 Mission.
The show still goes on.
See you next year!
Han Cho was part of the first Kollaboration Boston executive team. Thanks to Tiffany Yu for Kollaboration photos.