Black Student Union’s Celebration of Black Excellence


Gisselle Vazquez

On the evening of February 24th, anticipation falls over the crowd in the O’Plaine auditorium. The lights dim down and an enthusiastic voice welcomes everyone for joining Warren’s very own Black Student Union in honoring the celebration of black history.

The Jazz 1 Ensemble opens the night with their take on “Symphony in Riffs” by Benny Carter, who was a multitalented black musician and composer. Jazz is an integral part of black influence in music. Legends like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald are just some that come to mind. The Warren Jazz Band featured 3 phenomenal soloists in this piece. Joey Umansky on alto sax stunned with his smooth tone while Marco Guagliardo had a rich brassy sound on the trombone. Akshaj Sriachutananda played a rhythmic solo on the trumpet. 

Between performances, the members of Black Student Union had a thrilling game of trivia going on to lighten up the crowd. The game had questions ranging from classical black literature to iconic musicians. The winners of the trivia even got a prize to take home with them to commemorate their victory. 

All of the performers had electrifying stage presence and truly brought emotion and a level of rawness to their act. Kahlia Williams sent chills down spines with her rendition of “You Make Me Feel (Natural Woman)”. Another thrilling performance was from Atlas Dance Studio from Waukegan, Illinois. The audience was introduced to them as they strutted on stage with their fresh and polished hip hop piece. They demonstrated their versatility as they came back to put on a moving contemporary piece which featured both junior and adult dancers.  

To finish the show, O’Plaine’s principal Mrs. Bertola presented five students with the Black Exellence Award. Many performers and a few other students were awarded. 

The audience felt warm and inviting as they encouraged performers and cheered loudly for their loved ones. The feeling of community is the only word that could describe how this event felt. A community coming together to celebrate black excellence.